BOSTON – Dozens of top chefs left their kitchens on Wednesday to offer fine food and drinks at Fenway Park concession stands in a project intended to raise money for Boston Marathon bombing victims.
The Boston Bites Back event at the Boston Red Sox’s home, the oldest baseball park in the major leagues, was held a month after the April 15 attack, in which two pressure cookers filled with explosives and shrapnel exploded near the marathon’s finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.
The project involved about 100 top chefs serving fine wine and all sorts of fancy food to attendees as they looked to raise $1 million for One Fund Boston, a charity set up to help the bombing victims, many of whom lost limbs.
Emergency workers, bombing victims and government officials were among those at the event dining on seared duck breast, oysters, spring seafood salad, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches and other dishes.
Bombing victim Lee Ann Yanni, who broke one of her legs in the attack and was still on crutches, attended the event with her husband, who also was injured.
“As somebody that was significantly injured but luckier than some, it really, truly means a lot that other people are willing to help us just to get back to normal life,” Yanni said.
The chefs, who donated the food and wine for the event, planned to cook and serve guests for four hours from behind Fenway’s concession stands and at tables throughout the Big Concourse and the park’s Budweiser deck.
Five thousand tickets were available at $200 each, entitling people to eat and drink as much as they wished; 200 VIP tickets were offered at $1,000 each, with access to a more intimate and exclusive gathering at the ballpark’s EMC Club. An online auction before the event featured packages including unique dining experiences from top chefs and personal shopping with fashion expert Gretta Monahan.
Boston Bites Back was spearheaded by celebrity chefs Ken Oringer, who owns six popular restaurants in the city, and Ming Tsai, a creator of the East-meets-West movement and a media producer. Others behind the initiative include Gov. Deval Patrick, the Red Sox and food service provider Aramark.
Organizers described Boston Bites Back as a “once-in-a-lifetime tasting event” that demonstrates the city’s unrelenting spirit while raising money for bombing victims.
The event “is an opportunity for the city to join as one and acknowledge our strength as a community,” Oringer said in a statement. “Nothing speaks more to our collective resolve than an evening of hospitality, unity and hometown pride in one of the most iconic venues in Boston — Fenway Park.”
Ming said food is a “common ground, a universal experience.”
“This event is an occasion for Bostonians to reconnect over food, mingle with chefs and honor our city’s inspiring resilience,” Ming said. “It’s an opportunity for Bostonians to literally bite back.”
Other chefs who planned to take part in the event included Nick Lee, the executive chef behind the Chinatown favorite Shojo, and Mario Batali, the media personality and master of Italian cuisine.