Thomas Keller was on hand to shake hands and pose for pictures, but I have to admit that Chef de Cuisine Rory Herrmann was looking pretty good and kind of stole the show. His eyes are so dreamy. Look out Ludo!
As they did at their opening event, the restaurant offered guests a behind-the-scenes tour of various stations, including the kitchens and bakery. Jorian Hill’s wine was poured, along with a number of others and two sparkling wines, including Chandon. Many guests preferred sparkling water, making it one of the least drink-heavy events I have ever attended. The main dining room offered charcuterie and Artisinal cheese stations. Popular selections were the White cheddar and Pâté de Campagne.
The kitchen offered French specialties, many of which were familiar, but as Herrmann put it, “elevated.” Two of my favorite doots were the Bœuf Bourgignon on whipped potatoes, and the famous BLT’s (Bacon, Arugula & Truffle sandwiches). I have to say though, the top bite of the night for me was the tart topped with artichoke hearts.
In the bakery, guests enjoyed helping shape the restaurant’s signature epi baguettes. The bakery area was also a wonderland of baked sweets such as Miniature Lemon Tarts, Bouchons (their signature cork-shaped brownies) and one of my favorite, TKOs, a takeoff on Oreos. The red velvet cupcakes were not only moist and delicious, but coated in gold sprinkles. I asked if they used real gold flakes, and was disappointed when the answer was no. Cause that would have been such a baller move.
Al Jerome, President and CEO of KCET spoke, and as I stood ready to snap photos, I noticed he was scanning the audience and then selecting people to look in the eye as he made salient points. Every time he looked at me I felt as though it was my responsibility to tilt my head and nod thoughtfully. His speech built to a crescendo, and the more emphatically he gestured, the more emphatically I nodded my head, until I begin to wonder at what point it was going to start looking really weird. Busy practicing active listening skills, I didn’t catch everything he said, but he wrapped up KCET’s history and relationship to the community. It was probably something similar to this information from the press release:
“On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world…Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions…and its website, kcet.org. “
I did not approach the silent auction until bidding was closed. My husband has few rules for me, but two of the biggies are no webcams and no silent auctions. I was disappointed though, because besides a cutesy little Mercedes that went for only $300, there were a number of dinners from the Border Grill and Fraiche, and I wanted to scream, “Wait!” as the ladies collected the clipboards.
(Keller’s staff includes Chef de Cuisine Rory Herrmann, General Manager Stephen Cook, Pastry Chef Sharon Wang and Head Sommelier Alex Weil.)