American Cancer Society Host Annual Taste Of Hope With Chefs JJ Johnson, Michael White And Sting

The American Cancer Society (ACS) will host the 15th annual Taste of Hope virtual celebration on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

The event will celebrate New York City’s iconic restaurant industry and raise critical funds for cancer research and local patient service programs offered by ACS.

This year’s Taste of Hope will recognize James Beard Award-winning culinary honorees, Chef Michael White (Marea) and Chef Joseph ‘JJ’ Johnson (Fieldtrip). Mark D. Friedman and Jamie Koff return as event co-chairs, and CBS News’ Chris Wragge returns at emcee.

The event will feature special appearances and performances by Sting, Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad), Mario Cantone (Sex and the City), Chef Jean Georges (The Fulton), Chef Todd English (Figs), Chef Aaron Sanchez (MasterChef), former football player Harry Carson (HOF NY Giants), Amy Ryan (The Office), Peter Onorati (This is Us), Harry Lennix (Blacklist), Alysia Reiner (OITNB), David Alan Basche, Bobby Cannavale, and more. Event guests will also have the opportunity to hear first-hand how cancer continues during the pandemic and the devastating impact covid-19 has had on life-saving programs and services from two time cancer survivor, communicator, Coach and Author of Make Room for Joy, Vanessa Joy Walker.

Taste of Hope is the American Cancer Society’s signature culinary, wine, and spirits event. In a normal year, Taste of Hope provides 700+ guests the opportunity to enjoy bites from New York City’s top restaurants and philanthropic chefs, and sips from leading winemakers and spirit brands. Due to safety precautions, this year’s event will be a reimagined virtual party, celebrating the work of local chefs and New York City’s culinary community, and honoring cancer survivors and loved ones lost to cancer. A pre-show featuring cocktail demos from mixologists at Golden Grove Global and Pepsi Co will air at 6:45pm, and an after-party hosted by DJ Spin Diesel with livestreamed performances will immediately follow the main event.

“The American Cancer Society, like so many of New York City’s restaurants, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But cancer hasn’t stopped, so neither will we,” says Chloe Lipman, executive director for the American Cancer Society of Greater New York City. “On November 10, I want everyone to do two things: order dinner from your favorite local restaurant, and join us online as we fight cancer and celebrate the spirit of New York’s indomitable culinary industry at the first-ever virtual Taste of Hope.”


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Now in its 15th year, Taste of Hope has raised over $1.8 Million to support the American Cancer Society’s mission and goal of eliminating cancer as a major health problem. There is no cost to attend this year’s virtual event, but a donation is appreciated. To register, visit TasteOfHopeNYC.org.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to bid on silent auction prizes donated from leading organizations including: a coveted table at Rao’s, 1-1 Private Virtual Cooking Demo with David Burke, Dinner for 10 Guests at their home with Chef Michael White, and more.

This year’s Taste of Hope executive committee includes Drew Blumenthal, Jennifer Cayetano, Gail Eissenstat, Nicole Filingeri, Juan Goulbourne, Rachel Halperin, Lizziee Jerez, Lauren Kaufman, Wayne Margolin, Melanie McManus, Sari Pollack, Kim Poulos, Meredith Rinn, Susan Santoro, Linda Shapiro, Scott Sheehy, Melissa Siegel, Brittany Stevenson, Jennifer Valentine, Vanessa Walker and Chelsea Whitney.

Taste of Hope sponsors include Arbill, Eurostruct Inc, KGI Design Group, Leumi Bank, McIntosh & Moon Strategies, Merrill Lynch Walters Bailey Associates, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP.

JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine connecting the foodways of West Africa and Asia to the Americas. Chef JJ’s signature style of combining culturally relevant ingredients with his classically trained cooking and global point of view was inspired by the Caribbean tastes he grew up with, combined with inspiration from his travels.

Recognized by Eater as one of the New Guard of Power in NYC Dining, JJ’s brand of creating cultural connections through food is a hallmark of his hospitality group Ingrained Hospitality Concepts, LLC, a collaboration of industry professionals dedicated to creating great restaurants while sharing international cuisine with amazing hospitality.

The restaurant group opened FIELDTRIP, a quick-casual rice bowl shop located in Harlem that highlights rice traditions from around the world with globally-inspired flavors and techniques. JJ is a Chef on Buzzfeed’s Tasty platform, a Mastercard Ambassador and a television host on Just Eats with Chef JJ airing for its second season on TV One’s network Cleo TV. He is a Forbes 30 Under 30, Eater Young Gun and has been featured on NBC TODAY, GMA, Food and Wine, Esquire magazine, and the New York Times chose Fieldtrip as a Critic’s Pick for the Hungry City Column.

Chef JJ published his award-winning first cookbook in spring 2018, “Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day” (Flatiron Books). He serves on the James Beard Impact Programs Advisory Committee and sits on the junior board of Food Bank for New York City, taking action to end hunger. @chefjj

Although Michael White’s soulful, flavorful interpretations of Italian cuisine indicate otherwise, Michael is in fact a Midwesterner who spent his childhood in Beloit, Wisconsin. Enamored with the culinary world, White enrolled in the Kendall Culinary Institute and then secured a position in Chicago’s Spiaggia. He studied for seven years at the acclaimed San Domenico in Imola before returning to the United States. In 2007, White partnered with Ahmass Fakahany to first open two restaurants in New Jersey. Soon after, Fakahany and White officially formed the Altamarea Group to open Marea, which garnered three stars from The New York Times, received the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant Award, and holds one Michelin stars.

Taste of Hope® was founded in 2005 by the American Cancer Society as a way to celebrate New York dining while raising funds to support the Society’s mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle.

Photo credit: 1) Chef JJ Johnson by Christina-Chi-Craig. 2) Sting with Taste of Hope. 3) Chef Michael White.

About Harlem World Magazine

Harlem World Magazine is a lifestyle and brand for anyone who has a Harlem state of mind, dedicated to news, history, the renaissance and stories that celebrate our lifestyle.

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