Slotkin (from left), Sirio Maccioni, Sharyn Mann, Howard Gittis
photos by Patrick McMullan
incidences of food-borne allergy will rise with the global
economy," Rep. Patrick Kennedy warned. "You have no idea
where food will come from."
Mann and Dr. Hugh Sampson
to Dr. Hugh Sampson:
My son Eric had grown up for 17 years with asthma and an allergy to
peanuts. On Oct. 29, 1999, he was rollerblading when he took a bite of
a friend's Mexican burrito. The tingling in his mouth and lips, and
the rash that quickly developed, clearly indicated that he had
ingested some peanut substance. Within minutes he collapsed on the
street. Despite the efforts of the ER doctors, he died in less than 30
and Mary Richardson Kennedy with Rep. Patrick Kennedy
and Susan Sosin
Citizens Contend With Food Allergy Affliction
|By Tim Boxer
IRIO MACCIONI felt
uneasy as he accepted the first annual Joe Baum Commendation for a
Commitment to Excellence. Instead of manning his perch on Madison Avenue
where he serves the ladies-who-lunch and feeds the captains of commerce at
his legendary Le Cirque 2000, he found himself at The Plaza where he was
applauded by a ballroomful of admirers. The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI),
under chairman Howard Sosin, honored him with its lifetime achievement
importance of a restaurateur can be measured by the people he knows, by
the tales he can tell, and by his discretion to talk about neither,” Roger
Yaseen said. “If such is the case,
then Sirio Maccioni is clearly America’s greatest host.”
if to underscore the statement, Maccioni, always the host, provided the
sumptuous dessert prepared by his pastry chef, Jacques Torres.
restaurateur is one who serves soup, that’s all,” Maccioni said. “I
did not expect all this.”
said his consciousness was raised when he dined with his uncle in France.
The restaurant served shellfish, which made his uncle ill. “It made me
aware that some people get sick from shellfish and peanuts.”
With an estimated five million
people suffering from food allergies, Maccioni promised to engage Le
Cirque in New York and Circo in Las Vegas “to help you lead this fight
and win the war to educate the [restaurant] industry about food
honored Maccioni for taking the initiative. He had his entire staff meet
with Dr. Hugh Sampson, director
of the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai
Medical Center in New York. Diners at Le Cirque 2000 now find a new
sensitivity to food allergies and a desire to accommodate the needs of
an effort to raise funds to research a cure for allergic reactions to
food, the FAI gala, under the leadership of dinner chair Sharyn
Mann, raised $2 million from such
guests as Bobby and Mary
Richardson Kennedy, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Dennis Basso, Howard
and Lynette Gittis, Valerie
and David Zilkha, Drew
Nieporent, David Liederman, Andre Soltner, Tim and
Nina Zagat, Michele and
Larry Herbert, Denise Rich, Kitty Carlisle Hart,
Leba and Neil Sedaka
and hundreds more.
In Congress, this year’s budget
allowed for $1.8 billion for the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases. “While this is a good start, it is just that ¾
a start,” Rep. Patrick Kennedy said.
Congressman was surprised to find that death from violent allergic
episodes can often be prevented with a device called Epi-Pen.
“Even more astounding is the
fact that this device is not readily available to many emergency
personnel,” he said. “This Congress has a responsibility to make sure
that this availability and training happens immediately. I will work in
Congress toward that goal. With the continued energy and vigor of the Food
Allergy Initiative, we can win this battle.”
dinner chair Howard Gittis, vice
chairman and chief administrative office of MacAndrews & Forbes
Holdings Inc., praised the
evening’s guest of honor, colleague Todd Slotkin,
for his “unswerving sense of determination. Once he has fixed his sights
on an objective, he will allow nothing to distract or dissuade him from
was with such determination that Slotkin helped create the Food Allergy
Initiative two years ago. Slotkin, executive vice president and chief
financial officer of MacAndrews & Forbes, is the father of four sons,
two of whom are affected by a food allergy. Severe food allergies, he
pointed out, now affect 1 of 20 children in the country.
It can be difficult to cope on a family
outing. In order to get a slice of plain bread, Slotkin had to ask the
this bread have any nuts?
it been in the same basket as bread with nuts?
it sliced with the same knife?
it been contaminated in any way?
you check with the kitchen again?
activities such as school meals, birthday parties, summer camps,
restaurants and travel are fraught with danger,” Slotkin said. “The
unspoken fear is, will today be the last time we see our child?"