Sharing Our Love Through Food

by Michelle Altman and Josh Stern

From the moment we landed on doing our wedding at Wave Hill with Great Performances, we would convene for dinner and discuss work and this crazy thing coming up…our wedding! For years Josh has been a member of a CSA in Brooklyn. Coming together and figuring out the best use of whatever was in season was not only fun, but also helped us eat our way through the wedding planning. Whittling down our invite list while figuring out what to do with carrots, leeks and asparagus. Preparing for our combined bachelor/bachelorette weekend while chomping many lettuces, chard, herbs. And sitting there biting fingernails in the final countdown with an overflowing fridge of bursting tomatoes.


We still use cooking and food as a time to reconnect, laugh, and talk through whatever might be weighing on us. And as the wedding planning vacuum has taken hold, planning and cooking meals has become a daily way to share our love for each other. As the work day winds down, the ‘what are you thinking for dinner?’ text is a mainstay. Sometimes it’s, ‘What are you in the mood for?’ or, ‘I’m home first so I can start din!’ or  ‘Are you eating rice this week?’ but no matter what starts the conversation, thinking about food always means thinking about each other.


We pretty naturally split cooking, both of us love the process and the result of making something for each other, to share. A lot of what makes meals memorable and full of love is putting in that extra step or homemade touch. As the winter rages on, we have been making a lot of homemade broth from veggie scraps we accumulate during the week — a tip Josh picked up from the cookbook Sylvia’s Table by Liz Neumark. It’s a really sustainable and thoughtful way to add depth to a meal. The process reminds us of our wedding, actually, not because we had soup (we didn’t) but because there was no team more thoughtful in their small, medium, and big touches than Great Performances. It’s very easy to get caught up thinking about how others will experience your wedding while planning, but Great Performances made sure WE had the best time at our wedding. Not once was a drink missing from our hands or a grumble in our stomachs. And it didn’t stop at the food! After a tropical storm swept in and left Michelle with a wet train (oh no!), one of Great Performances’ magical fairies (aka staff) swooped in and helped pin the dress into a perfect bustle, while her sweet GP sidekicks poured us champagne and brought us trays with two of every appetizer. Never did we imagine or expect that when we chose the delicious seared tuna appetizer, that GP would be serving it to us while simultaneously jerry-rigging Michelle’s wedding dress into a gorgeous, totally incognito bustle. Miraculous. Incredible. Unforgettable. Are we talking about the tuna? The staff? It’s hard to tell!!! We barely know…


We wanted the food at our wedding to celebrate our love as well as share it. From the minute people walked in the door, they were greeted with a bright, sweet beverage. How would the contrasting pink of the beverage look against the background of the venue? We were floored that GP seemed genuinely as interested as we were to talk about a detail as minute as this. But they did! To celebrate Michelle’s Persian ethnicity, the team set up a Persian tea table stocked with dried fruits, nuts, and Persian cookies. Great Performances made sure the table looked and felt exactly as we envisioned and it’s something we’ll never forget. Sending our family and friends off at the end of the night with VERY full bellies was also something we wanted, and Great Performances had the genius idea to pull out their classic soft pretzel machine and hand those out, as well as Greenberg’s Black and White cookies, to each guest on their way to their cars. They cared as much as we did about our wedding, which seems hard to believe because we cared a LOT.


Even though the wedding is over, we’re still showing our care, love, and compassion for each other through food. For Valentine’s Day, we plan to stay in and recreate one of our favorite restaurant dishes at the moment, the Green Curry Mussels from Greenpoint Fish and Lobster (huge shoutout to them). Instead of going to the restaurant, we’ll pick up mussels from their fish market instead! Even though we could easily spend this special night at one of their dimly-lit-to-perfection high top tables, it’s much more appealing to us to clean and steam the mussels together over a glass of wine and the new André 300 flute album because it’s something we can do for each other with each other. There’s little else outside of food that provides this opportunity as often or as richly as food does. Happy Valentine’s!


By Liz Neumark

1992 was a big year.

It was the year we moved into our new kitchen on the corner of Spring & Hudson in historic the Printing District; a transition that ushered in a period of growth and excitement for GP.  Our ground floor lease was $12/square foot. Our new landlord, Trinity Real Estate, welcomed us and it was the beginning of a decades long and deep relationship. 

