A fancy restaurant event is not news. Neither is a fashion show, really. But put the two together, add some celebs like James and Suzy Cameron, and you’ve got yourself something.
Chef and restaurant owner Joshua Smith knows. That’s why he jumped at the chance to host Prophetik designer Jeff Garner’s combination cocktail party/silent auction/sit-down dinner/fashion show at his place, The Standard at The Smith House in Nashville. As the clouds rolled in and thunderstorms began to threaten, Smith and his crew moved quickly to keep things warm and tasty for the sizable crowd that gathered that Friday evening in late April 2010.
The event was the brainchild of Jeff Garner, acclaimed clothing designer, and creator of the Prophetik “Wearable Philosophy” clothing line, and Suzy Amis Cameron. The evening promised a cocktail reception with Garner and the Camerons, an auction of sustainable clothing created by college students, and traditional Southern cuisine. (Proceeds went to MUSE, a non-profit elementary school started by the Camerons.)
“We started preparing weeks in advance for this,” says maitre d’ Jaime Camara. “We made a game plan, then kept a positive attitude that nothing would go wrong.” With an auction in one part of the building, dinner in another, and an entire street shut down for the red carpet entrance, this was no small feat.
But Smith believes that all the hard work pays off in the end, because it builds the reputation of the restaurant, and makes it “a place for people to talk about,” according to Camara. “Everyone at The Standard comes from a rich food background, and they all use their skills to create recipes, which are then interpreted by the kitchen staff.”
After a cocktail hour and silent auction, patrons lucky enough to have tickets to the sit-down dinner were escorted to the dining room.
MENU OF THE EVENING
Iceberg Wedge (sadly, skipped due to impending bad weather)
Fresh Florida Grouper, pan seared, white wine & aioli
Center Cut Tenderloin with red wine/cognac reduction
Frontera organic wines
Bananas Foster, tableside (also skipped; see Iceberg Wedge)
According to Camara, the crab bisque recipe is a “cross match between Tennessee and South Carolina.” They prepare it using she-crab lump meat, chicken stock, heavy cream, and dry sherry. To complete the presentation, the soup is topped with crostini and smoked gouda cheese, with a dollop of lump meat.
In truly traditional Southern style, the grouper was served on a bed of cannellini beans (here in the South, they’re just referred to as “white beans”).
The fashion show was impressive, and almost the exact moment it concluded, the rain began to fall on cue. Which goes to show, all the impeccable timing, planning and staffing still cannot compete with that all-important component: weather.