[Private journal entry written on Sunday, October 14, 2012]
So . . . last night was the big “Top Chef” event in City #2 . . . it was a fundraiser for the local child advocacy center.
After getting dressed up in the nicest clothes I have (which are not so very fancy, but fancy enough), I got in my car and headed out of our neighborhood. About two blocks from the house, I realized that I had not brought any business cards with me.
Normally, I carry a big ole’ canvas bag that serves as my “purse” and that contains everything I could possibly need during the course of a typical day of teaching piano lessons. But, for this event, I was carrying a dainty little black evening bag . . .
The main reason I was attending this event was so I could generate some contacts within the world of child abuse prevention. So, having business cards would be important.
I turned around and headed back to the house . . . went back inside and pulled some cards from my big canvas bag . . . and got back on the road . . .
The event’s cocktail “hour” was scheduled to go from 5:00 to 6:30pm. I know enough about social events such as this to know attendees are expected to be fashionably late. So, I aimed to arrive about halfway through the cocktail “hour”. My aim was quite accurate as I made it to the venue at 5:45.
The check-in desk was located just inside the main entrance. I went through the check-in process and was given the number of the table assigned to the guests of Annette and her husband . . . it was table #1. It seems that table #1 would be pretty easy to find, but it still took me quite a while to locate it. I eventually did find it . . .
When I found the table, there were already two people sitting at the table. I introduced myself. Then, I selected a chair and asked if anyone was sitting in that chair. They hesitantly said that no one was yet sitting there. They seemed surprised when I sat down with them . . .
I asked them if they were there as guests of Annette’s family. They said no, they were guests of the Johnsons . . .
Hmmmm . . . very interesting.
I questioned the seating arrangement, but they seemed as clueless about the logistics as I was. So, we decided we would all sit tight until someone else came along who could help us become less clueless. Besides, they were really nice people . . . it was a pleasure to converse with them.
As the conversation progressed, I learned that some of the members of their party (but not them) were the keynote speakers for the event. Oh, how neat!
A little after 6:00, some more members of their party showed up, including the keynote speakers. The speakers introduced themselves as Tom and Michelle (husband and wife), and their college-aged daughter, Liz. They all were very polite to me, although they seemed very surprised that I was planning to sit with them. They said they thought they had a whole table to themselves . . . but, whatever . . .
Then, I thought to ask them if they had gone through the check-in process, which would give them their table assignment . . . oh, no . . . they hadn’t known they needed to do that. They simply had sat down at one of the tables near the stage.
Oh! That explains things!
I offered to walk with them to the check-in area so they could find out their table assignment and so I could confirm mine. They accepted my offer, and that’s how we discovered I was at the correct table and they were supposed be a few tables over.
We headed back to the table and I helped them move all their stuff to their assigned table. The lady who had been at my table when I arrived was not in good health and was using a walker and oxygen; so, they needed a little help with moving her to the new table. I was happy to help.
As we were moving them, I light-heartedly commented that I was sad to be kicking them off my table since I enjoyed their company so much! They responded in kind.
Their moving left me by myself; no one else had yet shown up at my table. Annette and her husband had not yet shown up . . . they were assigned to the table next to mine, and their table was still empty. Annette had told me earlier that she would be in briefings right before the event (since she was one of the four judges), so I was not surprised her table was empty at that point in time.
I decided to use the quiet time to peruse the event program . . .
The keynotes speakers (the ones I had just met) were a family who had made use of the child advocacy center when the daughter, Liz, had disclosed to her parents that she had been sexually abused. They were speaking about the experience and what the advocacy center had meant to them.
Liz is a senior at the local university and is pursuing a career in art therapy. She wants to work specifically with abused and neglected children. The dad is a firefighter in the area and the mom works at one of the local child advocacy centers.
Other speakers included two local radio personalities who are very outspoken advocates for child abuse prevention programs. They do a lot of fundraising on the radio for related causes. (On a tangent note, they are from the radio station to which I listen exclusively. And, the backside of that radio station’s headquarters is almost adjacent to the backside of the building that houses my piano studio. From my studio, I can look out over the railroad tracks and see their back parking lot. I’ve never met the two guys, but I would be able to see all the comings and goings that occur over there if I cared to watch.)
Two whole pages of the program were dedicated to the menus of the various chefs and their sponsoring restaurants and catering companies. The menus were impressive, to say the least. The chefs had to incorporate a “secret ingredient” into their menu, but they were not told what that ingredient was until a few days before the event. The program stated that the secret ingredient was coffee . . .
In addition to the main course menus, there were appetizers and desserts. The appetizers were garlic bread and buffalo wings. The desserts included various flavors of cheesecake, chocolate creampuffs, raspberry-filled creampuffs, and cannoli’s.
These were the main course menus:
Chef/Vendor #1 (Oskar Blues):
Cappuccino Smoked Leg o Lamb with Silky Parsnip Potatoes, Red Pepper Jam, Minted Mostarda and Arugula Pesto
“Red White and Blue” Slow Cooked Prime Rib Club Steak with Collard Greens, Grilled Bread, Shitake Mushroom Coffee Infused Red Eyed Gravy and Maytag Blue Cheese Cream
Green Chili & Chicken served with Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate and Almond Mole, Cotija Cheese and Fall Vegetable and Tomatillo Salsa
Sweet and Savory Yorkshire pudding – Prime Rib Rendering Soufflé with a Cinnamon and Sugar Batter, finished with Coffee Gelato and Hazelnut Chantilly Cream
Chef/Vendor #2 (Nordy’s):
Ribeye and Chorizo Meatballs
Coffee and Chocolate Chicken Mole Tostadas
Coffee and Chocolate a la Taza
Chef/Vendor #3 (Tavern):
Chicken, Corn and Roast Green Chili Chowder
Roast Lamb and Arugula Salad with Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich with Bourdon Glazed Dell Mushrooms
Chef/Vendor #4 (Coyote’s):
Oven Roasted Prime Rib on Toasted Crostini with Wasabit Goat Cheese and Mango-Arugula salad
Blue Corn Tostada topped with Lamb Confit, Blackberry Jam and Coffee Yogurt Crema
Shredded Chicken and Fois Gras Tamale with Lobster Cream and Fresh Chive
Chef/Vendor #5 (University Catering):
Pumpkin Spice Lamb Latte
Red Chile Chicken Salad with Tomato, Cilantro, Onion and Nopales Pico in Red Tortilla Shell
Coffee and Chili Rubbed Beef Rib on a Mini Bun with Pepperjack Cheese and Chipotle Mayo
[Continued in the next post . . . ]