10th Anniversary Art of Cooking Gala Raises Funds for The Sylvia Center

Jon Bon Jovi and Liz Neumark, The Sylvia Center founder and Great Performances, with The Sylvia Center students and instructors.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, the 10th Anniversary Art of Cooking Gala at Hudson Mercantile celebrated the first decade of The Sylvia Center’s work teach healthy cooking skills to residents of underserved New York City communities by raising $775,000 for the nonprofit – new record for The Sylvia Center’s (TSC) annual fall gala. To date, TSC has worked with about 20,000 students, was established by Liz Neumark, founder, and CEO of Great Performances, the sustainability-oriented New York City catering company, which has been serving distinguished corporations, non-profit organizations, cultural institutions and private clients for since 1980.

The evening honored Joe Ravitch, co-founder, and partner of The Raine Group, who has supported The Sylvia Center since its 2007 inception and recognized The Sylvia Center’s community program partner, ExpandED Schools. The evening saluted TSC’s growth from serving just 200 students in 2007 to working with some 2,254 in 2017. Proceeds from the Gala will prepare TSC to serve more students over the next decade with the expansion of its Teen Apprentice Program, which will equip more youth with the skills to lead healthier and productive lives. 

The Sylvia Center founder and Great Performances CEO Liz Neumark with Jon Bon Jovi tasting ice cream flavors created exclusively for the 10th Anniversary At of Cooking Gala.

Hudson Mercantile was filled with more than 300 guests including Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Kauss, CEO and Founder of S’Well and Lucy Friedman, president of ExpandED Schools, featured a cocktail reception and dinner curated by Chef Michael White of Altamarea Group.  Chef White’s menu incorporated input from TSC teen students who have graduated from TSC’s 60-hour culinary training program and have gone on to teach cooking to youth in their own communities.


Memorable highlights from the Gala included TSC students sharing how the organization has improved their lives and brightened their futures and guests’ vote to determine the next new flavor to be offered at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream with $1 from each sale to benefit TSC programs. Art of Cooking attendees sampled three flavors created by TSC Bronx and Brooklyn teens in collaboration with Nicholas Morgenstern, owner of the eponymous ice cream emporium. The winner, NY Apple Honey, will be available for a month at Morgenstern’s, 2 Rivington Street, starting Nov 1.

To learn more, please visit www.sylviacenter.org.

Jon Bon Jovi and Liz Neumark, The Sylvia Center founder and Great Performances, with The Sylvia Center students and instructors.