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Above: Christopher Jewth, student speaker at the 2011 Gold Coast Classic, speaks to attendees about his NYIT educational opportunities at home and abroad.
NYIT’s Gold Coast Classic celebrates a 15-year legacy of scholarship support, culinary excellence, and the best wine you’ll ever taste.
By Michael Schiavetta (M.A.'07) and Rose Sumer
In the world of food and wine, inspiration is perhaps the most important ingredient. Likewise, NYIT’s Gold Coast Classic is its own inspired and unexpected pairing—a global university coupled with a culinary marvel that honors the finest leaders in the food and wine industry, all in the name of supporting thousands of NYIT students worldwide. Since 1997, the annual event has raised more than $5 million to sustain student scholarships while giving attendees the chance to meet some of the world’s greatest chefs and winemakers.
“It’s a great privilege to give NYIT students the support they need at such an exceptional event,” says Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., president of NYIT. “Gold Coast gives us a way to give the NYIT community the opportunity to donate while experiencing the finest wines and dishes prepared by top vintners and chefs.”
In addition to fabulous, multi-course meals, the Gold Coast Classic features silent and live auctions as well as the presentation of the Professional Excellence Awards by Richard Elia, publisher of Quarterly Review of Wines (QRW), a leading wine magazine that co-hosts the event each year.
“The gathering of New York’s ‘best and brightest’ for a worthy cause tied to education is simply too irresistible a combination to ignore,” says Gina Gallo, winemaker for Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve and winner of the Professional Excellence in Oenology award in 2006. “It became obvious that to be a part of an event which provides assistance to deserving students would be most worthwhile.”
Named in honor of Long Island’s famous Gold Coast that stretches across the North Shore, the event and its history can be traced back to when President Guiliano and his wife, Mireille (a New York Times best-selling author of food and lifestyle books), met Elia in the mid-1980s.
“Richard knew my wife through the wine world,” says President Guiliano. “He ran a televised wine auction fundraiser on WGBH in Boston and invited us to be co-presenters with him live on the air.”
The event raised substantial dollars for charity and led to a rapport that has lasted nearly 30 years.
“Richard has been a true friend and supporter of NYIT,” says Linda Davila (B.S. ’78), chair of the NYIT Board of Trustees.
The creation of the Gold Coast Classic itself, however, came about when then-provost Edward Guiliano and Mireille attended the Sun Valley Wine Auction in Idaho, where they met celebrated auctioneer David Reynolds. And quickly, the idea of a food-and-wine auction/fundraiser to provide financial support for students made perfect sense.
“Later, I met with David near his home in San Francisco and he helped organize our thinking,” says President Guiliano. “After reaching out to Richard and getting help from faculty in our culinary arts program, we were off and running.”
The first year’s event, held at the NYIT de Seversky Mansion, set the tone for others to follow when restauranteur Sirio Maccioni from Le Cirque got into a friendly bidding war with another attendee for a bottle of 1864 Bouchard Montrachet.
“Everyone there was wondering what this Civil War era wine might taste like,” recalls President Guiliano. The wine ultimately sold to the other guest for more than $11,000.
“Sirio next offered to host a dinner for up to 20 people, so long as that wine was served and he got a sip,” says President Guiliano. “The winner of the bottle, who just wanted a taste himself, donated the bottle back to NYIT, and we resold it as part of a $1,000-a-plate dinner at Le Cirque. We raised another $15,000.”