It was a night of firsts for nearly all of us and what a splendid night it was.
My upcoming birthday seemed like a good excuse to gather friends to celebrate, with a twist. Not to celebrate me but another friend!
An opportunity came my way, it was like the stars aligned (I like to think it was the blue moon welcoming us into August). The opportunity came from a friend, Chef Tim.
I interviewed Chef Timothy Twiford for an episode of Pure Food for Thought on The People Chronicles. Chef Tim has been the Executive Chef at the Crowne Plaza for the past 17 years. He’s all business, or is he? You need to pay attention to this one! His plate is full but his hands and wit are quick. His passion for preparing meals to feed the soul and please the palate are evident with each bite-full.
We recently crossed paths and got to talking food and his Chef Tim’s Table. I had just spent a whirlwind of day with a friend who was still filling my thoughts. Chef made an offer which I had to share with my friend in mind. I told him about Heather’s battle with leukemia, he became animated.
Chef has started something and he’s excited to share it. He would like to give his chef’s table for the friends or family of a cancer patient on a regular basis. It was all so perfect!
This was Heather’s “first.” Her first time with cancer and “first time having a friend throw me a beautiful dinner party – especially with flowers under glass and rose petals washed three times.” (Heather can’t be in the company of pollen/mold carrying flowers which she otherwise loves.)
Chef Tim got the ball rolling by hosting us with Heather as the guest of honor. Everything had to be just right for the limited number of friends I could gather. Laughter, as a theme, for this girls night out meant leaving our spouses at home so we could let out hair down but still doll up for this unique dining experience. The intention was to create a beautiful memory.
The key to this night out was both the concept of Chef Tim’s table and keeping the element of surprise! No one knew our destination or who else would be expected. Each guest was told what time dinner would be served but that they would be notified 2 hours prior as to where they should be.
Tracy shared her “first.” She said it was her “first invitation to a ‘birthday celebration’ where the birthday girl was the one throwing the surprise instead of the other way around.” I’ll share hostess tips on how to host a memorable dinner party in a separate post.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.” Einstein
I’ll speak for the majority of us and say it was the first time we experienced dining out while being tucked into the heart of a chef’s kitchen. The large wooden table table is in a cozy room with two glass walls, a hand-stenciled wall and a fourth wall made from recycled wood pallets. As we laughed, chatted and toasted Chef Timothy Twiford and Sous Chef Rachid Boumrah prepared a seven course meal within easy eyesight.
The 7 courses went like this…
Burratta Cheese || Tomato || Strawberries 3 ways || Balsamic Pearls || Black Peppercorn Parm || Micro Greens
Poached Orange Roughy || Miso || Bok Choy || Broccoli
Seared Duck* || Hummus || Arugula Olive Oil || CousCous || Pita Bread
*This was Phil’s “first.” It was his first time eating duck. He liked it. It was probably the first time he was the only dude at a girls night out, I’m guessing.
Lobster Au Gratin
Cornbread || Smoked Rotisserie Chicken || Peach BBQ || Smoked Pineapple Chili Lime Salsa
New York Sirloin* || Maple Sweet Potatoes || Poached Asparagus || Grilled Zucchini || Squash
* My first for the night was trying a shrimp. World travelled Chef John (visiting with Chef Tim) prepared the shrimp for me (I don’t eat beef).
Pineapple || Coconut Cake
Marnell summed up the experience at Chef Tim’s table pretty darn well when I asked for her “first” for the night.
“The entire experience, sitting at a ‘chefs table’, being seated within a restaurant kitchen, the cheeses on the first plate, the balsamic pearls, were all first for me. I think the entirety of the experience was at once as unexpected as it was amazing. The care that went into each detail of the setting (you), the company, the meal, and the table itself were all so meaningful. The passion that showed so obviously in Chef Tim not only for his food, but for his community shone in every aspect of the evening. To call what we had last night simply a meal is so very insufficient.”
Marnell may have also dropped an expletive she said she reserves for use one or two times a year. This was one of those times.
This shared night was more than a meal and that’s what a meal with loved ones should be. Celebrating Heather at Chef’s Tim’s table took the experience to a whole other level. This is the way to gather friends. Make the time to do this. There is nothing in this for me to tell you to connect with Chef Tim to arrange a memorable meal. You will be treated to thoughtful attention, wonderful dishes prepared with precise attention to detail.
Don’t muck it up, stop making excuses to find the time! This kind of memory is made to last.
Now take a moment and consider being a marrow donor. Follow this link to Team Be The Match: Swab for Heather. If you don’t meet the physical qualifications you can donate to help cover the costs to test and qualify those who may be a match for someone! Dan and I did it. You can too! There is also a bio about my fabulous friend Heather! Maybe you’ll be inspired the way she inspires us all.