The traditional gift for a 20th anniversary is china—but Tellers has been serving their premier signature steaks on beautiful plates for two decades. So how, instead, should they celebrate the restaurant’s big year? This was the question that the Bohlsen family—and their team at Bohlsen Restaurant Group (BRG)—began to ask themselves late last year. The answer? By following their long-standing tradition of giving back and serving the community around them.
To that end, the Bohlsen family will host a ‘Chefs Against Hunger’ dinner series at Tellers for six weeks this fall, bringing together seven of Long Island’s best, most celebrated chefs for special, intimate dinners to benefit Long Island Cares and help curtail food insecurity on Long Island.
Read more: Feeding the Food Insecure on Long Island
“Long Island’s culinary landscape has changed quite a bit since we opened Tellers 20 years ago. Today, we are rife with great talent and restaurants tout wonderful expressions of Long Island’s bounty,” says Michael Bohlsen, co-owner of BRG. “While we are all ostensibly competitors in the same business, we are also aware that this rising tide lifts all of our ships. Therefore, we thought the best way to celebrate how far the food scene on Long Island has come over these 20 years was to bring together some of our best and brightest and use these efforts to help eradicate hunger for some of the less fortunate on the Island.”
Held every Monday from September 23 through October 28, the series will kick off with chefs Claudia Fleming and Brian Wilson from North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. Next up will be chefs Michael Meehan (from River Road on September 30), Tom Schaudel (from Kingfish, Jewel, Alure, aMano and Be-Ju on October 7), Peter Van Der Mije (from Osteria Leana on October 14), Tom Gloster (from Rustic Root on October 21), and Noah Schwartz (from Noah’s in Greenport on October 28).
Each event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with an hour-long meet and greet over cocktails in Tellers’ boardroom. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the visiting chef will begin to present their one-night-only, 5-course dinner to guests, narrating each course as it comes to the table.
“What we really want is for the chefs to have fun,” says Michael Bohlsen. “So they can do whatever they want, even with beverages. We’re just providing the house for them to do it in.”
As a result of this freedom, many of the participating chefs have already partnered with local wineries for the event, with Lenz, Bedell and Paumanok Vineyards already signed on to supply wine for the series.
“One of the great things about the Long Island culinary community is that we are all willing to work together for a good cause,” says Kurt Bohlsen, who owns and operates BRG with his brother, Michael. “We wanted to use our anniversary as a platform to talk about something that really matters and, for us, food insecurity certainly fit the bill. There are people on Long Island—working people—who have to choose if they pay for their rent and heat, or if they pay for their food, and no one should have to make that choice. So we knew we had to do this, and it was amazing for us to see how quickly these chefs jumped on board to pitch in.”
“These extraordinary chefs have truly embraced this venture,” agrees Sheila Haile, BRG’s director of marketing. “We are really blown away by everyone’s generosity.”
Guests can expect to be blown away, as well—by the food. A sneak peek at one of the event’s menus, courtesy of chef Tom Gloster, featured smoked butternut squash with apple, brown butter, puffed rice and tahini; roasted Brussel sprouts with Tasso ham, horseradish, mint and honey; roasted chicken with foie gras au jus; Icelandic cod with lamb merguez, braised swiss chard and northern beans; and, for dessert, corn custard with pickled summer blueberry jam, meringue and almonds.
Tickets are $175.00 per person and are available for purchase online now. Wine is included in the price of admission, and all proceeds benefit Long Island Cares.
This is your chance to experience some of the best cuisine Long Island has to offer, in one of our region’s most gorgeous dining rooms, as seven of our most celebrated local chefs transform locally sourced ingredients into an experience you’ll remember forever—all while contributing to our largest local food bank.
“We are extremely grateful to the Bohlsen Restaurant Group and all of the wonderful guest chefs that will work their culinary magic at Tellers as part of this special event to support Long Island Cares’ mission to solve hunger on Long Island,” says Paule Patcher, CEO of Long Island Cares.
Food insecurity is a real and growing problem on Long Island. Long Island Cares, alone, serves over 259,000 people—more than 89,000 of them children—each year. Who better to raise money and draw attention to this reality than a restaurant that’s been feeding its community for 20 years?
“We are thrilled to draw attention to the important work that Long Island Cares does every day,” says Michael Bohlsen. “The key to operating a restaurant business, I think, is to stick to what you do well and let other people do what they do well. So we’re going to do what we’ve been doing well for 20 years, and we’re going to support Long Island Cares and help them continue to do their incredible work, as well. Everybody wins.”
Especially, as always, Tellers’ many guests.
For more on the upcoming Chefs Against Hunger series, or to make reservations, please visit the Tellers website. Chefs Against Hunger will kickoff on Monday, September 23 and will run every Monday through October 28. All proceeds will benefit Long Island Cares.