Former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney attended the Queens Centers for Progress 24th annual “Evening of Fine Food” at Terrace on the Park as a special guest chef. The event benefits the agency, which is made up of people working together to promote the independence, community involvement and quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities by providing person-centered services and support.
Joining Cooney as a special guest chef was John Luke of A&E’s “Storage Wars,” and helping out with MC duties were Queens’ own foodies Joe DiStefano, Rick Bedrosian and Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello. More than 30 restaurants from across the borough offered delicacies, wines and spirits to more than 350 guests who sampled gourmet foods, played casino games, took selfies and participated in the silent auction.
“Evening of Fine Food is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together to show its support for children and adults with developmental disabilities,” Queens Centers for Progress Executive Director Terri Ross said. “We are grateful to our board of directors, our many generous restaurants and sponsors, and everyone who joined us for a very exciting evening.”
In addition to returning restaurants Marbella, London Lennies, Papazzio, Austin Ale House and Bourbon Street, the event also featured chefs from the “Edison Café,” from nearby Thomas A. Edison CTE High School. Edison Café is a school-run “Academics, Career and Essential Skills” program that teaches individuals with developmental disabilities the how-to of hydroponic farming, cooking, food management and hygiene.
Some of the individuals in the program matriculate to QCP’s own programs, including pre-vocational job training.
“We have a great relationship with QCP, thanks to the work they do serving our students with disabilities as they transition from high school,” Thomas Edison’s Assistant Principal for Instructional Support Services Andrea Scolavino said. “Many of our students attend QCP programs in which they further their employability skills, build social relationships, and develop into productive members of society.”