|By Jeanne Lawrence
LEGENDARY CHEF ALICE WATERS HONORED AT RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN GALA
Legendary chef Alice Waters of Berkeley’s pioneering Chez Panisse was honored at the first ever Help Raise Healthy Children Gala for the cause.
Elegant Deborah Strobin chaired the event with honorary Chairs that included former President Bill Clinton and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Quite a luminary lineup.
Deborah met Marvin through Broadway actor Lee Roy Reams – director of the event’s performances – and they hit it off so well that Marvin agreed to play gratis for the cause.
Hamlisch has composed more than 40 motion picture scores, winning an Oscar for The Way we Were and a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for the Broadway musical, A Chorus Line.
Jennifer Hudson also received an Academy Award for her portrayal of Effie in Dream Girls. Luckily, the up and comer paid little attention to Simon Cowell’s opinion of her on American Idol. The young gals in the audience were especially excited to see the TV celeb.
Hudson sang only three songs including Aretha Franklin’s Change is Gonna Come and Dream Girls’ I am Changing, leaving the audience with a longing for more.
A natural honoree, food activist and chef Alice Waters is credited with inventing California cuisine, emphasizing fresh, seasonal, organic and locally grown provisions at her Chez Panisse restaurant. She touted sustainability before it became fashionable and has probably received as much ink as the late chef Julia Childs.
In 1996, Alice founded the Berkeley public school’s Edible Schoolyard whose goal is to educate children about eating well. The students have a garden and even prepare their own meals. It’s been such a success, it is hoped to be a model for others.
|It seems Alice’s daughter, Fanny Singer, is following in her mother’s foodsteps. While at Yale, she initiated the sustainable food project and today Yale has a vegetable garden too. Now at England’s Cambridge, perhaps Fanny and Prince Charles can join forces – the Prince of Wales has been promoting organic farming on his estate since the 1980s.
The Gala evening began with a scrumptious, black-tie dinner in the City Hall Rotunda. The Chez Panisse menu was catered by Paula LeDuc and the wine was generously donated by Trinchero Estates. As there was Monday Night Football competition, a few of the husbands opted out.
Now nutritious and gala food may seem like an oxymoron but it was a natural – all locally grown. Antipasti consisted of winter vegetables vinaigrette, bocconcini with lemon and olio verde, prosciutto and garlicky greens, marinated tuna with pickled beets and coriander. The main course was a crispy duck with potato and turnip gratin and chicory salad and the yummy dessert was a chocolate and tangerine gateau glacé.
|With a menu like this, Deborah even convinced Hamlisch to dine. “After all, you don’t need to practice the piano; you can do it in your sleep,” she teased. By the way, Deborah looked delicious herself in a dress of her own design, executed by San Francisco fashion designer Lily Samii.
The Strobin family came in force to support: her brother Illie Wacs and his partner Susan Halpern from New York, and her son Mitch Strobin and his wife Cindy Strobin, and their daughter Alexis Strobin from North Carolina.
The after-dinner performance took place in the War Memorial Opera House across the street. What a wonderful idea making the tickets more affordable: $50, $75, $100, so the community could enjoy the world-class entertainment.
|Oh, yes, the program began with The Bouncing Bulldogs International Rope Skipping Team from Florida. It’s a youth fitness group that performs acrobatics while bouncing balls and jumping rope. No one knew Double Dutch could be so entertaining – Beijing 2008 should take notice.
Later that week Alice flew to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, where she and Michael Pollan, author of best-seller In Defense of Food, will take their crusade global.
|PAMELA JOYNER AND FRED GIUFFRIDA HOST BOOK PARTY FOR HEARST’S CATHIE BLACK
San Francisco philanthropist Pamela Joyner and her husband, Fred Giuffrida, threw a festive book party at their home in the exclusive enclave Presidio Terrace for Cathie Black in mid-January.
Often called The First Lady of American Magazines, Cathie has over forty years experience in publishing. For the last 12 years, she’s been President of Hearst Magazines, which includes Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, MarieClaire, Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, Seventeen, Town & Country to name a few.
|Now, she’s author of the best-seller, Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life). Love the play on words in the title. Cathie offers a wealth of insight and practical information based on her own experience working her way to the top of the ladder.
Others co-hosts for the party were Dr. Robert Harvey, a Nob Hill Plastic Surgeon; Dwell President and Publisher Michela O’Connor Abrams; philanthropists Regina Kulik Scully and John Scully; and Phil Bronstein, then the Editor of The San Francisco Chronicle.
|One week later, Phil announced that he was leaving this position to take on another role with Hearst Corp., which incidentally owns The Chronicle. Some years ago, Bronstein made headlines of his own with his five-year marriage to actress Sharon Stone. I guess Basic Instinct only lasts for so long. After the book launch, Cathie was off to a City Arts & Lectures where political commentator, Arianna Huffington and Black had a Q & A session. Huffington, the assertive multi-published author, is also behind the news blog, The Huffington Post. With two powerhouses sharing the stage, it was an extremely enlightening evening.|
| CLARA SHAYEVICH BEGINS THE NEW YEAR AT THE RITZ-CARLTON
The guest list read like a miniature United Nations with representatives from around the world: Afghanis, Iranians, Chinese, Cubans, Lebanese, Italians, Central Americans, South Americans, New Yorkers and some good old Americans too. We all know New Yorkers are a breed unto themselves.
“I moved my annual party to January,” explained Clara. “Everyone’s back in town after the holidays and a perfect way to start the New Year with fine champagne and good friends.”
Pure cosmopolitan, Clara adores fashion and glamorous clothes, and was nominated one of the best dressed women in the city by the Nob Hill Gazette, the must-read local society rag.
|But that day no one could guess who designed her tailored suit – finally she admitted, “Roberto Cavalli.” Who knew he designed for anyone other than movie and rock stars?
The exotic beauty stands out at many black-tie soirées. Utterly feminine and elegantly attired, Clara catches the eye of many men.
But she leaves them speechless, and just a bit flustered, when she tells them she’s a sex therapist! Way to go, Clara.
|Photographs by Tom Gibbons, Jeanne Lawrence, & Jonathan Costello.|