It was the year my second child was born.  Katie arrived 2 days after the start of Spring, after about 2 short hours of labor.  A young person in a rush.  (She hasn’t slowed down since.)

1992 was the year we signed our first exclusive contract with a cultural institution: Wave Hill, New York’s most beautiful, yet least known, botanical garden. 

It was a match made in heaven!  We fell in love with all 28 acres of historic houses, gardens, scenic pathways, greenhouses and magnificent trees.  When thinking about a garden, one imagines it is most beautiful in peak season, fully in bloom surrounded by lush summer greens.  We learned to appreciate the exquisite beauty of all four seasons, each so distinctive and unique.

I brought my kids to Wave Hill countless weekends as it became our NYC backyard.  Where else could children run around barefoot in the grass or wander off to explore a secret garden or count the koi in the Aquatic Gardens. (I knew the café food would be delicious!)  We built snowmen, learned the names of the first flowers of spring, collected leaves, rain under sprinklers and enjoyed the family art projects.

We have been operating the café and catering events on site for 30 years.  My love for the gardens and the Wave Hill mission of sustainability, inclusion and education continues to grow as Wave Hill continues to evolve.  Although the pandemic shuttered Wave Hill in March 2020, it was one of the first cultural institutions to reopen that summer, welcoming New Yorkers starved for space and nature to its grounds.

It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since we received the call “We selected you!”.  Wave Hill has set the standards by which we conduct our partnerships; with deep mutual respect, never taking relationships for granted, a shared commitment to continued investment and innovation – and a celebration of mission, life and our city.  


By Liz Neumark

We have a passion for serving others. There is nothing predictable (think weather), simple (think complex pre-event emotions) or easy (have you driven a truck in NYC?) for our sales and planning teams. But every day, they get it right! 

With thanksgiving in mind, we want to share some of the wonderful notes we receive from our clients. It is a tribute to our GP family but also a reminder of how powerful the written note of thanks can be.

Wedding, Wave Hill, The Bronx, NY

About the Event

  • Event: Wedding
  • Location: Wave Hill
  • GP Planners: Amanda DiUglio, Emily Schreiber

From the Client

Amanda!!! We can’t thank you enough for everything you and the GP team did to make our wedding so perfect on Saturday. 

Like…REALLY can’t thank you enough.

At our brunch yesterday morning, the GP food and service was the talk of the town! Everyone was raving about everything they ate (cookie pizza obviously included!!!) and made special note of how amazing the service was and how wonderful the staff was. One of our friends said it was the safest and most “back to normal” she’s felt in 2 years. She said they’d turned down numerous events over the last few months but felt confident we’d have a plan in place for making everyone feel good. She said your team went above and beyond her expectations. 

Did I mention people loved the food???? 😂😍 Literally everyone was raving about everything from the fritters and the taco station to the pretzel bread/baguette (um yes! I love pretzels and didn’t know this was gonna be a thing!) to the steak to the incredible perfectly melted-ness but not too melted of the ice cream. (This is an excellent thing, I say that as an ice cream connoisseur.) People were like, “Wait isn’t wedding food supposed to be like..not good??” At our wedding, it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

We really just are amazed at how incredible everything was. The room was electric and people were so happy and we know it’s because they felt SAFE and happy and fittingly full! 

We really are just wowed. I want to also give a HUGE shoutout to Tasha who was cool as a cucumber and a wonderful human being. I didn’t realize the GP bridal attendant would be so key to our day (I mean, delivering Diet Cokes is obviously key to the day…but I didn’t realize she would be with me the whole night!!), and I believe it’s a HUGELY marketable part of the GP package. Grateful to Tasha for carrying my chapstick (critical!), helping me with my Saks-disaster of a bustle and sourcing granulated sugar when I got the hiccups! (It DID work, for what it’s worth!) 

If I can be a reference for you guys or a website testimony or anything moving forward, I would be ecstatic to be. I’m on a list of 500 women in media/tech/entertainment and plan to send around your email and the GP info when I do a write up of how amazing my wedding vendors were. 

Wedding, Glenmere Mansion, Hudson Valley, New York

About the Event

  • Event: Wedding
  • Location: Glenmere Mansion
  • GP Planners: Amanda DiUglio, Emily Schreiber

From the Client

You beat me to it! 

