For effort to fight childhood obesity, Pforzheimer is honored

Wilton restaurateur Andy Pforzheimer has joined the Stamford YMCA’s battle against childhood obesity, and will be honored for these efforts at its Second Annual Fine Food for a Cause Event on Monday, Jan. 28, at the Stamford Yacht Club. The event is a fund-raiser for the Y’s anti-childhood obesity programs, especially the “Kids’ Kitchen,” which aims to teach healthy eating habits.

Mr. Pforzheimer, co-owner of the Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar, said the idea behind his seven restaurants is serving small plates of food, or “tapas,” made with locally grown produce. This aligns with the goals of the Stamford YMCA’s program, he said.

“The philosophy of our cuisine is about preparing simple dishes with quality ingredients,” he said. “The majority of our menu is tapas or small plates. Tapas have been a Spanish tradition for generations. It gives our guests the opportunity to taste a variety of items without feeling overwhelmingly full.”

Mr. Pforzheimer, who has worked as a restaurant professional for over 30 years, serving as executive chef in such New York restaurants as Arcadia and the 21 Club before founding the first Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar in South Norwalk in 1996, said the Stamford Y initially sought his help.

“They came to us with the hope that we can help support them with their efforts by lending our expertise to their plan for their ‘Kids’ Kitchen’ program,” he said. “I am fortunate to have a restaurant group comprised of talented chefs and operators. We also have an amazing group of purveyors who provide the products we need to produce quality dishes.”

“Once the ‘Kids’ Kitchen’ is up and running, we will be able to have our chefs act as guest teachers and teach the children about nutrition and making healthy food choices in a kid-appropriate way.”

Also, he said, “I’d like to involve our local purveyors the opportunity to share their knowledge and products to educate these children as well. The more resources we can help provide for the ‘Kids’ Kitchen,’ the better for this program. We look forward to being a part of educating the next generation of culinary superstars.”

Mr. Pforzheimer said a study done by the Stamford YWCA underscores the need for such programs. “According to the Stamford Y’s research, 34% of kindergartners, 10th and 11th graders in Stamford were obese,” he said.

Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar has locations in Fairfield, Greenwich, New Haven, South Norwalk, Stamford, West Hartford, and Atlanta. Mr. Pforzheimer is also a member of the Wilton Board of Finance.

The other honorees at the Fine Food for a Cause event include his Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar partner, Sasa Mahr-Batuz; and Sam Cingari, founder of 10 ShopRite supermarkets in Fairfield County, and longtime Stamford YMCA board of directors member.

“They are being honored for their dedication to promoting healthier lifestyles,” according to Katrina Dorsey, marketing and membership director at the Stamford YMCA.

Proceeds from the event “will support the Stamford Family YMCA’s youth development and healthy living programs,” she said. “A cornerstone of this effort will be the building of a multi-purpose professional teaching kitchen at the Y,” for the Kids’ Kitchen and other nutritional education programs.

The master of ceremonies for the event will be Chris Hansen, television journalist and NBC Dateline correspondent. “He is a longtime Y board member and local philanthropist,” Ms. Dorsey said.

Fine Food for a Cause will take place at the Stamford Yacht Club, 97 Ocean Drive West in Stamford at 6 p.m.  three-course, four-star meal prepared by some of the area’s most well-known chefs will be served at the chef’s table, according to Ms. Dorsey. The event also includes the opportunity to participate in silent and live auctions. The cost is $175 per person.

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