I love being a wedding and event planner. I always get a rush watching my concepts and designs come together to the delight of my clients. But I must confess, sometimes it’s nice to switch gears and be a guest at someone else’s event. The pure joy of being a pampered guest…
Last week, Larisa and I were treated to an exceptional evening, thanks to Chris Brugler. Chris is The Challah King, but wait, there is more… Chris is also a passionate and accomplished chef and owner of Chris Brugler Catering in Beverly Hills, CA. Chris has recently perfected some new menu items and staged an intimate dinner party for a few lucky friends and event professionals in his home in Marina Del Rey. There was something mysterious and exciting about making our way past the elegant boats docked in the Marina, up the few flights of stairs of Chris’ condo building, and following the trail of a mouthwatering aroma all the way into Chris’ condo. Who would we meet? What would Chris serve?
Armed with a glass of perfectly chilled Proseco, we met the other guests and gathered around the kitchen island while Chris masterfully plated the appetizers — Seared mandarin orange crab cake with a coriander aioli and Stuffed crimini mushroom, chorizo, golden raisins, toasted almonds and crumbled feta. The combination of flavors and textures was incredible and our anticipation grew with everyone glancing at an elegantly set table, complete with the view of the Marina. By now, I felt as if we were attending Rocco’s Dinner Party!
Pairing food and wine is an art, but so is creating a mood and atmosphere where people feel relaxed, entertained and energized. Chris is clearly in his element when cooking and entertaining – his passion for food came through in his introduction of each course, his presentation and finally in the taste and smell. We were all having so much fun that it didn’t occur to us to snap a few images. We would have had to move fast because the plates were polished clean by each of us in record time.
Chris served a starter of Summer vine ripened tomato gazpacho, rustic croutons and basil oil. Then, the pièce de résistance – Red wine and crème de cases braised short ribs, served with roasted toy box tomatoes, fava beans, potato puree and bordelaise jus. Wine flowed, as we talked about our favorite travel destinations, the joys of raising children, the quirky and unusual events that we’ve done and our opinions of the latest celebrity weddings.
The dinner ended with Orange scented chocolate flourless cake served with a caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and mint. Another confession – I am not a dessert guy, especially when it comes to cake, but this dessert was exceptional. I could have eaten another whole serving, I think. By then, Natasha, Chris’ wife, came home after a long day at work and added her special touch and flavor to the evening. Next time, Chris, please make sure that Natasha can join us for dinner – it was so nice to meet her! I hope that there will be a next time…
What does it take to make your guests feel pampered? Here is a bit of wedding planning and newlywed advice – engage all their senses, make them feel special and important and surprise them with unexpected details, like Chris did with a gift for each couple, his signature Ghirardelli White Chocolate Challah.