Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala 2019

World-class chefs channel their culinary talents for a cause at 13th annual Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala, raising vital funds for research, advocacy, programs and services in support of the diverse autism community 

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Media Contacts:

Tracie Boruta   
312-988-2382 | 312-218-5486    

Hosted by Andrew Zimmern and co-chaired by Matt Higgins, RSE Ventures cofounder and CEO and recurring Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, and Christina Tosi, chef, founder and owner of Milk Bar, gala to feature chefs from 12 Michelin-starred restaurants and honor Tim Jones, CEO of Publicis Media, Americas 

NEW YORK (Oct. 15, 2019) – Today in New York City, acclaimed and accomplished chefs from around the world will join Autism Speaks to cook for a cause at the 13th annual Celebrity Chef Gala. Co-chaired by Autism Speaks National Board Member Matt Higgins and Chef Christina Tosi and hosted by four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher Andrew Zimmern, the event raises critical funds toward Autism Speaks’ mission to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of people with autism and their families. 

Bringing together the culinary delights of a once-in-a-lifetime dinner party, the mouth-watering cuisines of award-winning restaurateurs and a behind-the-scenes look at world-class chefs in action, the Celebrity Chef Gala transforms Cipriani Wall Street into a massive open kitchen. Each of the 50 chefs onsite designs a signature four-course menu, prepared tableside à la minute, as guests experience their culinary chops first-hand while supporting the mission of Autism Speaks. Together, the evening’s chefs have amassed a total of over 16 Michelin stars in 2019, dozens of James Beard Awards and countless accolades for their restaurants on a local, national and global scale.

The 2019 Celebrity Chef Gala is co-chaired by Christina Tosi, chef, founder and owner of Milk Bar, and Matt Higgins, RSE Ventures cofounder and CEO and a recurring Shark on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.  Tosi and Higgins bring their leadership in the food and business worlds, together with their commitment to the autism community, to this year’s event. Chef Tosi and her Milk Bar team will also serve the evening’s signature dessert, slices of their famous birthday cake. 

“I’m honored to partner with Matt Higgins to co-chair the Autism Speaks Gala, bringing more light, power and possibility to children and adults alike, creating a more inclusive world for people with autism,” said Tosi. 

“Autism Speaks helps families around the world understand that they are not alone. There is love, there is acceptance, and with the help of events like the Celebrity Chef Gala, there is research and support,” said Higgins. “Thank you to everyone who has put their energy into making this event our most Michelin-starred to date. Families around the world will benefit from your generosity.”  

Host Andrew Zimmern said of the Gala: “Hosting this year’s event is a great privilege. I know the unique strengths and challenges that can accompany an autism diagnosis, and it’s crucial that we make sure all children and adults with autism receive care and consideration so that the best possible outcomes are realized. I’m honored to be a part of such a special evening.”

The event will also honor Tim Jones, CEO of Publicis Media, Americas, a member of the Autism Speaks Board of Directors. Jones has been instrumental in raising awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with autism, thanks to the commitment of Publicis Media’s Zenith as Autism Speaks’ pro-bono media agency of record, driving millions of dollars in donated media support for the organization’s mission. 

“I am incredibly touched that Autism Speaks has chosen to honor the accomplishments of Publicis Media and Zenith at this year’s event,” said Jones. “Making a difference for the autism community is near and dear to my heart, and has become a cornerstone of our corporate social responsibility commitments for over ten years. We’ve made a powerful impact in raising awareness and understanding of autism, in addition to driving participation in Autism Speaks Walks and other fundraising efforts. We are excited to continue supporting the organization’s mission forward for years to come.”

Participating chefs and restaurants include: 

•    2dive4 – Felix Castro
•    Bambara – David Bazirgan
•    Bistro 111 – Anthony Scolaro
•    Bodega Negra – Bradley Warner
•    Bohlsen Restaurant Group – James McDevitt
•    Bricolage – Lien Lin
•    Cafe Avalaun – Brian Doyle
•    Catch – Hilary Ambrose, Jr.
•    Cipriani – Silvano Fiorindo
•    Contra – Fabian von Hauske
•    Copine – Shaun McCrain
•    Crown Shy – James Kent
•    Crustacean Beverly Hills – Tony Nguyen
•    Del Posto – Melissa Rodriguez
•    Dell'anima – Andrew Whitney
•    Dinner in the Dark – Jeff Jarrett
•    DON COQUI & SALSA CON FUEGO – Ricardo Cardona
•    Echo & Rig – Sam Marvin
•    Eleven Madison Park – Brian Lockwood
•    Felidia – Fortunato Nicotra
•    Gabriel Kreuther Restaurant – Gabriel Kreuther
•    Grafiti – Jehangir Mehta
•    Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Restaurant LOLA – Michael Ginor
•    Hunt & Fish Club – Chad Brown
•    Hunt & Fish Club – Vicki Wells
•    Kingsley – Roxanne Spruance
•    La Chula – Julian Medina
•    La Ventura – Peter Lipson
•    L'Artusi Restaurant – Jessica Craig
•    Las' Lap – Kelvin Fernandez
•    Las' Lap – Thiago Silva
•    L'Etoile, Graze & Estrellon – Tori Miller
•    Locanda Verde – Luciano Duco
•    Locanda Verde – Deborah Racicot
•    Loi Estatoria – Maria Loi
•    Lupa – James Kelly
•    Marea – Molly Nickerson
•    Milk Bar    – Christina Tosi
•    Momofuku Ko – Sean Gray
•    Nobu 57    – Matt Hoyle
•    NoMad – Michael Reilly
•    Oak + Rowan – Michael Destifano 
•    Oak + Rowan – Michelle Bolland 
•    Per Se – Corey Chow
•    Perrine – Ashfer Biju
•    Perrine – Michael Romano
•    Polpetta – Adam Bostwick
•    Porco Lounge & Tiki Room – Stefan Was
•    Restaurant Associates at Google – Julian Alonzo
•    Sen Sakana – Mina Newman
•    Shuko – Nick Kim
•    Sodexo| University Hospitals of Cleveland – John Selick
•    Tao Downtown – Ralph Scamardella
•    The Center for Discovery – Cesare Casella
•    The Clocktower – Jack Logue
•    The Elephant – Mallory Staley
•    The Grill    – William Cox
•    The Meatball Shop – Daniel Sharp 
•    The Modern –  Jiho Kim
•    Txikito, El Quinto Pino, La Vara, Saint Julivert – Alex Raij
•    Urban Farmer – Vishwatej Nath 
Proceeds from the evening will fund Autism Speaks mission and fuel further impact toward enhancing lives today and accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow. To learn more, visit To follow the evening on social, find @AutismSpeaks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #Chefs4Autism. 

About Autism
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. To find resources, join an event or make a donation, go to Learn more by following @AutismSpeaks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

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