“Denim, Diamonds & Delmonico's” benefit event to raise funds for sustainable agriculture


Tami McCarthy, Thomas Edward Dugal, Max Tucci, John Ubaldo and Andrew Yu (not pictured) are co-chairs of the "Denim, Diamonds & Delmonico's" gala happening October 23. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

North Salem resident Max Tucci wants you to put on your diamonds, throw on a pair of jeans and come have a good time with friends, all for a good cause. Tucci and a group of local friends from the worlds of food and fashion have partnered to host “Denim, Diamonds & Delmonico's” on Saturday, October 23 at Maple Grove Farm in Bedford. The event will honor Urban Farming founder Taja Sevelle, with proceeds benefitting the August West Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.

Tucci, along with Tami McCarthy, owner of Pound Ridge’s Kahlo Collective, chef Thomas Edward Dugal, John Ubaldo, farmer and owner of John Boys Farm, and fashion designer Andrew Yu are all co-chairs of the event, teaming up to tap their collective networks to help make the event a success.

Attendees will enjoy dinner and dancing, with entertainment by Smokey Hormel and The Roundups. The menu will feature select recipes from Tucci’s forthcoming cookbook, The Delmonico Way, which features recipes from Tucci’s family’s famed restaurant, Delmonico’s, a New York institution since the late 1800’s.

Tucci will serve as auctioneer for the evening’s live and “super silent” auction. The auction will provide guests the opportunity to bid on such exclusive items as having chef Dugal serve as private chef for a Thanksgiving dinner for up to 10 people and, for aspiring singer/songwriters, a private review and advice session from legendary record producer Clive Davis for up to two songs. Gala tickets are $200 per person.

Beyond the fun, Tucci says he hopes the event will raise awareness around the importance and value of farming, while also helping to bridge a gap in understanding between urban faming and conscious farming. “Understanding each other’s environment is important,” he said. “In the end, we are all one and we’re all part of this thriving ecosystem.”

Sevelle founded the non-profit Urban Farming in Detroit in 2005. Her work is focused on helping urban environments understand the importance of farming and using abandoned lots or rooftops to create farms. John Ubaldo, one of the gala co-chairs, formed the August West Foundation in 2013 with the goal of bringing all-natural farming back to mainstream America.

Since moving to North Salem in May, Tucci has gained a firsthand understanding of how unique and valuable our local ecosystem is for farming. He purchased ten acres of property on Route 116 in an area that used to be called The Great Meadow. “The soil here is so rich,” Tucci said. “There’s something really magical about this land and that’s why farmers came here.” He’s working to learn more about farming so that he can make his own property more usable and sustainable. “How do we make it into land that’s respected, utilized and not wasted,” Tucci said, relaying his thoughts about his own property and the kinds of thoughts he hopes “Denim, Diamonds and Delmonico's” will inspire for all who attend.

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