The 2011 Great Chefs Dinner to benefit Hayground School, now in its seventh year, will be held on Sunday with its usual roster of marquee chefs from near and far — plus the designer and television personality Isaac Mizrahi, who joins as a surprise guest cook.
This year, the art auction that accompanies the culinary action is drawing as much buzz as the tastings and wine pairings.
Perry Burns, an Amagansett artist who is serving as co-curator of the event along with Toni Ross, said that in the three years he has been involved with the silent auction, it has only increased in quality and variety. “We had great artists from the beginning, such as Ross Bleckner and Mary Heilmann, but we figured out ways to make it bigger and better. Now, artists come to us to ask to be in the auction.”
Mr. Burns said he was recruited to be an organizer by Liz Salaway, the sister of one of the founders of the school, Jeff Salaway, who died 10 years ago in a car accident. Ms. Ross was his wife; she is also a supporter of the school and an artist whose work will be included in the auction.
“I came aboard as an artist out here connected to other artists out here,” Mr. Burns said. “I know a lot of artists and thought I could help her. It’s a rich time for contemporary art here.” He said that although everyone has heard about the community of painters that thrived on the East End in the 1950s and 1960s, “I’m not sure the general public is aware that so many great artists are here still.”
Ms. Heilmann and Mr. Bleckner continue to contribute work to the Hayground fund-raiser. Also on auction this year are offerings from John Alexander, Dan Rizzie, Sally Egbert, Laurie Lambrecht, Darlene Charneco, Jean Pagliuso, Robert Harms, Jenny Gorman, and many others. Bidding will take place in a silent auction during the cocktail party, with guests wielding iPod-like handheld devices that will keep them up to date on who has bid what, as well as provide biographical information on the artists. All of the works have been posted online; those who cannot attend can register in advance to bid from afar.
According to Mr. Burns, the estimates run from $100 to $10,000, and the artists can choose to donate the entire proceeds or keep up to 50 percent.
Some of the contributing artists, including Bastienne Schmidt and Philippe Chang, are parents of children who are students at Hayground. “It’s a progressive school,” he said. “It attracts a lot of artistic and creative parents.”
This year’s Meet the Chefs cocktail party will feature “tasting stations” manned by Mark Forgione, Marc Meyer, Josh Capon, Jonathan Waxman, Harold Dieterle, Michael White, Gerry Hayden, and Claudia Fleming. They will be offering hors d’oeuvres inspired by the produce of local farms and waters. A select few chefs will prepare the V.I.P. dinner, with each course paired with a wine.
The Hayground School’s own greenhouse will be the source of some of the produce.
The cocktail party will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and dinner from 8 to 10:30, during which there will be a live auction of luxury items. For children, there will be a separate dinner; child care will be provided by Hayground Camp counselors. The event benefits the school as well as the Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund. It will be held at the school on Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. Tickets start at $175 for just the cocktail party, and $850 for both cocktails and dinner. They are available at greatchefsdinner.com and by calling the school.