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.
Above are some of the components of our Crostini Stations. So pretty right? Typically we design these as a buffet like here. For 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.
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.