It was 5:04pm when I received the text notifying me of the location for this year’s Diner en Blanc. We were to report to Gate 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Wait . . . the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium? Perfect!! I was less than 15 minutes away enjoying drinks with my blogging partner, Rochelle Wharton of Culinary Vegg Out. We would be part of the digital media covering Diner en Blanc. We left P.S. 404 to head to the festivities. As we drove up to the stadium, all I could see was a courtyard engulfed in a sea of white. As each bus allowed guests to disembark, it became wave after wave of white descending upon the stadium. Have you ever seen a sea of white created by people? It was a magnificent sight.
After parking we make our way to gate 2, where we obtained media passes for ourselves and our guests, Paris Coburn and Dionna Collins. From there we were guided in the direction of the media lounge. Walking through the gates there were people bustling to and fro claiming their space in the courtyard, setting up their tables and chairs. This view of the white sea resembled choppy waters before a storm. So much movement!! Some people pulled wagons while others toted bags. Some were very creative with the way they transported all their Diner en Blanc needs. In the midst of all this choppy water, I began to see where the vision was heading. During the setup there was music played by a live orchestra and cirque style performances throughout the venue. Once at the media lounge I got to finally meet the face behind the emails, Ms. Lisa Fisher. As one of the three hosts for Diner en Blanc Atlanta, it was great to be able to put a face to a name.
The media lounge was wonderful, decked out in all white sofas, white tables and white chairs. We had our own bar and a lovely spread for us to nosh on. We were able to network with other media outlets and reacquaint with others met at previous events. And then it was time to go to work. Time to share through my social media platforms all things Diner en Blanc. When I looked out into the courtyard again that once choppy sea of white had simmersed to a lull with light ripples caused by a few late comers. It was beautiful to see how the table settings came together with the people seated all around dressed in white. The sight was brilliant!
To signify the start of Diner en Blanc there is the traditional waving of the napkins. You can catch a glimpse of it here. The party was now under way. There was a live band and a male vocalist, not sure of their name. I somehow missed it amongst all of the fun being had. There was a guitarist who performed with some of the aerialists of Liquid Sky Entertainment on stage with him. It was great. Then DJ Grace Lamour took to rocking the crowd. People danced the night away. There were plenty of photo ops available for attendees. There were two beautiful white Mercedes-Benz cars, a photo booth with the Diner en Blanc backdrop, the stadium with the great Falcon Sculpture and let’s not forget the lighted letters of Diner en Blanc for people to choose from. The sea of white was taken a step further later in the night when another tradition took place, the lighting of sparklers. Here is a small glimpse of the stars above the sea, a grand sight to see. Let me stop rambling on and share some of the pictures from the night.
All told Diner en Blanc was a breathtaking event. I was sad to see it come to an end but I am super excited thinking about the 2018 edition. Diner en Blanc Atlanta was made possible by the diligent efforts of our gracious hosts Lisa Fisher, Tina DeRenzis and Helen Mitchell, who produced a memorable event. Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a wonderful location. Special thanks to Diner en Blanc sponsors Lanson Champagne and Evian-Bedoit who provided the drink options for the night. And let’s not forget all the people who attended. Without them how would I have been able to experience such a stunning sea of white. I look forward to what this team has to offer everyone for the 2018 Diner en Blanc Atlanta.
I made so many memories that night. So many that I wouldn’t know where to start or end. I hope this post makes you want to participate next year. Stay in the know for Diner en Blanc Atlanta 2018 at atlanta.dinerenblanc.com. Now go forward and make new memories.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. Here’s a video of inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium
P.S.S. Watermarked pictures were captured by Averi Washington for Diner en Blanc Atlanta all others are C.I.P owned
What’s the first rule of fight club? Yeah, if I hadn’t already shared that I had a birthday in July I would be telling my age with that reference. That question comes from a 1999 movie titled, you guessed it . . . Fight Club. What I’m talking about is different kind of fight club. Dare I share it? In the movie, the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club. Well since I’m all about breaking rules here and there, I think I will tell you all about Culinary Fight Club.
Culinary Fight Club is all about bragging rights. Who gets to say they won? Who gets to say they are the best amongst their peers. Wait . . . hold up: I have a confession to make. I didn’t actually go to Culinary Fight Club. What I attended was Culinary Fight Fest. A gathering that happens when you have 6-8 winners of previous Culinary Fight Club matchups and put them up against each other. In this arena the winners compete to see who will be the best of the best, top dog among champions The talent was strong in the room. There was a little bit of everything to try during the Tasters’ Choice round. Each contestant presented a dish that you were able to vote on. To cast your vote, you dropped one of the 4 tokens you received on entry into their voting box. There was no limit on how you cast your vote. If you liked them a lot you could drop all 4 in. After this initial tasting, the top four were chosen. From there the top 4 go on to compete in the final round. They are given 30 minutes and a mystery box. Brasstown Beef was the sponsor for the mystery boxes. So you guessed it . . . the boxes had beef in them. To keep the chefs on their toes they were unmarked cuts of beef, so you really had to know your stuff to compete.
The chefs came prepared to battle. They were provided with pantry items, kitchen equipment and any necessary tools to cook. However many chose to still bring things to help put them ahead of their competition. Things ranged from an old school pressure cooker all the way to river rocks. The top 4 presented wonderful dishes to be judged. But we all know the rule. There can only be one winner . . . one top dog . . . and that honor went to Josh Reeves of the River Club, located in Suwanee, GA. He walked away with a check, some cool knives and most importantly the right to brag as the winner of Culinary Fight Fest.
