Gala Benefit Event for Institute Pelé Pequeno Principe

Pelé and the dream team of chefs. From Left to right: Thomas Troisgros (slightly cut), Daniel Humm, Pelé, Alex Atala, Roberta Sudbrack, Daniel Bouloud, Claude Troisgros, and Leticia Krause

Pelé and the dream team of chefs. From Left to right: Thomas Troisgros (slightly cut), Daniel Humm, Pelé, Alex Atala, Roberta Sudbrack, Daniel Bouloud, Claude Troisgros, and Leticia Krause (Photo by Karissa Van Tassel)

Last month I participated in one of the most memorable events of my life, a galabenefit at New York’s Gotham Hall to support Hospital Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil. It all started about five years ago, when my friend Leticia Krause had this crazy idea of creating a gastronomic world cup that would estimulate chefs to explore and cook with Brazilian ingredients.

Leticia Krause on the right and I

Leticia Krause (on the right) and me

When she told me about it, I was like “Yeah right Leticia, keep dreaming.” But Krause gets very excited by turning crazy ideas into reality. She activated her network in Curitiba and pitched the concept to Hospital Pequeno Prínicpe. Togther, they created a Brazilian gastronomic fundraiser model called “Goals for Life”.

The story of the Complexo Pequeno Príncipe started in 1919, when volunteers got together to offer free appointments and remedies for children and adolescents. In the back of their mind, there was a dream to build an exclusive pediatric hospital, non existing in Paraná by then. With time and hard work, the ambition turned into achievement and today, the hospital accomplishes cardiac, neurological and orthopedic surgeries, as well as transplants and oncological treatments. It assists patients from all over Brazil and neighboring countries.

In September of 2005, the hospital founded the Reseach Institute Pelé Pequeno Principe. The new unit was created with the support of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé’s real name), who lands his name and prestige to the initiative.

Our king Pelé (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

Our king Pelé (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

Pelé is a synonym for talent, discipline, fame and humility. It also represents joy, determination, and eternal passion. To Brazilians, it’s a reason to be proud. He is a man of incredible charisma and that, I saw with my own eyes at the event, when he spoke to us. I was so excited to be in the same dinner with soccer greatness.

Born in 1940 in Três CoraÇoes, a city located in the south of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Pelé collaborates, supports, and takes part in causes that help the development and education of young children. The example lives here today, in his support for Goals for Life.

The occasion started to take shape when Leticia Krause, Ety Cristina Forte Carneiro, her husband José Alvaro Carneiro,

Ety and José Alvaro Carneiro

Ety and José Alvaro Carneiro (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

and Carol Pires Balaroti assigned Claude Troisgros to be the head master of a dream team of chefs. From Brazil, Alex Atala, and Roberta Sudbrack, and from New York Daniel Bouloud and Daniel Humm.

Dream Team of Chefs ( Photo by Andre Cypriano)

Dream Team of Chefs ( Photo by Andre Cypriano)

Besides raising funds for this nobel cause, Goals For Life New York (which was the was the fourth event, preceded by Curitiba, São Paulo, and Paris), could not have been executed without the help and devotion of Danielle Behring, a Curitibana (person born in Curitiba) with strong ties to the Hospital. Danielle is married to Alexandre Behring, CEO of 3G Capital

Alex and Dani Behring (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

Alex and Dani Behring (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

and has mobilized her personal network in Brazil and in the US to bring hundreds of people to this cause. Along with Danielle, another key organizer and suporter of this event is Belinda Baddock Britto, married to Inbev’s CEO Carlos Britto (watch a fascinating lecture on business by Carlos Britto here).

From left to right: Carlos Britto, Belinda Britto, Pelé, and Britto's daughter Louise

From left to right: Carlos Britto, Belinda Britto, Pelé, and Britto’s daughter Louise (Photo by Karissa Van Tassel)

Together, they moved mountains and proved that charity is not just giving money. It involves donating time, attention, support, sharing knowledge, and welcoming people who lost everything after a tragedy, or welcoming needy students from other countries into your home.

The cerimony, hosted by journalist Pedro Andrade,

Pedro Andrade  (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

Pedro Andrade (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

was magical and enriched by gifted Brazilians who contributed with their talents in all kinds of forms: decorartion by interior designer Marcia Tucker,

Photo by Karissa Van Tassel

Photo by Karissa Van Tassel

musicians from Escola de Música e Belas Artes do Paraná,

Photo by Lucia Pitter

Pianist Katie Fagotto performing with singers Marcia Kaiser and Paulo Barato (Photo by Lucia Pitter)

and an auction of Pele’s trophees, arts, and photos, conducted by Sotheby’s Hugh Hildesley.

Photo of young Pelé being sold at auction

Photo of young Pelé being sold at auction (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

I was honored to contribute as well preparing some delicious Brazilian flavored bonbons.

Bonbons bonbons

The experience was rewarding in so many aspects. I got the chance to spend some time with my dear friend Leticia Krause, to see other friends and Brazilian people coming together for a noble cause, to see Pelé in person, to see chefs who I worship cook for the dinner, and to taste their incredible recipes. I also got the chance to go to the hair salon, dress up, wear a night gown. After all, in my life between stove tops, burners, pots and pans, computer and cookbooks, this doesn’t happen very often.

Me, all dressed up

I am singing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

The night was magical, but most importantly, this event was a team effort between Danielle Bering and Belinda Britto that resulted in over US$ 700.000,00 raised to help Hospital Pequeno Principe.

The Hospital intends to continue networking with Brazilians living in the US, creating a fund for the institution and promoting other events devoted to the cause.

Talk about chefs whom I worship? Here is Alex Atala with his Flower Ceviche with an Orange Blossom Vinaigrette

Alex Atala with his Flower Ceviche with an Orange Blossom Vinaigrette (Photo by Andre Cypriano)

Chef Daniel Bouloud

Chef Daniel Bouloud (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

Claude Troisgros

Claude Troisgros (Photo by Ricardo de Mattos)

If you would like to contribute, please get in touch with Carol Pires Balaroti,

carolinab@hpp.org.br.

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5 Responses to “Gala Benefit Event for Institute Pelé Pequeno Principe”

  1. Mike Says:

    Oi leticia-
    Awesome blog! Im a gringo living in rio and searching for all the best sources of food in this city for my own personal happiness (and sanity!). Im struggling with spices, supermercados and casas pedro just arent cutting it when it comes to cayenne pepper, curry, etc. Can you point me in a better direction?
    Mike

    • Chef Leticia Says:

      Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by! While I see you are still searching for steady sources, I hope you are enjoying life and food in Rio.
      Stay tuned for my next book, called MY Rio, full of recipes and tips for a foodie in Rio, but in the meantime, I would point you in the direction of the farmer’s markets that happens all around the city. Feel free to e-mail me leticia@chefleticia.com if you need more directions. Enjoy life in Rio! I miss home!

  2. sallybr Says:

    Leticia, nao sei como perdi esse seu artigo, I am a subscriber, somehow this one got away from me… Talvez eu nao tenha prestado atencao quando chegou e deletei o email, sei la’

    AMEI esse artigo , voce esta’ um desbunde e meu Deus, ver tanta gente incrivel de pertinho…. que maravilha! Voce merece!

  3. Nidhi Raj Kapoor Says:

    Hello Leticia, I am a journalist working on philanthropic behaviors of diaspora communities in the US, one of them being Brazilian Americans. Would you please give me a short interview on these wonderful initiatives you are taking? I can do the interview by phone. Please get in touch with me at rajkapoor.nidhi@gmail.com. Many thanks.

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