This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of volunteering with Corie Moscow of Gloss PR and her fabulous team at the 2nd Annual Feastival. Co-hosted by the gastronomical trifecta of Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov, + Audrey Claire Taichman, Feastival is a celebration of culinary arts, highlighting the talent of Philadelphia’s top 75 restaurants and their chefs. It also stands as a benefit for Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, but based on the number of times I was asked who the “charity” was, I’m pretty sure no one was really there for that reason. But I digress…
For most of the afternoon set-up, I checked in restaurants with my longtime catering pal, Harry Spivak, making sure everyone unloaded quickly and was situated at their stations. And along with that job, came dealing with your stereotypical chef personality traits – asking where their dedicated freezer space was (in a pier warehouse…), getting cursed out in a mix of English & French (guess who!), and endless inquiries of when the bar would be open. I’m used to it, enjoy it to some sadistic degree, and took it all in stride as the event professional that I am.
Before I knew it, I was speed-changing in a Porto-o-potty and slapping on a crimson-lipped smile as everyone from Rittenhouse “socialites” to CEOs of XYZ Company to the ex-Governor (who remembered who I was!) poured into the open-air Pier 9. The space really transformed as cocktail party met perfomance art – acrobats trapezing over a glass-topped bar, ballerinas floating above the who’s who of our great city, and the three belles of Strange Fruit teetering next to my soon-to-be-new-addiction, Federal Donuts. I soaked up what I could while I checked in press for most of the night, taking an awkward pride in knowing who most of the local food writers were before they could even get their name out. Any of you guys/gals hiring?
As the night wound down, I worked the room with requests to return all Feastival coats along with gift bags for the chefs. The busy bee that I was, I actually enjoyed eating with my eyes as I scurried past the remaining samples at each station. The crowd dwindled, the chefs migrated towards the bar, and I was officially relieved of a great day of helping to make some serious magic happen. So, I migrated to the bar, too… and not only because I needed a drink after a long day, but because 2 of my favorite Philly bartenders were pouring the booze. Colin, the no-longer bearded (sad face!) GM from Franklin Mortgage (the only bar I’d ever drink at if I could afford to), was on hand with the promise of whiskey. He took the edge off with a strong pour of Jim Beam’s Devils Cut in a martini glass, the last of the clean options. And you know I can’t have whiskey up without a beer… or beers. Thanks to my old co-worker and favorite day bartender from the Belgian Cafe, Lisa, I cruised through 2 Yard’s Pale Ales to end a perfect night.