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
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.
We all can remember “the firsts” of so many things in life. I can remember the first boy I kissed. The first time I was allowed to wear high heels. The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner by myself. All firsts and all a little scary. But I took chances and got through them, mastering some more than others. As I become older, I still experience firsts. This past Saturday, I experienced a first that scared and saddened me deeply. This was the first time in 4 years that I cancelled one of my events. I did it quietly. Removing the event from the ticketing page I created and then refunding money to those already registered. I never made a formal announcement. I still thanked those who notified me they would not be able to attend as if everything was still a go. My family, closest friends and supporters knew. Each one trying their best to comfort me but the reality was it was a door that needed to be closed. Yeah, a really bummer.
My ladies lunch series came to life out of a need for me to get back into the kitchen. I had gone through a dark period in my life where cooking became something I avoided. I went from the mom that made everything from scratch to the Chef Boyardee-can opening-instant potato making-no more Sunday dinner making-I used to be a chef kind of cook.. It was hard for me to get out of that place and the lunch series helped me to re-embrace one of my loves. What started as a Mother’s Day lunch grew into a personalized therapy plan for me, something to soothe my soul. I looked forward to creating new menu ideas and fun ways of presenting food to my ever growing guest list. I always wanted everyone to walk away, not just full with food, but full with life from the interactions and connections they made while attending. I wanted everyone to walk away with gift bags and a desire to return and share in the fellowship the next time. The fact of the matter is the Ladies Lunch was successful as it served its purpose. I am back in the kitchen now. I am back to enjoying the kitchen as my place of peace. I am at a place where I want to share my knowledge with others and have fun doing it. Last year, I created the Exclusive Party of One as an avenue to do so. I will be focusing more of my time on educating and speaking about food and cooking as well as the importance it plays in the lives we lead. So much comes about because of food and the kitchen and I look forward to the mark I will make in this area.
So with a heavy heart I must say goodbye to the C.I.P. Ladies Lunch series and open my arms to today’s opportunities and ventures and those to come.
I’ll end with a quote from The Queendom, “Queen, keep your chin up. All is not lost. Sometimes you have to lose to gain.” I have abundant memories from all of those events and I will cherish them as I do of others. So please go forward today and make a memory, especially one in the kitchen. Until next time.
~The Chef In Pearls
Yep, you read that right. I am one of the newest YP Insider member. What is that you ask? Well, we are a group of individuals (mostly bloggers) hand selected to do reviews on businesses in the local Atlanta area. We get to have first hand experiences brought to us by the Yellow Pages and share our views on them. We write about everything from the local car detailing services to even the best place to have plastic surgery done. We have you covered in the review department on whatever you may be interested in.
Last night as apart of the YP Insiders, I got to attend an event at The Watershed. It’s a local Atlanta restaurant that serves “Local, seasonal, soulful dishes inspired by Southern tradition and prepared with present day artistry.” You can find out more about them here. We had an opportunity to take part in small bites, wines and beer; all while networking. We even got a chance to meet Chef Zeb Stevens, the man behind the food.. Nothing better than getting to meet the person creating what you’re eating. He’s been with The Watershed family for a little over 18 months. He prides himself on bringing local and seasonal foods to the tables at The Watershed, while trying to keep within the southern feel of the menu. I love that he chose to do fried boneless, skinless thighs as opposed to the chicken breasts. We all know there’s more flavor in those thighs.
I look forward to other great events as a YP Insider. Being able to meeting other Insiders and saying my piece about businesses in and around the metro Atlanta area. So check out the reviews on the YP app or visit the site, you just might read one I’ve written. And when you find a moment go make some memories over at The Watershed. Let me know what you think.
~The Chef In Pearls
Conversations can be so strong especially when truth is being spoken. That’s what I felt took place during Cocktails & Conversations with Angie Stone, presented by Impact Magazine. She seemed to be sharing all of herself with all of us. I learned so much about her that I had not known before. Things like she was a member of what history has down as the first female rap group, The Sequence. Or how she suffered from sarcoidosis and diabetes . The pain she felt when being photographed from the neck up because she was a plus sized woman in an industry that didn’t hide it’s desire for smaller performers. Yet through it all she still pressed on.
In addition to Angie Stone, Tunisha Brown of Impact Magazine held conversations with Demetria McKinney. She’s an actress and singer known for her works with Tyler Perry and one of the newer cast members of Real Housewives of Atlanta. She shared with us the love of her life, Roger Bobb. And how hard it was for her to keep that relationship quiet when all she wanted to do was scream it from the rafters.
Tunisha also chatted with Bee Wade, make-up artist and blogger. She managed to be named blogger of the year and appear in Essence Magazine more than a dozen times. All while raising two boys and taking care of her husband, who had been diagnosed with a disease that at one point left him paralyzed. But even dealing with all that she still managed to one of the best in her field.
What I learned from this evening of conversations wasthat even when life seems to be getting you down you got to push through if you really want it.