NEW YORK (PIX11) — Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito gave his support to City Harvest in their fight against food insecurity. He said, 20 years ago, restaurants didn’t “rescue food.”

When restaurants cooked too much, most of it ended up in the trash. Now, DiSpirito added, City Harvest collects the food and redistributes it to people in need.

The annual City Harvest Fundraiser returned to Cipriani’s, honoring restaurateur Eric Ripert and his wife Sandra, both steadfast supporters for the past 25 years. They also did their part in helping frontline workers and those in need at the height of the pandemic.

Ripert said, during the pandemic, his team cooked meals with the help of City Harvest. Those meals were delivered to doctors and nurses out of state. Shelters also received food from those efforts.

City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens said rescuing and delivering great food is essential for New Yorkers in need. In the last two years, she noted the need for food has really surged.

“Food insecurity surged,” she said, “and so the work is more important than ever.”

Another celebrity chef, Anne Burrell, said wasted food is a “travesty” in a country like the United States, where there is an abundant amount of wealth.

“What City Harvest does is sort of solve two problems with one effort,” Burrell added. “I mean, how noble.”

Actor Benjamin Bratt was invited to host the evening’s events, a role he was happy to take on. He said the mission of City Harvest is fundamental.

Learn more about the efforts of City Harvest in the video above.