Memories of A Hamptons Happening

The chairs of the Hamptons’ leading culinary celebration look back on 12 years of raising funds for cancer research.


Chris Wragge, Marion Waxman, Laurie Schaffran and Dr. Samuel Waxman

For information on the 2017 event click here

The twelfth annual A Hamptons Happening scheduled for July 9, 2016 in Bridgehampton is shaping up to be the most exciting one ever. Formidable honorees, a bigger slate of top-tier restaurants, chefs and sponsors plus a very special anniversary make this year’s event a can’t-miss experience.

Slated to take place at the beautiful residence of Maria and Kenneth Fishel under a huge tent donated once again by Art Hamptons, A Hamptons Happening will pay homage to the founding of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation by Dr. Samuel Waxman. This benchmark will be showcased literally through a 40th Anniversary SWCRF cabana with an exhibit of key moments in the SWCRF history and figuratively in flourishes throughout the event that celebrate the strides made by the world’s top cancer researchers thanks to four decades of support from the Waxman Foundation.

The event will honor Sandra Lee, philanthropist, New York Times best-selling author, Emmy-winning television personality and breast cancer survivor; Jayma Cardoso, Founder of the Surf Lodge in Montauk; and Deirdre Quinn, CEO of the luxury fashion company Lafayette 148 New York. LDV Hospitality is the featured restaurant group and the Honorary Lead Chef Couple is Fernanda Capobianco, founder of Vegan Divas, journalist and cookbook author, and Francois Payard, pastry chef, restaurateur and author.

A Hamptons Happening has contributed significantly over the past 12 years to the SWCRF mission to eradicate cancer and event chairs Marion Waxman, Laurie Schaffran and Karen Amster-Young are celebrating its past victories while remaining determined to set a new fundraising record for the event of one million dollars.

Laurie, who is Secretary of the SWCRF Board of Directors, was introduced to the SWCRF after Dr. Waxman treated her late mother for colon cancer nearly 33 years ago. Laurie was impressed by the thoughtfulness and tenderness with which Dr. Waxman treated her mother and contacted the SWCRF to make a donation. After meeting with the SWCRF Board at the invitation of its then executive director, she was invited to join it.

Laurie Schaffran, Marion Waxman, Dena K. Weiner and Marcia Lavipour at the 2008 Hamptons Happening

Laurie recalls that the precursor to A Hamptons Happening was a cocktail party held in 2004 by longtime SWCRF supporter Marcia Lavipour at her Hamptons residence in appreciation to Dr. Waxman for treating her for cancer. The heartfelt cultivation gathering successfully elicited donations from guests and sparked the idea for a formalized fundraiser in the Hamptons. The SWCRF board asked Laurie to chair the event and Marion joined as co-chair. Both women have seen the event blossom into a major presence on the Hamptons calendar of summer benefits. Laurie credits event planner Linda Shapiro, proprietor of LBS Productions, with contributing to the growth through her dedication and efforts to build chef involvement and sponsorships.

“When we started it there weren’t a lot of food events,” Laurie says. “Now we have more competition but ours is the most elegant evening with the best collection of high-end chefs that are presented in such a beautiful, seductive way. It has really become a jewel in the crown of the summer experience in the Hamptons.”

Marion is gratified by how the event has drawn premier chefs such as Jean-Georges, Todd English and David Burke as featured chef honorees and continues to enjoy the support of fashion luminaries like St. John, Betsey Johnson and Lafayette 148 New York. On a personal note, she points out how the event brings together people with a desire to make a difference in the world.

“Two or three years ago, Chris Arlotta came over to me and said ‘I just want you to know that this was such a special evening and I’m at the point in my life where I would like to be involved in something as extraordinary as this. What could I do to help?’” Marion recalls. This initial meeting led to Chris’ integration into the SWCRF community of collaborators, both as a committee member for A Hamptons Happening and as a member of the SWCRF marketing committee.

