Citi Taste Of Tennis: Featuring Venus Williams and Jamaican Eats

The US Open kicks off on Monday in New York City at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but before it all takes place, we kicked off the highly anticipated sporting event at Citi Taste of Tennis. Taste of Tennis is a one of a kind experience. Partygoers and sports enthusiasts are given the pleasure of mingling with a slew of Tennis stars and celebrities while enjoying delicious sample sized eats from New York City’s most prestigious restaurants and specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. Citi Taste of Tennis took place at the W New York hotel. Notables at the event included Venus Williams, Sam Querey, Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev Jr, Feliciano Lopez, Masaharu Morimoto, Jonathan Waxman, and Karen Khachanov, to name a few.

Just before entering the main room, we visited our friends from the Jamaica Tourist Board. They partnered with Palace Resorts, Miss Lily’s, Appleton Jamaican Rum, Red Stripe and Walkerswood in hosting the Home of All Right Lounge for the event. In the lounge, you can easily catch the vibes of Jamaica as guests were served an array of Jamaican specialties including Curried Ital Stew with Roti from Miss Lily’s / Rockhouse Chef de Cuisine Andre Fowles; Cajun Escoveitch Shrimp on watermelon arugula salad with guava vinaigrette and pulled Jerk chicken over curry succotash with raisin flatbread from Walkerswood’s Corporate Executive Chef Wenford P. Simpson. Moon Palace Jamaica’s Pastry Chef Karina Rivera created decadent desserts: key lime flavor tennis ball macaroon; s’mores with burnt marshmallow, chocolate mousse, and graham cracker; and Orelys Namelaka with strawberry gel and coconut streusel. We all washed it down with Red Stripe and Appleton’s “Match Point” Rum Punch. The Home of All Right Lounge even got a visit from HBO’s Ballers star, Omar Benson Miller and Fitness Guru, Shaun T. Check out exclusive video to see all of the action from the VIP lounge.

Later in the evening, Venus Williams showed off her cooking skills with the help of James Beard Award Winner Jonathan Waxman. Williams expressed her love of food, especially corn which she hilariously snuck and ate during the cooking demo. Citi Taste of Tennis is not all about players, good food, and cocktails but there is a charitable component to the annual event. In the past, Taste of Tennis has benefited charities including the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and City Meals on Wheels. This year the charitable partner was Wellness in the Schools, the organization inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools. Citi Taste of Tennis is a great way to have a fun elegant evening while giving back.

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Photos Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Video: James Sheff for XOJOHN.COM