Hayground School’s 15th annual Chefs Dinner honored Jon Snow for 23 dedicated years with the School and Summer Camp. An intimate dinner for just 120 guests, it raised in excess of $250,000. Many former and current teachers, camp counselors and founders, attended including Tinka Topping. “Without Jon, there would be no Hayground…He inspires me and all of us, as an artist, a parent, a teacher, and as a friend,” said Toni Ross, another co-founder.
The evening began with al fresco cocktails and exquisite hors d’oeuvres, followed by a five course meal on the school’s pastoral grounds, all farm-to-table prepared with local produce. Participating chefs included Colin Ambrose of Estia’s, Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter, Abigail Hitchcock of Abigail’s Kitchen, Christian Mir of Stone Creek Inn, Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka, Joe Realmuto of Coche Comedor and Nick & Toni’s, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Carissa Waechter of Carissa The Bakery, Jason Weiner of Almond and L&W Market, and fromager Michael Cavaniola.
During the dinner, on stage, Chef Éric Ripert interviewed Jon Snow, opening with a friendly volley, “So we’re going to roast you tonight!” John, with typical modesty, deferred to others and read a moving statement by the late Jeff Salaway (another Hayground co-founder and for whom the Hayground kitchen is named). Their lively conversation took many twists; Chef Ripert even demonstrated his artichoke trimming technique. This prompted New York Times food writer Florence Fabricant to add: “My brother once asked me about artichokes. When I told him how to cook one, he interrupted, ‘You have to cook them?’” Ripert later carved another artichoke at his table for the irrepressible Joanna Fisher.
A live auction, led by Mark Ross, featured many unusual, one-of a-kind items. Spirited bidding chased a White Album box set donated by Paul McCartney that would be personalized by him. However the highest bid went for five nights at Toni Ross’s Parisian apartment.
The Chefs Dinner raises significant funds for the School where more than 85% of students’ families receive tuition assistance.
Founded in 1996, Hayground School offers children age 3 through 13 a hands-on education based on mentorship, student-led inquiry, and genuine endeavors in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Hayground School is built on the belief that all children are born intellectuals, are capable of becoming passionate readers who engage in serious discourse and can learn through play as well as classroom study. Children and adults at Hayground practice compassion every day. Hayground believes at its core that children thrive in a community where art is at the center, not the periphery, of life. Hayground School’s mission is simple: to create a community of students and mentors who explore together the central questions of human culture in the natural world. Our shared tools are meaningful examination, authentic scholarship, a spirit of creativity and a respect for different perspectives. Ensuing socio-economic diversity is crucial to this objective; as a private school with a public mission, more than 85% of our school families receive tuition reduction.