Big events require bold strokes, but an intimate event calls for fine-tuned finesse. Case in point: a dinner for 10 catered by Someone's in the Kitchen, based in Tarzana, Calif. Dazzling decor and a delicious dinner accompanied an evening at the client's newly remodeled Beverly Hills, Calif., manse, where guests sipped their way through $80,000 worth of fine wine. Someone's in the Kitchen president Joann Roth-Oseary says the pressure was on to provide a memorable meal for the elegant audience: “Taking it 10 steps over the top is what we needed to do for this very sophisticated and world-traveled group.”
Fine food and a glittering tabletop proved an appropriate pairing for the elegant beverage choices. After a wine-tasting session in the mansion's wine cellar, Someone's in the Kitchen served dinner in the formal dining room. “Each course brought its own wine and the incredible taste of a selected menu item,” Roth-Oseary explains.
Famed wine labels including Petrus, Lafite Rothschild and Latour graced the table. Echoing the evening's wine theme, 18 small floral pieces marched down the center of the oval table accentuated with natural elements such as grapes and bark. Luxurious accessories such as gold scalloped chargers, gold flatware, crinkled linen and iridescent taffeta napkins suited the pricey wines. “Millions” of candles provided glimmer to the glamorous dinner, says Roth-Oseary, but she made sure the illumination didn't add interfering scents. “Going with this amount of food and wine, you're really not trying to confuse the olfactory sensibility,” she notes.
Because the wine list “screamed for itself at the top of its lungs,” according to Roth-Oseary, the food had to speak up too. The menu included seven courses of delicacies such as duck, scallops, veal and lamb. An unusual treat of goat cheese ice cream ended the evening. “This whole thing was just a wow,” Roth-Oseary says.
While guests drank in both the wine and the atmosphere, the back-of-house staff had to stay on their toes. The diverse menu, including lamb cooked à la minute, required carefully timed preparation. But the hosts let their guests linger in the wine cellar, and then led an impromptu tour of the mansion, which ate into designated dining time.
To cope, back-of-house staff simply bided their time before stepping in when appropriate. “You wait for a lull in the conversation,” Roth-Oseary says. “Then snap your fingers at the back of the house, and boom! Run, roll it.” Petite parties require one essential ingredient. “At this kind of event,” Roth-Oseary says, “you are as flexible as Gumby.”
Someone's in the Kitchen 5973 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356.