Last night I had the pleasure of attending and documenting the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) meeting at The Art of the Event in Malden MA. Both are amazing organizations and seeing them all was a blast! I hadn't been to The Art of the Event's studio before and all I have to say is WOW! This company seriously rocks! Gayle and Arthur, the dynamic husband and wife team that founded and run AotE met and worked in the film industry before becoming event designers and their studio is big time eye candy for the creative type. I totally just wanted to start digging around to see all the cool sets and props they have in there inventory! Teaming up to host the ABC was Gourmet Caterers who Enna and I work with a lot and they of course served some amazing treats! If your an event planner for weddings, private parties, and/or corporate events make sure to get to know them. Here are a few of the details from the event...
I arrived in the studio this morning to a fun email from one of our 2012 brides, Alexandra, letting me know we were mentioned in todays Metro news paper! It's a great article with Abby Larson, founder and editor of Style Me Pretty that all brides getting married should read. Abby listed three picks for Boston wedding vendors that included Enna and I for her photography pick!! Also listed were our good friends Sarah True and Paper Moss. Enna and I have been listed in the SMP Little Black Book since it's beginning and love what Abby does for the industry. Just last night I was talking with wedding vendors about SMP and the incredible change I have seen in the personalization of weddings since Abby began writing. Congratulations Abby for the great article and we are honored and flattered to be mentioned!
One of my favorite assignments of 2011 was a self-assigned project - behind the scenes at the Heirloom Harvest Barn Supper on a lovely old farm in Stratham, New Hampshire. So I was delighted when one of these chefs, Evan Hennessey of Dover NH contacted me about his new restaurant which just opened last weekend. Stages One Washington is located on the 3rd floor of a renovated mill building, and it is a gem for locavores and diners from farther afield. They've already collected some wonderful reviews from Seacoast NH food critics! Chef Hennessey and his team have created a unique environment and experience for their guests - each weekend features a completely different menu, all uniquely themed and choreographed. Here are a couple of my favorite images from the first two shoots (for the "soft" opening serving a sumptuous dinner to family and friends). I adore witnessing the creative process in the kitchen:
This is one of my favorite shots: chef contemplating the next few weeks' menu drafts adjacent to a clock... 2 hours before first plate served in his dream restaurant.
Another really special aspect of this restaurant is the warm easy style Hennessey has with his staff. I have always been interested in collective/collaborative management styles, so I'm really enjoying seeing how the kitchen is organized and run. Here the chef demonstrates how to spherify iced tea for the evening's amuse bouche.
Dishwasher, first job, first day on the job:
There are 6 seats in the kitchen - in my opinion these are the best seats in the house. It is so much fun to watch the team compile each plate - when we eat here I am definitely going to be sure and reserve well in advance to have one of these prime spots!
One of the 5 courses served: an exquisite goat cheese ravioli sprinkled with pistachio dust, dehydrated green olives, and just-cut micro-greens grown on the kitchen windowsill. Yum!
This restaurant space is ideal for a wedding rehearsal dinner or private dinner party of up to 30 guests! It's also (in my humble opinion) a perfect spot for an exciting food-themed date night (hint hint... Matt Grazier!). The cooking techniques are innovative, but because much of the cooking is inspired by or includes familiar flavors this would be a fantastic way to introduce a non-foodie to the world of modernist culinary adventure. Chef Hennessey and his team also offer fine catering around Seacoast NH region under the name Flavor Concepts. We are definitely adding them to our list of recommended vendors for our wedding clients!
PS - this former Oregon barista was extremely delighted to discover coffee roasted by what one of the waitstaff told me is their local "nano-roaster"... in 7 words: Red Rover Coffee holds up against Stumptown. My family and friends out west may shrug when they read this (they take things like fine coffee at every food establishment for granted), but honestly this is the FIRST amazing cup of coffee I've ever had at a fine restaurant in New England.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to photograph the Heirloom Harvest Project, a joyful and delicious celebration of food made from locally harvested ingredients. This was just a fabulous event, and I hope that I can participate again next year! Here are just a handful of my favorites. I'm including a lightbox of all the pictures right here in this blog post (see below), but for those who like to tag and comment, I'm happy to share the galleries on both Google Plus and our Facebook page:
Congrats to all the chefs, farmers, masterminds, organizers, and volunteers on putting together such a special meal!!!
It was exciting and inspiring to watch all of the farmers, chefs, attendees, sponsors, and volunteers collaborate. Here are the credits for the event:
Josh and Jean Jennings, Meadow’s Mirth Jacques, Birch Hill Farm, Lee Renee and Jeff Cantara, New Roots Farm, Newmarket Chuck Cox and Family, Tuckaway, Lee Andre Cantelmo, Heron Pond, Laura Neale, Black Kettle, Alfred, ME Kate Donald, Stout Oak, Greenland Sofie Larsen, Applegard, N. Berwick, ME John Forti, Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth Maria Southworth, Madbury Suddhayu, Touching Earth, Kittery Luke, Brookford, Rollinsford Susan, White Gate Farm, Epping
Participating Chefs: Brandon Blethen, Robert’s Maine Grill, Kittery Lauren Crosby, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth Evan Hennessey, Flavor Concepts, Dover Robert Martin, Zampa, Epping Ted McCormack, Blue Moon Evolution, Exeter John Medlin, Popper’s Sausage Kitchen, Dover Mike Prete and Matt Greco, The Kitchen, Portsmouth Mariah Roberts, Beach Pea Baking Co., Kittery Mark Segal, The 100 Club, Portsmouth
Sponsors: Vermont Butter & Cheese Dole & Bailey Pete & Gerry’s Eggs EcoMovement M.S. Walker Farnum Hill Cider Flag Hill Winery Smuttynose Brewing Co. Throwback Brewery Exeter Rental
Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner Steering Committee: Briana Cribeyer, John Forti, Jean Jennings, Josh Jennings, Debra Kam, Denise Mallett, Evan Mallett Heirloom Harvest Project, Seacoast Eat Local and Slow Food Seacoast's Third Annual Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner, September 18, 2011 The Barn at Berry Hill and Meadow’s Mirth Farms, Stratham, New Hampshire