I got a call a few weeks ago from Mr Shaun Hicks asking if I’d like to participate in a fundraiser for the Bissell Centre that he was putting together. It was called Too Many Chefs and was to feature twelve of the top chefs in the city. Pairings for each course were to be chosen by local bartenders and sommeliers. All I had to do was to put together a couple of wine pairings for a couple of dishes. Of course I said,”yes!”
I looked at the menu and decided which wines would be my dream wines for pairing with the dishes I was assigned. I emailed my friends Brett Norrie and Christine Masciangelo to see if they might want to donate my wines and to my delight, like I did, they both said, “yes!”
For the record we paired Bianco Porticello from Castellaro with Ben Staley’s (Alder Room) Butternut Squash, Pine Nuts & Koji. For Will Kotowicz’ (Meuwly’s) Pork Liver, Hazelnut, Apple, Smoked Milk we had Etna Rosso from Pietrodolce.
Over the next weeks I gathered the wines. I was thinking that I’d probably have to pour the wines and maybe, at most, say a few words about them. But no.
As soon as I arrived at the restaurant, Shaun started outlining how the night was going to go. We had to host, serve, fill water glasses and clear all the courses. All twelve of them. “Okay”, I thought, “I can do that”. Or could I? I’m notoriously bad with trays and table service terrifies me. Sure. I’m okay behind a bar but table service? I’m just not that good.
Before I could turn tail and run, the guests were arriving and everyone was pitching in. It was organized chaos behind the scenes, but as the night progressed it was more like an intricate ballet with every person there pulling for one another.
I watched in awe as the most respected chefs in town worked the pass for each other, making sure each dish that went out was perfect. The room warmed up and it was a raucous good time. It was inspiring.
Ticket sales and silent auction items raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 for the Bissell Centre.
Enough cannot be said for the crew at Wishbone. They made the whole thing run like a well oiled machine, and ensured that every person there knew they were appreciated. It was a privilege to be there.
Now the only question is, “How do we top it next year?”