New Jersey celebrity chef and five-time cancer survivor Eric Le Vine gives back

nj-eric-levineDiane Bondareff/Invision for Family Reach/AP Images

New Jersey chef Eric Le Vine, far right, was joined by fellow chefs Todd English and Brett Portier, along with Carla Tardif, CEO, Family Reach, and veteran broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, at Family Reach’s Cooking Live! charity event, Monday at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park.

Chef Eric Le Vine may have achieved celebrity status after winning the hit Food Network show Chopped in 2011, opening several restaurants, writing two cookbooks and being named a Restaurant Guild International “Chef of the Year Award” for 2013. But, he’s all about giving back.

“I’m a five-time cancer survivor myself,” the chef, who now lives in East Hanover with his wife and two kids, told OMJ at the Family Reach’s Cooking Live! charity event on Monday. “So, anything I can do to give back to the families, I absolutely will.”

The November 14 event, which took place at The Ritz-Carlton New York, featured live cooking demonstrations from the world’s top chefs all in one ballroom. “It’s incredible to be here with people like Chef Ming Tsai, Chef Morimoto. And Todd English. I feel truly blessed.”

Not only did Chef Le Vine get to work alongside some of the industry’s most important cooks, but also be a part of helping families battling pediatric cancer. Recently selected by Vice President Joe Biden as a Cancer Moonshot partner, Family Reach Foundation is a financial lifeline to families fighting cancer. Out-of-pocket costs for cancer average $38,000 annually, leaving many families unable to afford basic living expenses like rent, heat, or groceries. This financial toxicity directly impacts survival rates and access to care, so Family Reach pays these bills, keeping families afloat while a child or parent is in treatment.

One New Jersey family at the event told us that after spending months living in the hospital, the charity helped to pay their mortgage bill so they could focus on their little girl. “You just forget about all of the normal things going on at home,” AJ, father of 2-year-old Emma, told us. “Bills just piled up and Family Reach just made it really easy to take that off our plates.”

Chefs Philip Medora, Alan Dancyger, Masaharu Morimoto, Ming Tsai, Todd English, Brett Portier and Eric Le Vine, left to right, with Carla Tardif, center, CEO, Family Reach, and veteran broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, center right, attend Family Reach's Cooking Live! charity event, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. Diane Bondareff/Invision for Family Reach/AP Images

From left: Chefs Philip Medora, Alan Dancyger, Masaharu Morimot, Ming Tsai, Carla Tardif, CEO, Family Reach, Bryant Gumbel, Todd English, Brett Portier and Eric Le Vine.

Along with Chef Le Vine, iconic broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, a cancer survivor himself, was Chef Ming’s sous-chef, helping prepare his appetizer: Tequila Flambé Norwegian Salmon Carpaccio.