New York

Cocktails Under the Canopy: A Benefit for LEAF

Event Photos  ♦  Sponsors & Host Committee
Food   ♦   Music  ♦  LEAF

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More than 200 guests attended Cocktails Under the Canopy: A Benefit for LEAF on Thursday, March 29. The event, which featured sustainable plates by a foursome of New York City's hottest chefs, raised money for The Nature Conservancy's Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program. "We are so proud of the turnout here tonight and extremely grateful to our generous sponsors and Host Committee members," said Kat Wilcox, who helped plan Cocktails Under the Canopy as Manager of Volunteer Programs at The Nature Conservancy. "Our Young Professionals Group worked very hard to pull this event together this year, and we're really happy to be raising funds for such a great program."

For more than 16 years, the LEAF program has connected urban high school students with nature, but offering them summer internships at Conservancy preserves around the country. In 2010, LEAF more than doubled the number of students it reaches thanks to a generous grant from the Toyota USA Foundation. During the event, alumni from the LEAF program mingled with Conservancy supporters and members of The Nature Conservancy's Young Professional Group.

The event, which was held at Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art, featured dishes created specially for the occasion. The chefs, Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto, Joey Campanaro of the Little Owl, Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat and Jason Giagrade of NBC Universal, used an array sustainable ingredients in the plates. "A lot of chefs don't know what sustainable food means," Jonathan Waxman said in welcoming remarks to attendees. He went onto describe his own background growing up on a farm, and the important connection between the ecological work done by The Nature Conservancy and the culinary work done by sustainable chefs like himself.

The evening featured...

Sustainable Plates By...

Jonathan WaxmanJonathan Waxman started out as a trombone player, making his living playing in orchestras with Sammy Davis Jr. and in funk rock bands. 

He started his cooking career in Hawaii, then attended cooking school in Paris at the prestigious La Varenne. After working in France, he returned to the US and started his career at the Domaine Chandon Winery in Napa Valley.

Jonathan then went on to grace such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and was appointed the head chef at the pivotal restaurant, Michael’s in Santa Monica. Waxman went on to open his own restaurant in New York City – Jams, and in London as well as the famed Washington Park. Today, Waxman is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan's West Village. His first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007.

Giving back is important to Waxman and he works closely with many charities including City Meals on Wheels. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children. He has participated in Top Chef Masters on Bravo, surviving to the penultimate show. Jonathan's new book, Italian, My Way was published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. Jonathan has consulted for American Airlines, Universal Studios, and catered many events including MTV video awards, President Clinton's birthday and the Rolling Stones. 

Jimmy BradleyJimmy Bradley opened The Red Cat in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in 1999. Running against the trend toward “BBD” eateries, The Red Cat eschewed the very notion of “concept” with a down-to-Earth setting in which to offer diners something refreshing for the times: outstanding food and crackerjack, attitude-free service. The Red Cat was, and remains, defined by this deceptively simple, still-novel approach. The New York Times bestowed a rapturous one-star review on the restaurant in its opening year, and in 2005, upgraded its status to two-stars.

In October 2001, Bradley launched The Harrison—a sister restaurant to The Red Cat, with a slightly more fancified vibe—in Tribeca. Although each project is unique, collectively they reflect Bradley’s innate sense of hospitality, menu design, and creativity.

After attending the University of Rhode Island, Bradley worked in some of Philadelphia’s and Rhode Island’s top kitchens before becoming executive chef of Savoir Fare, a progressive Martha’s Vineyard bistro where he began his trademark style of boldly flavored seasonal food. He made the most of his winter sabbaticals away from the restaurant, broadening his culinary skills and visiting his family’s Piedmont winery to learn about viticulture and experience Italy’s regional cooking.

Bradley has been featured in New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times, and on television on The Today Show and The CBS Saturday Early Show. His first cookbook, The Red Cat Cookbook, was published by Clarkson Potter in 2006. 

Joey CampanaroJoey Campanaro was raised in an Italian-American household in Philadelphia where the food of his childhood inspired him to make cooking his vocation. With a culinary approach firmly rooted in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen and honed in a range of America’s top restaurants, Joey brings a lifelong affinity for Mediterranean cuisine to every dish he creates. 

