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With Breaking Ground’s Serving Up Home, Michelin-starred chefs help city’s homeless

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The June 25 event at the nonprofit’s Prince George residence features signature dishes from six chefs and directly supports its street outreach and housing programs.



By Nikki M. Mascali, Metro

You might not think that homelessness and hunger in New York City has any connection to the iconic restaurant-industry influencer Michelin Guide, but for supportive housing developer Breaking Ground, it most certainly does.

For the second year in a row, Breaking Ground will host Serving Up Home, a tasting event at its Prince George residence on East 27th Street, with signature dishes from six Michelin-starred city chefs.

This year’s event takes place June 25 and features Cosme Aguila of Casa Enrique, Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit, Aaron Bludorn of Café Boulud, Christopher Engle of Aureole New York, Carlo Mirarchi of Blanca and Melissa Rodriguez of Del Posto as well as bites from Somtum Der, Casellula, Red Rooster Harlem and D’Artagnan.

“I wanted to do something light and summery and, of course, have a little bit of a flair to it, so I’m doing a scallop with caviar, rosé and pine, which are some of my favorite things to eat,” said Bengtsson, who earned Aquavit’s second Michelin Star last year, making her the first-ever female Swedish chef and just the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen.

Breaking Ground’s mission is near and dear to Bengtsson as she already works with similar organizations, so “to be able to provide people with the right to have a decent quality of life and have somewhere to live and food for the day, I will do anything I can,” she said.

Tickets for Serving Up Home are currently on sale and start at $250. Last year’s event brought in more than $80,000.

“Those dollars went directly to support our street outreach and transitional housing programs,” said Brenda Rosen, Breaking Ground’s president and CEO. “That’s the work we do on the streets with homeless people and transitional housing that we can bring people into off the streets right away.”

Breaking Ground manages 22 permanent and transitional housing buildings across the city, and Rosen said it costs about $124 per night for transitional housing. “That $80,000 translated to 650 nights of transitional housing in 2017, so it’s a big deal,” she added.

The Prince George was one of the city’s grandest hotels in the early 1900s, but had fallen into despair when Breaking Ground acquired it in 1996.

Today, it offers 415 units of supportive and affordable housing, and hosting Serving Up Home in its ballroom is “incredibly meaningful,” Rosen said. “To have an event that is going to raise funds that go directly to help folks get off the street who could potentially move into the Prince George, remain stable and get back on their feet is just thrilling for us.”
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Last year’s Serving Up Home brought in more than $80,000, which supported Breaking Ground’s street outreach and transitional housing programs, said Brenda Rosen, president and CEO. (Michael Priest Photography)

Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit is one of six Michelin-starred chefs who will provide signature bites for Breaking Ground’s Serving Up Home event on June 25. (Provided)

Breaking Ground’s newest residence, Webster Avenue, opened earlier this month in the Bronx and offers 170 units of supportive and affordable housing. (Breaking Ground)

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