The Gabby Guy goes back for seconds during Meals on Wheels’ big weekend and checks in on the fashion scene with the Wilmington Flower Market.
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Delivering 600,000 hot, nutritious meals to more than 4,000 homebound seniors a year is an enormous undertaking that requires the help and compassion of thousands. Full-time staffers from Meals on Wheels, board members, food service professionals and more than 2,500 meal delivery volunteers make it happen. It’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.
Meals On Wheels Delaware chair J. Robert Gibson welcomed hundreds of well-dressed guests to this year’s highly anticipated Celebrity Chef’s Brunch in the great hall of Bank of America’s Bracebridge III building in Wilmington for part two of a foodie’s dream weekend. Mr. Gibson proudly related that the affair has become a national-caliber event that has raised more than $5 million since its inception 12 years ago—$600,000 last year alone.
Two stunning models greeted guests: Claire Wheelan, wearing a short strapless dress with cream lace and a stain sash topped by an oversized, daisy-dotted pink mesh hat, and Jade Lockett, in a tulle pouf dress with a light jade green halter top and a wide-brimmed spring bouquet hat. Both beauties are stylists at Salon Pasca in Wilmington.
In a sunny corridor lined with fine art, we turned a corner only to meet the aromas of Sunday brunch: bacon of several nationalities, fresh-squeezed citrus, blueberry-stuffed baked goods and rich coffee, as well as the auditory excellence of the Philip Berger Quartet.
Where to start? United Distributors’ peach Bellini made with Domaine Chandon Brut supplied an easy answer. From there it was a short leap to the beef Wellington with bacon cream and quail egg. Was it a dream or the artful vision of Domaine Hudson’s executive chef, Jason Barrowcliff? Both. Owners Tom and Meg Hudson were busy greeting and serving guests in what quickly became the first glad-to-be-waiting line. Tom, as well known for his Ralph Laurenesque wardrobe as his excellent wine bar-restaurant, has managed to meld his love of both. Anyone who visits his establishment wearing a pocket square or ascot receives a discount.
Next door at Magnolia’s of Charleston, South Carolina, Rick and Tina Betz sampled their first tastes—spicy shrimp and tasso sausage over creamy grits. Did they enjoy? Rick responded with a silent smile we took as a yes. Tina, director of cultural affairs for the city of Wilmington, was more effusive. “I’m just glad the chef, Donald Drake, has a Southern accent. You have to have one to make grits properly,” she said.
The Hotel du Pont area, presided over by executive chef Patrick D’Amico, was a required stop. His pan-seared pekin duck breast (pekin is a breed of duck, not a misspelled city in China), served over risotto-style potato with a balsamic truffle syrup, was delicious.
On the next Bellini break, we bumped (literally) into fashionistas Jocelyn Kaminski, a UD education major who wore a royal blue, hip hugging mini over leggings and strappy cork platforms, and her friend Kristina Ruggerio, a makeup artist at Houpette in Greenville, who wore a strap-topped black mini dress with an Empire waist in a graphic pink and magenta floral print and teetered on cross slingbacks. Both wore fresh spring break tans and bright white smiles.
We joined MOWD volunteer Melinda Hamilton at Delebrity chef Dan Butler’s table to sample Deep Blue chef Matt Crist’s crispy skinned mullet with saffron-mussel sauce and Toscana’s mezzaluna pasta pillows filled with butternut squash, pancetta and sage. It should be said that Dan’s relentless contributions to the success of the Meals weekend do not go unnoticed by anyone.
Gary Gunderson, kitchen cabinet chair of Meals From the Masters, had a quick chance between bites to inform us that the fundraising goal for Friday night had been exceeded. Did you know that one donation of $75 will feed one senior for one a week? Comforting news. Also comforting was the Kobe beef and artisanal cheese with white truffle oil by chefs Tara Kazimir and Randy Donze of Michele’s at Dover Downs. Mark Kessler of Newark summed them up with a one-word review: “Yummy.”
Orillas Tapas Bar and Restaurant owner-chef Julio Lazzarini attended as a guest. “It’s really great to hang out with and observe peers from all over the world and bask in the wonderful treatment and respect we [chefs] get from Meals on Wheels and everyone.” The last word went to Butler: “It is all about raising money to feed many nice people, but it’s also nice to be treated like a star.”
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