Our experience with Great Performances under your leadership was impeccably professional and delightful from start to finish. 

GP was the shining light among vendors amidst the roller coaster trajectory of the pandemic. 

The quality of your food, service and presentation, second to none. 

[We] are grateful to you for helping to make our daughter and son-in-law’s celebration at Glenmere so delicious, beautiful and memorable. 

You haven’t seen the last of us!

Conference, The Glasshouse, Manhattan, New York

About the Event

  • Event: Technology Conference
  • Location: The Glasshouse
  • GP Planners: Jill Cole, Sara VanWeichen

From the Client

Thank you to you, Forrest, Ken and the rest of the GP staff for all of your help and support leading up to and during the event.

I’m not sure how the event would have turned out if you weren’t one of our partners as we took on the Glasshouse as a venue. You helped us navigate so much from what you shared and who knows how much more was done behind the scenes. It’s so comforting to know that catering is something you never have to worry about when we do our events with you. 

The food and service was top notch as always. Gotta love it when your CEO tells you he gets so many compliments on the food and how we always have the best food at our events. 

Again, thank you. I absolutely love working with you all and I hope you pass this along to your bosses! Or if I should share it directly, let me know. I know the past 1.75 years haven’t been the easiest in your industry, but I’m so glad you are all still here. 

Good luck with your upcoming weddings!

From the Planner

It has been an absolute pleasure to work together on the [event] this week and throughout the planning process. Your immaculate attention to detail, your poise under pressure, and your creative collaboration are qualities we respect and appreciate so much. Thank you for your time, your heart, and for the laughs along the way (we had to laugh sometimes, didn’t we??).


Again, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! Best of luck with your busy wedding weekend (and to your GP team catering another [one of our events] this evening!). We can’t wait to see more of you and your work very soon.

Nonprofit Gala, Brooklyn, New York

About the Event

  • Event: Nonprofit Gala
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • GP Planners: Jill Cole, Sara VanWeichen

From the Client

Thank you so much for following up – I am still pretty comatose right now, but there is pretty much one thing that I’m happy to reflect on, and that is the greatness of Great Performances.

Everything last week was perfect. We got SO many comments from guests about how good the food was, and how much of it there was… we were never ever concerned about the transition from seated dinner to cocktail and whether people would be full… it was obvious that they were! I also must commend you on the incredible work ethic of your team. Your staff is really astonishing, from the top on down. I remarked to Forrest at some point (and then later Susan) that what your staff really embodies is “hustle” – that’s what you want to see of every single person at an event, and there is not one person on your team who is without purpose, focus, and speed. It’s something that other vendors and event managers should envy. And you know, truly, that I adore Mack and was ecstatic to have him there. He is such a special, hard working person, and I feel lucky to get to work with him, Forrest, and you two.

So long short, everyone was very happy. Thank you so much again for everything!!!


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for couples looking to share the start of their new lives together with friends and family. Over the past year, the team at Great Performances has made it a goal to make it possible – and safe – for couples to host their dream wedding and to share it both in person and virtually with friends and family. We were thrilled to plan and cater E&E’s wedding at Wave Hill.  It was truly an incredible event with gorgeous views of the Palisades and the Hudson River, socially distanced celebrating, and virtual attendees for those who were not able to attend in person.  


If you are starting to plan your wedding, contact us. We look forward to learning all about you and your dream wedding. 


By Great Performances

Wedding at Wave Hill
Jackie and Bill‘s beautiful garden party wedding at Wave Hill Photo: ©Joseph Lin
Wedding at Wave Hill
Wave Hill’s scenery made for incredible photos for Jackie and Bill’s Riverdale wedding. Photo: ©Joseph Lin

Every wedding tells a beautiful story. They’re often seen as both a conclusion to a committed relationship and as a new beginning or a blank page ready to be written on. Some wedding stories consist of more surprising twists and turns than others, and that’s what we have in the Becker’s romantic tale.

Jackie Helcer and Bill Becker met by chance, as many couples do, and through school, the start of their respective careers, and a long-distance relationship, they would somehow end up together in a beautiful, timeless moment, exchanging their vows under a warm September sun along the Hudson.

Let’s go back to how it all began. The bride was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil and grew up in Miami. The groom was stationed in Miami while in the Coast Guard. It was there that the two met on a night out all the way back in 2012.