A Hamptons Happening co-Chair Karen Amster-Young

Marketing and public relations executive Karen Amster-Young is a newcomer to the SWCRF family of collaborators who joined the Hamptons Happening committee last year and was invited to co-chair this year’s affair.

“I wanted to give back to something that was important and meaningful to me,” Karen says. “I wanted to be more selective about how and where I dedicated my expertise in PR and marketing and pro-bono time. Being a part of the Foundation has enabled me to meet some amazing, dedicated people and be a part of something much bigger that is impacting people's lives.” 

Karen says guests can expect to experience the biggest and best A Hamptons Happening so far. 

“I personally think the variety of chefs and this year's honorees bring this event to a new level. It doesn't hurt either that Jayma Cardoso, one of our honorees and owner of Surf Lodge, is bringing her resident DJ for the night!” 

The event chairs are very grateful to the committee members who generously donate their time and skills to help A Hamptons Happening raise funds for research. This year’s committee includes Erin Jennifer Woudsma as Auction Chair, Erica Linden-Fineberg as Journal Chair, Chris Arlotta and Mario Pecoraro, Tammy Caress, Diana Chudnoff, Becca Goldberg, Marcia Lavipour, Jessica Mackin, Pamela Morgan and Michael Trokel, Edward Sadovnik, Sarah Sarpolis, and Bettina and Spencer Waxman.

The event will showcase more than 40 of the top chefs, restaurants and food brands in New York City and the Hamptons.  CBS 2 News anchor Chris Wragge returns as the emcee and music is provided by DJ David Katz. The event sponsors include AmTrust Title formerly First Nationwide Title, Art Hamptons, Bespoke Real Estate, Champagne Taittinger, Hamptons Magazine, Jaguar Land Rover Southampton, Palm Bay International and The Independent.

Participating restaurants, chefs and spirits brands include: The Savory: 230 Elm and Back Bar Grille, Carol Ann Daly; 251 Lex, 273 Kitchen & 8 North Broadway, Constantine Kalandranis; Antico Noe; Arlotta Food Studio, Mario Pecoraro and Chris Arlotta; Bareburger, Misha Levin; Hamptons Jam, Joe Cipro; Creative Edge Parties, Carla Ruben; Culinaria Group, Greg Grossman; Delicatessen, Michael Ferraro; The East Hampton Grill, Endless Summer Group, Peter Ambrose; Esca, Dave Pasternack; Hurricane Grill & Wings, Lobster Grille, Randy Reiss; My Sister’s Chef, Emily Costa; Noah’s, Noah Schwartz; Old Stove Pub, George Gounelas; Union League Club, Russell Rosenberg; Saaz Indian Restaurant, Sameer Mohan; Seafood Shop, Paul Labue; Surf Lodge, Chef Chris Rendell; Tully’s Seafood Market, Gary Lattanzio. The Sweet: Nounos Creamery, John Belesis and Steven Ioannou; Edible Encores, Alissa Cohen; Erica’s Rugelach, Erica Kalick. Potable: Champagne Taittinger, Chopin Vodka, Hampton Coffee Company, Liqsshot, Mezcal Dona Sarita, Montauk Brewery Co., Montauk Hard Label Whiskey, Muddling Memories, Palm Bay International, Plain T Boutique Tea Company, Saratoga Water, Shannon Stiggins, Stroh Rum and Ubons Bloody Mary Mix.


Jean-Georges was the event's chef honoree in 2012
Fashion icon Ruth Finley, creator of Fashion Calendar, was honored in 2013
The 2013 Hamptons Happening honored Chef Todd English
Betsey Johnson was the fashion honoree in 2014
Chef David Burke was the chef honoree in 2014
The Waxmans with 2015 honoree Bobby Zarin, Jill Zarin and co-chairs Pamela Morgan and Michael Trokel
Sun Capital Partners co-CEO Marc Leder was honored in 2015
The St. John team celebrated their brand being honored at the 2015 event