If you follow me on social media, you may have seen some of these photos from a dinner I hosted last Sunday. It was my birthday but it was also a day to celebrate my friends in the hospitality industry.
For my special day, all I wanted was to sit at a table with other women that love food and hospitality as much as I do… eating food, serving food, making food, talking about food… all of it.
I hosted 12 women that are all either part of the hospitality industry or have a heart for hospitality. Restaurant owners, bar owners, bakers, bloggers, writers. It was a table full to the brim of talented women.
I had Chef Justin Box come in to prepare the meal. We had talked over the weeks about what the menu would be. I knew I wanted to serve Tate Farms beef and honey but I didn’t quite know how to incorporate both in a way that I felt really embraced the farm itself.
Here’s your wink…. I was scheduled to talk with him on the Monday before the dinner. That Saturday, Evan’s step mom brought over a stack of papers she had found in the house. The papers were old menus that Evan’s late mother, Nancy, had created when she was catering events and owned her own restaurant.
In that stack of papers was the most amazing menu for a fall dinner… planned by Evan’s late mother for a June rehearsal dinner in 1996. It included beef bourguignon, honey glazed carrots and her famous bread pudding. Another wink… I had already asked a friend to make me a simple amaretto cake for the dinner. My favorite. And also on Nancy’s menu.
The meal itself was perfection. The little cup you see represents the Vegetable/Crudite with Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Nancy’s menu. Everything else was Chef Justin’s choice… spicy crackers with a smoked salmon spread, bacon wrapped dates and pork terrine with pickled watermelon rind.
No one got a photo of the bread pudding and amaretto cake plated because we all ate it so fast! My friend Melissa did capture this though!
Evan served us (mask and gloves, of course). He and Justin made us feel so special and taken care of.
We began the dinner with a liturgical prayer that I heard on my visit to Camp Well. It quickly became my favorite way to begin a meal.
I love love love this photo of my best gal pal, Ashley, telling everyone about liturgical prayers. They are said all over the world as a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance.
I used my favorite cookbooks and tiny, vintage bud vases to line the table. These books mean so much to me. So many good stories in these books, so many good stories in the memories of collecting these bud vases.
I know this time is hard on everyone. So many uninvited things in our lives. Stress, worry, loss, guilt… we want to do all the right things but sometimes don’t even know what the right things are!
Our friends in hospitality need some love these days. A meal, a text, a note in the mail… a meal together where everyone feels safe and seen. We are missing our people. We are missing our gatherings.
I encourage you to find a way to connect with your friends soon. Find a way that feeds that part of your soul. Find a way that helps your friend feel seen and loved.
Happy Sunday, friends. Love your loves.