The two felt a connection, and a relationship blossomed, but Jackie eventually moved to the northeast for her medical residency and fellowship, and Bill went on to graduate school in Virginia. Separated by hundreds of miles, they both committed themselves to the relationship, and promised to make it work.

In October 2014, after a long-distance courtship, he surprised her with news that he had accepted a job as a Vice President at Master Card in the New York area, where she lived.

He moved up to New York and the two moved into a Manhattan apartment together.

In February 2016, Bill planned a surprise trip to celebrate Jackie’s residency match; she knew they were going somewhere warm, but didn’t know the exact destination until they got to the airport. They were going to Martinique! 

Light and airy appetizers were designed by the Great Performances culinary team to reflect the feel of this sunset wedding at Wave Hill. Photo: ©Joseph Lin
The appetizers were created to echo the feeling of this lovely wedding venue in the Bronx Photo: ©Joseph Lin

When they arrived, Bill had planned an early (4am!!!) hike up a volcano with the intent of proposing at the summit during sunrise. But the weather had other plans…the two hiked for hours in the dark, then just as the sun started rising, a serious storm came in, bringing strong winds and blinding sideways rain. Needless to say, the proposal didn’t happen and they made their way back down to the base. Down below, the sun was shining and weather was beautiful, so they changed and headed to the beach.

Jackie and Bill were exhausted from the hike, but laughed off the whole thing. They ended up finding a beautiful, private beach and Bill suggested setting up the camera to take a photo. Before Jackie had any idea what was happening, Bill got down on one knee and asked her to marry him (of course, she said “Yes”!) Part two of the surprise was that after Martinique, they made a surprise stop in Miami where Jackie’s mom and sister live. Bill had made a reservation at the restaurant where they had their first date so they could celebrate with her family. Then for the final act, when they flew back to NYC, Bill’s parents picked them up at the airport. They had planned a whole surprise engagement brunch with their NYC friends and family. It was a whirlwind of celebrations! 

The two began planning for their big day a couple months later. Jackie and Bill had always wanted an outdoor, sunset wedding. They looked at a multitude of venues around New York City, and ultimately chose Wave Hill.

Set along rolling, wooded hills along the Hudson River in the western Bronx, Wave Hill provides a picturesque backdrop to weddings, with the setting sun casting a palette of warm colors from across the river and onto the grounds.

Once the couple strolled through the property and took in the views, they immediately knew it was the place for their special day. Since Great Performances is the exclusive caterer for Wave Hill, Jackie was excited because her vision for the catering lined up perfectly with what Great Performances is all about – delicious, healthy, seasonal food presented with flawless attention to detail. Being imaginative was also key, and Jackie felt at ease once she began speaking with Amanda and Emily about the menu and the design.

Jackie loved the creativity and energy with which the GP team approached the project. She didn’t want a cookie-cutter wedding, and Great Performances’ wedding team delivered perfectly.

Jackie and Bill celebrating their union at Wave Hill. Photo: ©Joseph Lin
Wedding at Wave Hill
Wave Hill was the perfect backdrop for Jackie and Bill’s celebration of love. Photo: ©Joseph Lin

The wedding took place on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The occasion was attended by approximately 110 guests – friends and family from all over.

Although the day started somewhat overcast, as the 5:45 pm ceremony drew close, the clouds parted as if on cue, and the warm September sun shown brightly over the grounds and guests, providing the stunning sunset wedding they had wished for!

The reception went off without a hitch and the guests loved the food. Apetizers included BBQ short ribs, Devils on Horseback (with bacon, dates, and almonds), coconut shrimp, and miso-glazed black bass bites.

Also served were raw Wellfleet & Blue Point oysters on the half shell, leg of lamb and tri-tip beef on the skewer, hand-made cavatelli, and Goffle Road Coq Au Vin. The guests raved about the menu selections and enjoyed everything from start to finish.

Jackie and Bill spent their honeymoon in Thailand a few weeks later, returned to New York, and began their adventure of a new life together.


What have the newlyweds been up to since that beautiful September day in the Bronx?

After the honeymoon, the pair moved to Bayside, Queens, and have lived there since.

