Sunday, January 26, 2014

Silverlake Conservatory of Music Annual Fundraiser

Not only does the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Annual Fundraiser raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support programs, operations and scholarships for low income children to learn and appreciate music, but way back in 2009, it was also the first 100 person catering event that we had ever done which you can see here. So we have a serious soft spot for this event which we get asked to do each year, and we were all extremely pumped up that this time around the plated dinner was for 500 people (and tickets were two grand a pop). Yoooaaaawww!

This year the gala was held in the backyard of The Paramour, the mysterious castle-like fortress tucked away in the hipster hills of Silverlake. A tall platform for the dinner tables was constructed which gave the majestic impression for guests to feel as if they were as tall as the gigantic trees surrounding the property.

We felt really proud to contribute to the auction by donating a dinner in The Salon. Please understand very famous people bid on these items for this event, and very famous people donate the auction items... 

So to stand out, I insisted that Matt attach (tape) our recent NY Times press piece to the sign (chalkboard) announcing the dinner. Everything was very rock-n-roll at this event and very high brow. In the cool grandeur of The Paramour, the auction felt like a very elite and edgy gallery hosting large scale pieces with starting bids of 25k. Ya know…. then there was us so we needed that NY Times endorsement to jump up and shout like the nerdy new kid on the playground, "Bid on me, bid on me! I know I'm just food but you gotta eat guys, come on!"

It was Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers who founded Silverlake Conservatory so he performs and donates to this non-profit and recruits other musical icons to do the same. This evening's entertainment included special guest Neil Young. Allow me to reiterate… Neil Young would be performing this evening for just 350 people in a very fancy tree house basically. Not bad, not bad.

We ordered a kitchen built, conveyed the game plan, and got to cooking for this feast.

A very precise rhythm is required for pulling off a restaurant-like dinner of this size. When you don't open cans, there is a significant amount of prep to complete, so that's where we start.

In addition to our kitchen outside, we were allowed to use a small room to prep and construct appetizers in. Our tried and true little home convection ovens and friers purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond with one of those 20% off coupons worked just fine for this part, thank you. 


Fried Chicken & Waffles with Blueberry Maple Compote

Vegan Chickpea & Fennel Samosas

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onion & Bruschetta

Vegan Falafel with Romesco & Tzatziki

As guests considered auction items and snacked on appetizers, we continued with our dinner prep.

Above are some of the components of our Crostini Stations. So pretty right? Typically we design these as a buffet like hereFor this dinner, however, we placed them on the table with the salad course. 

There were plates of crackers, flat breads, focaccia and garlic bread to accompany this course.

And then as The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed, we plated dinner on platters to be served family style. 

We set up a line with stations for each entree and side so that there was a designed synchronicity to put out every platter hot and pretty. Our front of house people ensured that each platter gets dropped at it's prospective table quickly and with grace.

Niman Ranch Beef Brisket with Porcini Mushrooms, Baby Carrots & Scallions

Alaskan Halibut with Pumpkin Puree, Charred Cauliflower Romanesco, Melted Red Wine Vinegar Onions, Shaved Pickled Cauliflower & Beet Greens

Salt Baked Celery Root with Roasted Baby Parsnips, Sautéed Baby Celery, Marinated Black Truffle & Crispy Rutabaga Strips

Sautéed Pole & Shelling Beans with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary

Dessert was easy comfort sweets to pick at before the finale...

Photos: Jennifer Emerling

Ahhhh, and then there was Neil Young. He did a lot of chattering, asking what was for dessert, confessed how he disliked tuning guitars and then he talked about how he wished Lou Reed was still around. Everyone nodded. It was just him, a harmonica and a guitar. He sang nine songs, one being a Bob Dylan cover. Talk about mesmerizing, wow. Then dessert was passed around, guests put in their final auction bids, polished off their wine, we packed up and that was a wrap.  

1 comment:

jan said...

Wow! You guys are amazing! Please tell me you'll have a recipe book soon. Some of us live just to far away to be able to partake of your yummy food!

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