He began his career as a dishwasher at a seasonal restaurant on the Jersey Shore, and earned a degree in restaurant management at Penn State. He’s spent time in Italy and France developing his skills with Mediterranean cuisine. His pursuits have taken him to restaurants in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York.

As executive chef of The Harrison in Tribeca, Joey’s devotion to the kitchen won the hearts of New York diners and, in December 2001, a two-star review from The New York Times. In 2004, Joey became the executive chef of an Italian restaurant in Tribeca called Pace. After Pace, Joey re-opened his catering business, Blackfoot Consulting, and set out to open the restaurant he had always dreamed of opening—The Little Owl, which has since received wide acclaim from critics and guests alike, including a two-star review from The New York Times, appearances on everything from Iron Chef America to the Today Show and the Martha Stewart Show, and a continued buzz as one of New York’s most exciting restaurants.

Even with the success of The Little Owl (and its sister restaurant Market Table at which Joey is partners with chef and owner Mike Price), Joey continues to cater and consult for some of the biggest names in the country, including Martha Stewart, Mike Piazza, NBC Universal, Conde Nast Publishing and TOD’s. In 2010, he opened the Village Belle with his brother Lou in their hometown of Philadelphia.

Jason GiagrandeJason Giagrande developed a love and respect for food by watching his grandmother expertly whipping up fantastic meals in his family’s home. This, along with his natural attention to detail and exceptional hospitality, has lead him in many different directions—all unerringly toward who he is today: one of the most sought after people in the highly competitive world of Events and Food Service Operations.


From humble beginnings working at a local bar and grill to the NYC nightlife scene and a series of small businesses, Jason has woven all his experiences and knowledge into an expansive industry package.

Currently, as FLIK's Director of Food Service Operations and Events at NBCUniversal (NY), Jason takes his love of cooking, event-planning expertise, certification as a personal trainer, as well as his relationships with some of the best Chefs in the country and bringing a hip, trendy, yet healthy flavor to 30 Rock.

Along with the many high profile events Jason puts together both within NBCUniversal and outside of the business, with both FLIK and Chef Joey Campanaro, he has also teamed up with NBCUniversal on some of the company's many important day-to-day objectives and initiatives, such as the Healthy at NBCU program and Green is Universal. Jason's knowledge and passion for healthy foods and living has assisted him in becoming an asset to NBCUniversal and its many sustainable living programs. It’s a focus he plans to continue expanding throughout his career.


Music by...

jonathan batiste 150x150

At 25, Jonathan Batiste is considered by many to be one of the most exciting and progressive new talents on the jazz scene today.

A "Movado Future Legend" award recipient, and a "Steinway Performing Artist”, Jonathan has performed in innumerable prestigious events and venues across the world. His modern take on the American songbook, through the channels of a virtuosic pedigree in jazz and classical music, is attracting critical acclaim as well as audiences across all demographics. Together with his Stay Human Band, Jonathan is creating a unique grassroots movement that encourages accessibility and appreciation in the art of the live performance.

Apart from his natural focus, Jonathan is also a noted advocate for music education (Traveling Ambassador for Music Unites, Co-Director for the National Jazz Museum) and a regular figure in television and film (HBO’s Treme, Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer”). 

DJ Spooky

Paul D. Miller aka DJ SPOOKY That Subliminal Kid is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum and The Wire amongst other publications. Miller's work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture (2000); the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and many other museums and galleries. His work New York Is Now has been exhibited in the Africa Pavilion of the 52 Venice Biennial 2007, and the Miami/Art Basel fair of 2007. Miller's first collection of essays, entitled Rhythm Science came out on MIT Press 2004. His book Sound Unbound, an anthology of writings on electronic music and digital media is a bestselling title for MIT Press.

In 2011, Miller released a graphic design project exploring the impact of climate change on Antarctica through the prism of digital media and contemporary music compositions that explored the idea of "acoustic portraits" of Antarctica title The Book of Ice. The Book of Ice is includes an introduction by bestselling author and quantum physicist Brian Greene. The Book of Ice is a multi-media installation, a music composition for string quartet, and a book, and it has been included in the 2011 Gwangju Biennial, by Korean architect Seung H-Sang and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

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