In July of this year, though, they’re expecting a daughter, and are also planning a move from Bayside to Larchmont in Westchester County, where they are buying a home to raise their her in. They’ll also continue to work at their current jobs – he at Master Card in Westchester and she at Mount Sinai in Manhattan (after a maternity leave).

Bill’s parents live in the Rockaways, and his sister, her husband and their two children live in Brooklyn, so they all look forward to spending time together in the New York area and watching their extended family grow together.

Jackie says she’s recommended Great Performances to her friends. “The entire experience was stress-free and easy, from start to finish.” She adds, “Both Amanda and Emily were the absolute best, providing guidance, support, and a wonderful, creative energy. I gave them some of my ideas, and they just ran with them, exceeding my expectations!”

Photo: ©Joseph Lin


Contact us, we will help you make it happen


Have you ever wondered what a wedding would look like if it were the joining of a computer programmer for Etsy and a freelance writer/blogger? Well, wonder no more. These New York nuptials are the crème de la crème “all-out gorgeous” an explosion of beautiful fall details and maybe our new favorite wedding to date. Of course, no wedding is complete without the fabulous vendors behind the scenes and this wedding is boasting some mega-heavy hitters. Robert Sukrachand lent his hand to the picture-perfect images while Hatch Creative Studio created a masterpiece of floral proportions. THE Sylvia Weinstock made one extremely gorgeous cake and the paper goods were tackled by Hello!Lucky AND Ceci New York. All in all, total perfection.

“Eli and I saw our wedding as a public expression of who we are as a couple. We chose to have a traditional Jewish ceremony but spent a lot of time making it our own. We added our own vows and wrote our own translations for the seven blessings. The intimacy of the ceremony was incredibly special for us and brought all our guests together beautifully. It was especially important to me that I looked and felt like myself when I walked down the aisle. My wedding dress took a while to find, but as soon as I tried this one on, I was crying. It was the most gorgeous second skin I’ve ever worn. When Eli saw me that day, I know that he saw the woman he chose to marry. We tried to bring in as many DIY touches as possible, though we discovered that takes a lot of time! Among the highlights: My brother made our wooden ring box by hand” he even sewed the tiny pillow inside; our chuppah was my mother’s beautiful handiwork, and included 64 sunrays (for our song, “When I’m 64”); I made the bridesmaid necklaces, with each of our birthstones wrapped into the back clasp; Eli sang to me, backed by the band and his college acapella group (easily one of my favorite moments of the night); and our wedding was entirely gluten-free and delectable to boot!

“I imagine that every bride has a favorite idea for her wedding, and mine was the mailboxes (Barb’s gorgeous creation!) filled with personal notes that we wrote for each of our guests. Writing those notes was a wonderful reminder of why each person was there with us that night and we loved watching how thrilled the guests were when they saw them. The energy at the reception was electric from start to finish. We felt so warmly surrounded by all our family and friends. At the end of the night, I knew we’d thrown an amazing party when all of our guests started screaming for an encore! As we were driving back to the hotel, totally exhausted, we could not stop talking about the day. We wanted so much to keep the moment, to just hold it and have it for one second longer. I feel so blessed to have the memory, to have a wonderful husband, family, and friends, and to have so much love in my life.”

And a note from the Groom. “I just want to throw in a few additional details. One, the band was off the CHAIN. They were tight as hell and had obvious passion and joy while performing. Everyone was dancing even my other computer programmer friends (which is, like, a feat). Two, my suit was made from LASERS. Yes, it’s true! Alton Lane measures you with a super-futuristic laser booth and creates a suit that fits like a glove. They also are patient with the fashion-inept. Two thumbs up. Three, some other handmade touches include the Save the Dates (taken by my co-worker), the amazing website (made by Nadia and myself, which includes a custom-built online RSVP thing), and a recording booth that guests could use to leave us a fun voice message (assembled by me and Nadia’s dad, and complete with mad fun prompt signs, made by a friend of Nadia’s). Four, if you’re reading this and are planning for your wedding, know that all of those ridiculous nights when you and your spouse-to-be are wringing your hands and bandying about questions like “should we use plum or sage for the ribbons on the gift bags?” actually do pay off. It was such a mind-bending pleasure to see all of the details that Nadia and I had agonized overcome together into a coherent event that was much more than the sum of its parts. I hope that viewing our pictures is inspiring or useful to you in some way.”