TV DINNERS: The lower level of the Lambs Club in New York played host to a denizen of media types, chefs and executives Monday evening. They came to celebrate HSN’s launch of a special edition of Unichef: Top Chefs Unite in Support of the World’s Children. It’s essentially a cookbook with recipes and interviews with 40 top chefs by Hilary Gumbel. Gumbel, who has worked as a consultant for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said the book took almost two years to put together and the chefs contributing include Marcus Samuelsson, Mario Batali, David Chang, Wolfgang Puck, Giada De Laurentiis and Emeril Lagasse. Along the way she learned such tidbits as: “Mario Batali worked at a pizza place called Stuff Yer Face. He got so much positive reinforcement that decided to become a chef.”
HSN Inc. chief executive officer and director Mindy Grossman explained that her company would sell signed copies of the book on air on Sept. 26, and that 20 percent of the proceeds would go to the charity.
Gumbel’s husband Bryant guarded his wife’s purse and chatted about various topics, including journalism. “I think in the past, people got into the business because they wanted to do good work and now I fear they get into the business because they want to be a star,” Gumbel said. The irony there didn’t escape Gumbel, who would later pose for photos with high-powered media friends Regis Philbin, Matt Lauer and brother Greg.
“Money corrupts everything. Every business,” Gumbel said, flashing a grin. “Yours, mine, book publishing. It corrupts absolutely everything, so this shouldn’t be any different?”