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University Settlement Hosts Champagne Reception
With Guest of Honor
Chef Jacques Pepin
Private Residence
Upper East Side of Manhattan
April 5, 2012


Photo Credit:
by Gregory Partanio

Opposite Photo:
James Finkel and Heidi Galli

James Finkel, Chef Jacques Pepin, Kevin Stuessi and Heather Goldman

University Settlement has been helping emigrant and low income families, making a differenece "one family at a time" for one-hundred-and-twenty-five years. According to their website: "Helping a Whole Family Can Make all the Difference - Seeing the big picture of a whole family is a smart idea. University Settlement understands that meeting the needs of one person in a family can have a powerful impact."

To celebrate the organization's one-hundred-and-twenty-five years devoted to helping families thrive, the Settlement will host their 8th Annual Fine Wine Dinner & Auction on Thursday, April 24, 2012 at 82 Mercer. In anticipation of this celebratory dinner, on April 5, 2012 two long time supporters of University Settlement hosted a champagne reception at their lovely penthouse home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The guest of honor at the party was famed chef Jacques Pepin who will create the menu for the celebratory dinner.

It was a beautiful sunny day for March and the guests gathered on the home's terrace overlooking Central Park. It was six o'clock in the evening and the light over the Park was amazing. As the guests admired the view, they were served champagne and hors d'oeuvres.

When March in New York won the weather battle, the guests gathered in the home's cathedral ceiling living room which was still bathed in the evening's beautiful sunlight. Honored guest, Jacques Pepin, was introduced to the guests by University Board supporter James Finkel who said, "Jacques has lent a level of prestige to this event—that has not been there before… he has served as the personal chef to three heads of state in the late fifties. In 1959, he moved to New York… The Howard Johnson Corporation took him away from all this gourmet food and made him the director of research for ten years. From there he launched into his media career, with television and Julia Childs. Jacques has received two of the highest honors in France – He is a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1992). In October 2004, he received France's ultimate civilian recognition, the Légion d'honneur. Jacques still has so such energy and still is teaching, still lending his name to a lot of great causes.”

Chef Pepin then replied, “Someone a few days ago introduced me and said that I served under three French Presidents—but the three of them are dead." After everyone finished laughing he continued, "I have been married to my wife for 46 years—who was born in New York to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father --- we are in one family or another we know what it means to move to another country. When I moved here in 1959 --- New York was different than it is now—another language, other smells in the street, and other types of food and it was not that easy to acclimate yourself. I was very fortunate -- I went to Columbia for many years – everything seemed possible in America but not everyone is as fortunate as I was. Your organization (University Settlement)— helps people to settle, to help people to go to school and find housing—this is all very important--- this is the start when you come to another country. To start something is difficult —there is no other country in the world that allows you to do what you dream to do—it is just hard to start. When I came to America I saw it as the golden fruit -- it is thanks to University Settlements to help people to settle here.”

Eric Gurian, Katie Sexton, Emma Zisser and Meg Zisser

The evening’s guest list included: Yanna Avis, Sharon Egilinsky, James Finkel, Michele Gerber Klein, Heather & Ethan Goldman, Marjorie Reed Gordon & Ellery Gordon, Eric Gurian, Cathy Hardwick, Belle Horowitz, Joel Konigsberg, Janice Lee, Jacques Pepin, Saul Sanders, Charles Schwartz, Katie Sexton, Stuart Shapiro, John Weiner, Emma Zisser, Meg Zisser and Kirat Young.

Heather Goldman, Joel Konigsberg and Sharon Eglinsky

University Settlement Board Members attending included: Nancy Drosd, Sharon Eglinsky, James Finkel, Heather Goldman and Katie Sexton.

Click here to be directed to purchase tickets for the dinner.

Click here for biographies of Chef Pepin and master pastry chef Jacques Torres from the press release from Jonathan Marder + Company.










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