Happy Friday my loves! Oh, how I’ve missed you! Are you ready to kick start this weekend? I’ve been ready since the last – ha! Speaking of which, I had the MOST enjoyable experience on Saturday. If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know I fancy a well-planned event. Well, my dear friend Camille celebrated her 50th birthday in the most creative fashion. A resident foodie with an appreciation for the finer things in life, she hosted a dinner party for this milestone at her new abode. However, Camille’s housewarming/birthday party had an innovative twist. She hired New Orleans native Chef Brad Turner, better known as the Grill Sergeant, to prepare the meal and entertain guests. Usually, personal chefs are not embedded with the attendees, but Chef Turner was 100 percent interactive (and turned up) with guests! That shouldn’t have been any surprise. I loved watching his cooking show, “The Grill Sergeant,” which aired on The Pentagon Channel (produced by the Department of Defense) a few years ago. It was a delightful mix of Cajun cuisine, a military jazz band and southern lexicon! However, there’s nothing quite like this in person! The guests and I were amazed at his ability to simultaneously cook, teach culinary tips and sing – yes, sing. With sounds filling the atmosphere paired with delicious aromas, Chef Turner performed a concert of sorts while cooking southern comfort food. A fan of Luther Vandross, guests sang along as he belted out, “Think about you!”
What about the menu? Well, upon arriving I immediately enjoyed hors d’oeuvres such as Florentine quiche, chicken bruchetta, roasted mushrooms, and jambalya stuffed jalapeno peppers. MMM! For the main course we moved on to grilled chicken with “Shut Yo Mouth” sauce, crab croquettes, and roasted spring vegetables. I must make special mention of the “Shut Yo Mouth” sauce which brimmed with special flavors including some sort of peach marmalade. MMMM! It definitely kept my mouth shut..from chewing! Ha! Chef Turner explained that similar to Italian cooking, food doesn’t need a billion ingredients to taste great. Boy, was he correct! It was an absolutely wonderful dinner party from top to bottom and Camille was a most fab host! She looked so gorge in her spring-hued color blocked body con dress accessorized with a pearl statement necklace!
You guys know my affection for the art of gift giving, so I searched for what I felt would be the perfect gift for her new home. I presented Camille with the book “Domino: The Book of Decorating,” which was penned by the editors of Domino Magazine to inspire readers room by room with style ideas. It’s a classic go-to for creating a beautiful crib! I found this treasure at one of my favorite boutiques in DC -“Salt and Sundry.” Located inside of the revitalized Union Market (which showcases artisans and food vendors), it reminds me of a mix of Anthropologie, West Elm and an old school country store. The owner, Amanda McClement, is always very helpful, sweet and innovative with design…but, she is a story for another day. Amanda helped me with the “first layer of gift wrap” on the book before I finished with adding ribbons and a sparkly text gift bag. The finishing touch was a little card by Bella Pilar who I had the pleasure of meeting during New York Fashion Week in February. Her delightful card collection can be found at Papyrus. She is one of my most favorite illustrators. Much like Chef Turner’s belief that only a few ingredients are needed for delicious food, a little thought with gifting goes a long way and that begins with the presentation. Enjoy something wondrous this weekend!
To book the amazing Chef Brad Turner contact his manager Bernard Carter at 443-362-0267
Be sure to follow him at @grillsergeant7 on Twitter and Instagram
Note: Camille’s bday/housewarming dinner party was a girlfriend’s reunion, too – yay
GROUP PHOTO: awesome writer/producers Alicia, Camille and Mary
NEXT PHOTO: I’m with the uber talented Afro-Pop singing sensation http://www.tolumidemusic.com/
LAST PHOTO: With the gifted Bella Pilar at the Lincoln Center in NYC
I'm a media strategist, fashion fan and whimsical event planner. For years, I've been "reporting" from fashion shows and fabulous events to my loved one out of pure joy. Unbeknowest to me in February 2012 my sister started kristysamone.com with photos and letters I'd sent her from New York Fashion Week. She said, "I think you need a blog!" LOL! I've been trying keep us with this and life ever since:) Thanks so much for reading!View all KristySamone posts.