FIVE STARS FOR FIVE COURSES: It was a perfect pairing -- St. Louis Community College’s culinary arts students and A-list Chef Richard Sandoval cooking and creating together on Saturday night for the college foundation’s annual benefit.
“Falling in Love … in Five Courses,” also had help from the Four Seasons Hotel’s Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi, and catering director Marianne Moore, at the event, which drew nearly 250 community college supporters.
To say the menu was clever would be an understatement. Starting with “Concho A Lo Macho,” a blend of shrimp, scallop and calamari served in a clam shell, to the chimichurri rubbed New York strip with king crab mashed potatoes to the finale of crispy churros, yuzu lemon tart and passion fruit crème brulee, guests were oohing and ahhing over the creations.
The evening also featured a first for Arnold Donald, who said he had never served as an auctioneer before but who handled the job admirably. He was funny, quick with the quips and the gavel and good at ramping up enthusiasm.
He got a bidding war going over the “Cupcakes War,” item, which featured a party for 20 with Casey Shiller, executive pastry chef of Jilly's Cupcake Bar in University City and the winner last year of the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."
Guests were so excited about the item that Shiller wound up selling it three times for $3,500 each time. Shiller’s a showman and amused everyone by parading around the room imploring guests to raise their bids.
Laurna Godwin, who handled PR for the event, confided that she and her husband, Sam Hutchinson, are still at war with their insurance company over their house. The 9,603-square-foot house, which the couple built in 2001 on a bluff above the Great River Road in Alton, sank last May. “You can’t even get to it,” Godwin said, adding that she and her husband are still living in “emergency housing” at The Crescent in Clayton.
St. Louis License Collector Mike McMillan offered that he’s tired of politics and wouldn’t mind turning his attention to non-profit work when his term expires. “I always wanted to be the mayor of St. Louis. That was my dream. But now I don’t think I’d want it if they offered it to me,” he said.
Among others spotted supporting the community college system: Gary and Becky Kueker, the Foundation's board chair; Rodney Gee, the incoming board chair; Susan Lang, the event chair; Mark Birk, co-chair; Myrtle Dorsey, chancellor of the community college system; Debra Hollingsworth and Mark Stacye; Tom and Kathy Reeves; and Deborah Patterson and Kelvin Carter.