As always, I got to meet some pretty cool people, run into some of the usual suspects and of course make memories. Hey would you come out to support if The Chef In Pearls competed? Comment and let me know if you’d be a part of my cheering squad if I decided to join the Culinary Fight Club competition.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
I am blessed to have lived a childhood where I did not have to worry about hunger. That doesn’t mean there were no hard times in my family’s life. It just means my Mom had a nifty way of making sure as kids we never knew about it. I managed to raise 3 kids and none of them experienced hunger. However, that is not the case for so many children, 1 out of 6 kids do not have a decent breakfast before school. WIthout breakfast they are more likely to miss school, less likely to get better grades and less likely to graduate high school. It is said that 13 million children suffer from hunger. This is where No Kid Hungry comes into play. The goal is to raise awareness of this epidemic happening in one of the richest countries in the world. They also help to raise money to help fill the gap in areas where this is happening.
This past weekend I had the honor of serving as media coverage for the Give Me Five . . . No Kid Hungry Fundraiser. 5 featured chefs and 5 sommeliers crafted a 5 course meal all in the name of raising awareness and money. This was the 11th year for the fundraiser. Attending this event was an “extra happy” event for me. It’s was a chance for me to play dress up, eat good food and do my part to share all of the going ons during the event. It was a win-win situation all around for me. The atmosphere was totally different from the event I had gone to earlier that day. You can read about my time at Culinary Fight Club right here.
The event started off with a cocktail reception and passed appetizers, where entertainment was provided by a live harpist. All great events start with bubbly and this one did not disappoint. Within the next hour we were ushered into the ballroom that was so exquisite. There was a Jazz Trio playing wonderful music as we found our seats. The concept of the event had the chefs and the sommeliers to create wonderful pairings for each course. And they definitely achieved that goal. Now I could sit here and write about each course but I honestly feel like the pictures will speak volumes. Believe me when I say the only way you are not drawn in by the pictures would be because you are blind. One of the coolest thing was that they held a live auction during dinner. It was very exciting to hear the auctioneer roll those numbers off his tongue urging and pulling people into outbidding one another, all in the name of a good case.
Give Me Five was a wonderful event but if you are like me and were moved even the slightest by the statics I shared, you may want to make a donation. You have several ways you can help out. You can make a one time donation, make a monthly contribution or find a local restaurant or event that supports the cause and participate through them. Feel free to click here and check out the options yourself. Let’s work together to help make fond morning memories for some needy children.
Until next time
~The Chef In Pearls
Who isn’t drawn to a bit of mystery and intrigue? I cannot deny that I love a little mystery here and there. It makes life a little more interesting. So when given the chance to visit a speak easy located in downtown Atlanta, I was game. I was told to head to The Red Phone Booth. I don’t know if any of you have ever watched any old gangsta movies. You know, the ones where in order to get into the club you had to know the secret password. Well The Red Phone Booth is just like that. It’s open to the public. You just have to know someone who has gone before or has membership to give you the password. Thank God for knowing people! When you arrive you step inside a red phone booth, similar to the ones you used to see scattered throughout London. You dial in the secret code and voila the door opens for you.
Once the door opens, you enter into a dimly lit room with vignettes of leather clad sofas and chairs. There were large coffee tables nestled amongst them, giving the room a very manly feel. As you step a little further in, you see a full bar along the back of the room, where bartenders are busy crafting specialty drinks for the patrons. Then you notice the smell of smoke in the air, but not caused by trendy hookahs. This is the scent of cigars, slow burning being enjoyed by guests. Yes, this not your average bar or lounge. It’s more. It’s an experience.
During the visit, there was the chance to sample drinks while noshing on Beef Carpaccio and Oysters on the Half Shell. Can I make a confession? For all of the cooking and such I have done, I have never eaten an oyster on the half shell. I mean I’d eat Oysters Rockefeller all day long but an actual raw oyster . . . never. Well not until The Red Phone Booth. You know what? I actually liked it. Not bad for a first.
I would recommend The Red Phone Booth to anyone who doesn’t want to do the everyday bar scene. It’s full of history, great drinks, and a wonderful atmosphere. While you are there make sure to check out Amalfi’s located above the speak easy. The restaurant boasts two wood burning ovens that reach temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees. The heat allows them to bake pizza in less than a minute’s time. I really enjoyed their pizza crust. Let me know what you think about the pizza if you check them out.
Here are two places you can head out to and make memories. Do think you are up for a little mystery and intrigue?
Until next time.
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. The images in the Red Phone Booth are dimly lit because I wanted you to get a feel for the atmosphere…Who am I kidding? I couldn’t find the flash on my camera. I now know where it is.
Have you ever gone to a conference and after just an hour wondered why you were there? I have. You were sold on the wealth of knowledge you would gain by attending and it just never happened. That was not the case at the WE (Women Entrepreneurs) Rock Conference. They set out for females to be able to look at themselves and their businesses differently. And they achieved that.
They provided a place were women in business could come together, learn from each other, network, aspire one another and gain the knowledge they need to take themselves & their businesses to the next level.
Their guest speakers included keynote speakers Jai Stone, of Jai Stone ULTD & Ronnie Tyler, of Tyler New Media LLC and a special inspirational message from Judge Lauren Lakes, of Paternity Court. Their panelists shared information about social media, finances, writing books, answering your calling, making profit on purpose and being able to live a limitless life. There was no way to leave their not motivated and charged up about yourself and your business.
This was the 4th year for WE Rock and they already have plans for a bigger & better event for 2015. They’re taking it on tour so look for them in your city. Visit their website www.WeRockNational.com to find out cities and dates and how you can be apart of the WERock Nation.
Special thanks to the co-founders Melisa Alaba and Edeline Dryden for having the foresight to create such and awesome event.