On a rainy Thursday morning last week, chef David Burke climbed five flights of stairs to deliver a meal prepared in the kitchen of his Upper East Side restaurant to Susan Conheim, 81.
“It’s nice to be the delivery guy sometimes, instead of the cook,” joked Burke, who opened Tavern62 in October and who’s most widely known for his appearances on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.”
This in-person drop-off is his way of participating in Citymeals on Wheels, a program that’s provided weekend, holiday and emergency meals to homebound seniors in New York City for the last 35 years. Since 2014, it’s enlisted one chef of Burke’s stature a month in preparing gourmet meals for a select group of recipients, Citymeals on Wheels executive director Beth Shapiro said.
“So many chefs are cooking because they love putting a gorgeous meal on a plate and nourishing people,” Shapiro said of an initiative that often brings celebrity chefs to recipients’ doors. “This is just an opportunity for them to do that in such a meaningful way.”
This September, chefs like Burke are supporting Citymeals on Wheels not only in the kitchen, but out in the dining room: They’re inviting customers to order special dessert items — at Tavern62, it’s a lemon raspberry meringue tart — and donating $1 from each purchase. (Shops like La Newyorkina, Zabar’s and Sprinkles are participating in the “Sweet September” promotion, too.)
Watch Burke in the video above bring his tart with macaroon wheels, or “cart-let” as he calls it, to Citymeals on Wheels recipients.