DNC Rock Starsadmin DNC
Needless to say, our plate was full. As a women-owned, environmentally conscious caterer, Something Classic had cornered the catering market during the Democratic National Convention. We were poised to serve 25,000 guests with style over a five day sprint. We needed a battle plan. Our staff was trained, silver polished and we had enough wine to intoxicate all of South Charlotte. A posse of FDA inspectors stood at attention sticking their thermometers into every batch of caviar and pimento cheese that left our kitchen . . . took another temp when we arrived, too. Our catering team was ready to maneuver the background checks, SWAT teams with machine guns, security frisks, bomb sweeps and throngs of bicycle battalions each believing that we were a threat to national security. We were equipped with kosher meals, vegan options, polka dotted ties, flowers, flashy linens, hand-washing sinks and dangerous kitchen knives. Reporters from the NY Times, Washington Post, Fox News and the usual suspects of local reporters were requesting interviews, behind the scenes reports and any insider information on guests and menus that we could pass along. Typical catering craziness transpired a few days before: last minute guest count changes, credit card declines, searches for a thousand champagne flutes and emails on VIP etiquette for Senators, Vice Presidents and celebrities: no autographs or pictures please. We were all rock stars by this time.
All our party plans were set until that Tuesday when she called. I didn't know whether to call her Ms. Waters or Alice. Yes, Alice Waters was calling me to discuss a last minute change of menu for one of our clients. I was talking to the Mother of American food, the creator of Edible Schoolyard and the backbone of the Slow Food movement which celebrates artisanal food traditions. Heck, she inspired Michelle Obama's backyard White House garden. And yes, Alice Waters was the inspiration for the Mother Earth Group, Something Classic, Halcyon, Fern and Community Café and how we conduct our business. My world stopped, tears streamed down my face and I was focused on her every word. Her voice was gentle and nurturing, yet she wanted my thoughts on what wondrous local food varieties I could bring to the table . . . with her blessing.
Here I thought that these twenty-some years of grand food events had prepped me to take on thousands of guests, millions of canapés and serve a myriad of mason jar moonshine cocktails. But that was not the case. My preparation was really about discovering what has been important to me this whole time: honest, farm-fresh ingredients prepared simply with an honest heart. As this was only one of many events, our Executive Chef Blake Hartwick focused solely on this menu for almost five hundred VIPs. They didn't know how lucky they really were. This was the one party and menu that really had import for our team. We stepped back from the chaos of the world and enjoyed the kindered spirit of Alice.
By the way, I called her Ms. Waters.