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Hundreds Gathered For A Tasting To Support Long Island Harvest At Coindre Hall Host by LI Pulse Magazine

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Coindre Hall

TV Host Cognac Wellerlane interviews Owner and Chef  Jose Fernandez from Sangria 71 Restaurant at at Benefit for Long Island Harvest At Coindre Hall Host by LI Pulse Magazine

TV Host Cognac Wellerlane poses for a photo-op at a Charity Benefit for Long Island Harvest At Coindre Hall Host by LI Pulse Magazine

Hundreds of supporters and  guests gathered together at the elegant Coindre Hall in Huntington Long Island on November 17, 2016,  in honor of Long Island Pulse’s Island Tasting, the event to support Island Harvest, Long island’s largest food rescue organization.

Long Island Pulse coordinated the event to raise funds and awareness for Island Harvest. 

Long Islanders came to give their support at Coindre Hall, to taste delicious offerings from over twenty of Long Island’s top restaurants and food, wine, and spirit vendors, as they bidded on luxury raffles throughout the evening. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Owner and Chef Jose Fernandez who donated the Spanish cuisine from Sangria 71 Restaurant.

During my interview, Mr. Fernandez revealed "Island Harvest does great things.  They donate food to food banks all over Long Island.  As a matter of fact we did their event last month and all the food that was left over from the event they were nice enough to collect and donate it to a food pantry the next morning...nothing goes to waste."

Born on a farm in the coastal province of Galicia, Spain, Rosendo and Jose Fernández spent their early years surrounded by fresh produce, farm-raised animals, and the simple, yet flavorful cooking of their mother, Sofia. As boys, they learned how to make delicious chorizo with their grandparents, played in sweet-smelling cornfields, and stomped on grapes during the wine harvest. It is these early childhood moments and memories that resulted in a lifelong devotion to bringing together food, family and friends.

In 1978, Rosendo and Jose immigrated to the United States at the ages of 5 and 6. When their father, Rosendo Sr., became the chef at El Rincon De España in Greenwich Village, the two started spending their weekends there, helping out around the kitchen and the dining room.

Rosendo decided to take employment at the popular Café Español, located in the heart of Greenwich Village 1976.

His devotion  took him from bussing tables to eventually taking over the reigns of the renowned establishment. Rosendo’s love of cooking traditional Spanish cuisine, his hands-on approach to the restaurant and hospitality industry and his dedication to the best service have led to a loyal following from his loyal customers.

In 2003, Rosendo took over the helm of Café Español’s second location on Carmine Street. He followed that up with the opening of Bamboleo, a lively Mexican eatery, which is located on the corner of Bleecker and Sullivan streets in Manhattan.

While his sibling Jose began out in restaurants, too, a fascination with the travel and airline industries eventually led him to open ESPA Cargo in 1994. Jose satisfied his culinary desires by smoking his own chorizos at home,  establishing his own wine and cooking delicious dishes for his family, colleagues, friends and loved ones.

In 2010, Jose and Rosendo partnered up to introduce Paella To Go NYC, cooking and selling fresh paellas on the spot at NYC street festivals to thousands of hungry, satisfied customers. This fast and casual approach to making paellas, tortillas, empanadas as well as other Spanish staples was an instant success for the brothers and it was the first Spanish Paella concept in the history of Little Italy’s annual Feast of San Gennaro.

Three years later, Jose and Rosendo have realized their dream of opening a Spanish restaurant close to the Queens neighborhood where they grew up and near the Long Island area where they currently reside. That dream is Sangria 71, a new restaurant serving savory meals and tasty drinks to guests craving culinary delights, seeking good times or celebrating momentous occasions.

For more information about Sangria 71 please visit

Island Harvest was created in 1992 by one woman with a cooler, a station wagon, and a strong desire to help people in need. Linda Breitstone, our founder, was infuriated that food from a local convenience store was being thrown away at the end of the day – with a safe house for women and children down the street. In response, she established Island Harvest and our mission, “to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island.”

Since those early days, Island Harvest has become Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization. Our volunteers and staff now deliver millions of pounds of good, surplus food – much of which might otherwise go to waste – to a network of 570 Long Island-based food pantries, soup kitchens and other non-profit organization that offer feeding services for those in need. By doing this, we provide a vital supply of food to counter the sharply rising problem of hunger here.

By aggressively recruiting more businesses and members of the public to donate food and pioneering innovative distribution methods, we have increased the volume of food we pick up and deliver by 2.5 times since 2002. Since our inception, we have delivered 71 million pounds of food, supplementing close to 66 million meals.

Hunger awareness and education have long been a part of our programs, as they develop and strengthen key allies in our community.

In recent years, we have begun to attack hunger in targeted and strategic ways. The most visible example of this is our Weekend Backpack Feeding Program. Piloted in 2006, this initiative provides 35,000+ packs of nutritious food to schoolchildren who rely on school lunches and breakfasts and may not receive solid meals on weekends.

For more information on how to support, donate and participate please visit

Keep reading Cognac's Corner Magazine for the very best in Charity Galas and red carpet events.  

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Cognac Wellerlane

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