The essence of four cavaliers and ballerinas was tastefully teased in a four-course menu deliciously prepared by the creme de la creme of the city's food scene.
Call it a "Raising the Barre" gourmand pas de deux between chefs Randy Evans, Chris Shepherd, Monica Pope and Rebecca Masson and their twirling partners, who served as sous chefs for the night. That would be soloists Christopher Coomer and Nao Kusuzaki, principal Karina González and demi soloist Charles-Louis Yoshiyama.
Yet in lieu of just offering a party in one's mouth — what else would you say about an hors d'oeuvre sampling of chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon or crawfish fried rice balls? — chairs Kristy Bradshaw and Lindsey Brown, co-founders of this influential young professionals throng, choreographed the sold-out affair so that it would also offer a glimpse into the lives of the quartet of performing artists.
Coomer's guilty pleasure were Lion Bars, the elements of which were deconstructed for Masson's grand finale.
Following a chatty reception and a silent auction, guests filled the main dining room that overlooked the many cooks in the kitchen.
Up first was Pope's and Gonzalez's sherried black bean soup and family style cheese arepas, which Gonzalez's mom served morning, day and night when she was growing up in Venezuela. Evans nodded to the street foods of Japan with his char-grilled quail served yakitori style. It reminisced on Yoshiyama's native Shizuoka, a coastal region that bounds with Mount Fuji.
Kusuzaki's journey from Ehime, Japan, to Washington D.C. and Boston — and her recent role as Madame Butterfly — served as the muse for the complex flavor layers in Shepherd's slow roasted pork belly and fish cake adorned with a twisty crispy noodle. Coomer's guilty pleasure were Lion Bars, the elements of which were deconstructed for Masson's grand finale: a sinful melange of milk chocolate cremeux, stroopwafel and caramel drizzle.
Talk about young professional power. The 175 in attendance raised $65,000, roughly a 60 percent increase over last year's foodie affair.
Taking a bite out of dance alongside executive director Jim Nelson and artistic director Stanton Welch were Ballet Barre chair Christine Transier and hubby Chris, Chris Bradshaw, Isabel and Danny David, Sten Gustafson, Lauren Levicki, David Rassin, Derith and Dr. Darrell Cass, Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan, Claire Cormier Thielke and Rick Thielke, Dr. Jerry Gauthier and Jo and Jim Furr.