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.
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.
BRISKET POT ROAST WITH PORCINI MUSHROOMS
Niman Ranch Beef Brisket with Porcini Mushrooms, Baby Carrots & Scallions
PLANCHA GRILLED HALIBUT WITH PUMPKIN
Alaskan Halibut with Pumpkin Puree, Charred Cauliflower Romanesco, Melted Red Wine Vinegar Onions, Shaved Pickled Cauliflower & Beet Greens
VEGAN SALT BAKED CELERY ROOT ROAST
Salt Baked Celery Root with Roasted Baby Parsnips, Sautéed Baby Celery, Marinated Black Truffle & Crispy Rutabaga Strips
VEGAN ROOT VEGETABLE MELANGE
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.