After a political shake-up, CNN’s Sandra Lee pulled a major surprise at Thursday night’s grand opening gala of Wasserstein’s new restaurant N, an homage to the famed New York chef, William Carrier.
The actress and home decor designer, also known for her Food Network shows, scored a showdown with Governor Andrew Cuomo over his role in promoting his new Diner en Blanc event in the state capitol.
Cuomo told Lee to “go f*** yourself,” a comment that once again put his wife, the mother of his three children, on the spot as a by-stander. Lee called it a “slap” in the face, in reference to Cuomo’s notorious stint as a lawmaker and the lack of representation for New York’s Eastern suburbs, where he hails from.
When it was her turn to speak, the presidential hopeful claimed to be unaware of the gala — a fact that was apparently lost on the crowd. They promptly booed and started chanting her name in both Spanish and Russian.
In the wake of her gaffe, Lee allegedly tried to leave the event, according to the New York Post , to avoid a similar confrontation. She fled, she explained, to avoid the protesters to “avoid making a scene,” that she had “no control over.”
Despite her backlash, Lee turned out at the lavish, celeb-studded event in a black floor-length dress and bright orange lipstick.
Cuomo’s attendance was not absent, but his wife, Misha, who is said to have complained about the unusual event, did not attend with him.
The celebrity chef and author behind the N restaurant came out swinging, taking a thinly veiled swipe at Cuomo’s behavior.
“If you don’t invite the beautiful people and just invite powerful people, it’s all good,” he said.
But Sarah Jessica Parker picked up the moment, sending a three-letter shout out to Cuomo’s running mate, Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie, calling him a “dude.”
Fellow chef and TV personality Mario Batali, wearing a pinstripe suit, red tie and a glint in his eye, stared down Cuomo. “Go f*** yourself,” he muttered.
Batali, the co-host of the event, said the “drama” was overshadowing the new restaurant, which is their first new establishment in 16 years.
Dozens of local chefs stood together for a photo op with Lee before a cellist played some of N’s signature dishes, such as crispy squid in a white wine-tomato broth, and horse’s head with Meyer lemon mousse.
Before the party began, Catherine Ferguson Water, the wife of N owner Michael Bragdon, waited with Bragdon’s four-legged assistant. The work of art collection is made up of more than 5,000 white wooden cones called noches.
Business Insider’s Erin Foster tried on the white cone all night, revealing her dress was made from the same material.
“I’m going to have to have emergency surgery to remove it,” she added.
Foster partied with several other Vanity Fair contributors, including Michelle Guastavino of “The CW’s” “Jane the Virgin” and Brafman siblings including Blake and Eva.
The all-star crowd, including actors Neve Campbell, James Marsden, Richard E. Grant, Robert De Niro, Diane Kruger, Clive Owen, Ayelet Zurer, Christie Brinkley, Michael Douglas, Richard Gere, and Anna Deavere Smith, enjoyed fine cuisine from top restaurants including Michael White’s brasserie Danube.
The prestigious event attracted A-listers from various industries, like luxury players Acqua di Parma, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein.