Hedge funders, celebrity chefs prep autism benefit

By Lawrence Delevingne

Tue Aug 27, 2013

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Autism Speaks' annual celebrity chef gala October 21 will receive continued industry support.

   The 2012 Celebrity Chef Gala (Photo: Autism Speaks)
Hedge fund managers are used to spending large sums to eat at the best restaurants in the country. For one night this year, their big bill to taste the cuisine of celebrity chefs will benefit autism.

Science and advocacy nonprofit Autism Speaks will get a financial boost October 21, when the group puts on its seventh annual Celebrity Chef Gala in New York City. Held at Cipriani Wall Street, more than 100 chefs will individually cook a four course dinner for each 10-person table at a per-table cost of between $15,000 and $100,000. So far, the list of participating chefs includes Wylie Dufresne of wd~50; Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto; Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto; and Mark Ladner of Del Posto.

The event raised $1.6 million last year. A sell out, it featured Michael Symon of ABC television show "The Chew" and Terrance Brennan of Artisanal, among many others. The Chef Gala events have raised more than $7.8 million for Autism Speaks since inception, according to event manager Marisa Maltese.

The Chef Gala is co-chaired by Phil and Susan Harris; Phil is a managing director at fund of hedge funds Lighthouse Investments. The annual food-centric event has been supported in the past by such hedge fund firms as Marshall Wace, Renaissance Technologies, Paulson & Co., Chilton Investment Company, Indus Capital Partners, Ionic Capital Management, Bronson Point Partners, and Aristeia Capital.

Autism Speaks is a hedge fund philanthropy favorite. Kevin Murray, head of global sales at G2 Investment Group, is a director for the group and financial supporters include Carlson Capital, Jim and Marilyn Simons, MKP Capital Management, Babson Capital, Coatue Foundation, Columbus Circle Investors, Graham Capital Management, Paulson & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners, according to the 2012 annual report.

Autism Speaks is "dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families," according to the firm's website.

See also: Hedge funds help raise nearly $1 million at Autism Speaks golf tournament | Money raised for autism

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H

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