Cooking For A Cure In A Dream Kitchen

You, too, might master tender tortellini—the dough pinked with beets, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month—if you were cooking in a model kitchen like the one
Chef Jackie Rothong calls her own on workdays.

Rothong, brand ambassador for Middleby Residential Showcase Galleries in the A&D Building on East 58th Street in Manhattan, cooked a 5-course dinner on a rainy October Tuesday, whisking and tasting in an open kitchen while more than 30 dinner guests mingled and peeked.

Two long, rustic wood farm tables were topped with vases of flowers, all of a pink-ribbon theme, from petal-pink to fuchsia tulips, roses, hyacinths and Gerbera daisies, mixed and layered for lushness. A man wore the palest pink shirt with a gray suit and another, a soft pink silk tie under his navy sport coat. A woman seated across from him had a hot pink blazer.

The proceeds from the fundraiser went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (#BeTheEnd). Margaret Flowers, PhD, associate director of grants and scientific communication for the nonprofit, said she lost her mother to metastatic breast cancer in 1991—which eventually led her to leave her own career as a chef and transition into nutritional science and cancer biology.

“We’ve seen a 40 percent decline in breast cancer deaths,” she said. “It’s an exciting time in breast cancer research, and all cancer research, but I don’t think I have to tell anyone here that there’s still a lot to be done.”

Margaret Flowers, PhD.

Sommelier Sarah Tracey described the Italian pours, from Proseccos to a red Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG that paired comfortably with the fourth course, short rib with horseradish gremolata and creamy parsnip puree.

Sommelier Sarah Tracey.

The chef called the tortellini a “labor of love.” The pasta rings, filled with mortadella, prosciutto and Parmesan, were inspired by her trip to the Bologna region of Italy. She plated them with a bowl of creamy velouté (the French word for velvety) sauce made with fresh chicken broth and mascarpone—and chopsticks for lifting and dunking the little dumplings. But most bowls were left empty because people then picked up their soupspoons to get every last drop.

The Deconstructed Apple Crumble was a sweet new twist on an old favorite. Each plate held a dainty Lady Apple half, braised in cider until tender, and topped with caramel sauce infused with maple syrup and a sprinkle of crumbs inspired by baker Christina Tosi’s famous Milk Bar crumble.

Hidden in each goody bag: One of Rothong’s “Tuff Cookies,” tied with a pink ribbon. The treat was soft and rich with browned butter, dark chocolate toffee pieces and chocolate
chips—and came with the recipe card, too. The chef’s Instagram page @thetuffcookies says “Strong. Resilient. Unbreakable. Share, like & follow to raise awareness for Breast
Cancer Research.”

Middleby Residential’s luxury brand portfolio includes Viking; La Cornue; Aga; and Lynx. The showroom kitchen, designed by Chef Jaime Laurita, had its grand opening in
January of this year.

Photography by Marie Tapp. 

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