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Get Ready to Rumble: It’s Time for “Chef to Chef: Picnic Battle for Earth”

Join two exciting New Haven chefs and three esteemed judges, including Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, for a special picnic with The Nature Conservancy after the Rock to Rock Earth Day bike ride April 20 in New Haven.

NEW HAVEN, CT | April 11, 2013

There’s no battle like a picnic battle!

Come see renowned chefs Bun Lai, of Miya’s Sushi, and Avi Szapiro, of the newly opened ROIA, when they square off for The Nature Conservancy’s Picnic for Earth after the Rock to Rock Earth Day bike ride April 20 in New Haven.

At the Rock to Rock finish line in East Rock Park at about1 p.m., the two chefs will engage in the second annual “Picnic Battle for Earth, ” a light-hearted, friendly contest to craft the most delicious and sustainable picnic dish.

James Beard Foundation Award–nominated Chef Bun will be defending his hard-earned title from last year’s picnic battle, and he and Chef Avi—who apprenticed under European Michelin star chefs—will be working with a palette of ingredients chosen by Facebook friends of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut and donated by Elm City Market. To help decide which ingredients these chefs use, go to! Polling starts Friday (April 12.)

Radio broadcaster Bruce Barber, creator of “The Real Life Survival Guide,” a public radio show heard on WNPR, will emcee this picnic throw-down.

Picnic battle judges include Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Cristina Chang Bryant, co-owner and chef at Sweetpea Real Foods to Go in Cheshire, Conn.; and Martin Torresquintero, outdoor adventures coordinator for the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees.

About 1,000 riders are expected to join Rock to Rock, which benefits organizations that are working to create a greener, healthier New Haven community.

Along with the picnic, the Conservancy is fielding a team of rider-fundraisers at Rock to Rock. Conservancy Trustee Todd Miranowski has generously offered to match, dollar for dollar, the total amount of donations made to “Team Nature Conservancy Rocks!” up to $10,000.

“This is great fun for an even greater cause,” said Frogard Ryan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Nature Conservancy is so grateful to Todd, Bun, Avi, our wonderful judges and emcee, and everyone who’s helped make Rock to Rock and Chef to Chef possible. Gentlemen: Get ready to do battle—picnic battle!”

Picnic for Earth is part of The Nature Conservancy's All Hands on Earth campaign, the first-ever sustainable global campaign designed to deeply engage people across the world in a conversation about today’s urgent environmental challenges. This movement of millions was built to support The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to save land and water resources by asking people the question: What will you do for Earth?

The Nature Conservancy launched Picnic for Earth in 2011. Last year, picnics were held in more than 50 countries.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

James Miller
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut

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