Events — 30 March 2012
STREETS International Benefit at The Astor Center

Blog: STREETS International

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One of the most troubling aspects of modern society is the amount of youths who are turned out onto the streets around the world. This is a staggering statistic, which leads to massive poverty and crime. The global social enterprise initiative known as, STREETS International aims to change this trend in South East Asia and the rest of the world. Since 2007, STREETS has been preparing vulnerable, orphaned and other disadvantaged young people for careers in hospitality. Last night, at NYC’s Astor Center the 5th annual benefit was held to raise funds and support this group who is doing so much good. LocalBozo was there to do our part by bringing you coverage of this important cause.

The cause itself is quite serious in nature, but the event was an all out celebration and delicious too boot. Both rooms of the Astor Center were packed with delectable eats prepared by major NYC chefs, and a silent auction loaded with choice items with all proceeds going to, ‘STREETS’. But before we took our first bite, the capacity crowd was presented with a, ‘Chef Cook-Off.’ The timed cook-off featured, Daniel Holzman owner of, ‘The Meatball Shop’ taking on a fellow chef in a, ‘Summer Roll’ challenge. Throughout the allotted time period both chefs joked as they created their own version of this traditional Asian dish. Holzman could be seen using some unorthodox ingredients such as a well known canned Italian favorite for kids. This was a fantastic way to kick off the night with some laughs, as well as a hearty amount of creativity!

The best of New York City was at the Astor Center providing guests with great bite sized eats, with tons of flavor. From Harlem’s Red Rooster all the way to the recently opened Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine, guests had a vast cornucopia of choices. ‘Frazier’s’ prepared a delightful duck dish with a sweet sauce, proving this new kid on the block has their act together. The aforementioned, Meatball Shop came with an Asian inspired meatball in a tangy sauce. And in keeping with their cheeky attitude, they gave patrons chopsticks to eat with.

The amazing eats did not end there. No not by a long shot. After grabbing a glass of tasty Merlot, we ventured to the corner table where Blue Smoke Jazz Standard set up shop. The Gramercy staple came to the STREETS benefit with a savory sampling of their beef ribs paired with a vinegary slaw. The rib had a perfect amount of marbling on it’s crust making it one of our favorite dishes of the evening. The excellent selections caused us to move through both rooms, trying anything and everything. But, it also afforded us with the opportunity to speak with several staff members, and non-profits in attendance to find out about all the good work the organization does. This factor was solidified when STREETS International, Founder and Chairperson Neal F. Bermas spoke to the crowd and presented a touching documentary that seriously drove home their goal.

We implore you to head over to STREETS International’s website, and find out for yourself the good these fine men and women do on a daily basis. Everyone who wants to better their life deserves a shot to get off the street and into a job. These youths could surprise us all and become the next top chef, or restaurateur. We just have to supply them with the means to thrive.

- Jay Rubin

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