Food for the Soul

Missives From the Jet Set

From Latvia with Love

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Fanfare at Symphony Hall (Photo Credit: John Gillooly)

It wasn’t just opening night; it was the start of a new era. Accordingly, the Boston Symphony Orchestra pulled out all the stops to welcome new music director Andris Nelsons at Fanfare, a gala dinner dance that attracted every boldfaced big shot in Boston, and more than a few from farther afield.

Among the all-star cast: board chair Bill Achtmeyer and the show-stopping Alli, the swanlike Maria Stata with her brilliant husband, Ray, Cambridge art collector Susan Paine, Chestnut Hillions Larry and Roberta Cohn, uber-philanthropists John and Diddy Cullinane, the bedazzling Susan Kaplan, real estate mack daddy Ron Druker with his other half, Julie, MFA grand poobah Malcolm Rogers, stalwart supporters Carmine and Beth Martignetti, major arts patrons Paul and Katie Buttenwieser, the ultra-chic Barbara Hostetter with her handsome other half, Amos, brunette bombshell Evelyn Treacy and her swashbuckling husband, Michael, and so on and so forth.

The food, by New York chef Daniel Boulud and his Boston cohort Aaron Chambers, was superb, as was the fanfare composed for the occasion by John Williams. Coffee and dessert were followed by dancing to the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra under the baton of society bandleader Bo Winiker. However, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the standing ovation given to Nelsons as he officially took over as the 15th conductor in the orchestra’s history.

The evening’s funniest exchange: One man said, “Liquor just doesn’t taste good to me lately, which must be a sign of something,” to which his friend replied, “Yes. Probably Armageddon.”

Food, Glorious Food

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Kevin and Barry Barry at Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health

Whoever said too many cooks spoil the soup never attended Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health.

Held underneath a gigantic tent, the annual fundraiser for the Codman Square Health Center pairs area chefs and with local nabobs like smiley news anchor Jonathan Elias, singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor, Celtics giant Walter McCarty, zoolander John Linehan, Channel 5 head honcho Bill Fine and some guy named Marty Walsh who posed for a lot of selfies and seemed to know everybody in the room.

Also on hand: environmental activist Erica Mattison, the absurdly attractive Tremayne Youmans, accidental hipster Marquis Thomas, the uber-stylish Porsha Olayiwola, dashing Bangladeshi Solmon Chowdhury, power player Sam Chambers, UMass muckety muck Phil Carver, and Dot daddies Kevin and Barry Barry (who happily opted to take his husband’s surname).

Not to brag, but the lobster bisque from Abby Park ladled out by yours truly was wildly popular, prompting one guest to say, “It’s not kosher, but it’s damn good, and it’ll give me something to atone for on Yom Kippur.” Meanwhile, a gorgeous young lady in a form-fitting dress provoked another woman to say, “I’m not sure what she’s doing here. She’s obviously never even looked at food.”

Best of All, No One Used the Word “Umami”

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Shane Merriweather and Katie Hendricks at Taste of Perkins

One of fall’s most finger-lickin’ good events is Taste of Perkins, an evening of nibbling, sipping and merry-making to benefit the Perkins School for the Blind. Held in the gothic splendor of the Howe Building, the party features a killer silent auction (who wouldn’t want a drone?), live music by Perkins students and a blindfolded food and wine tasting, not to mention a scintillating guest list.

To name but a few: new board chair Corinne Grousbeck, the incorrigible Benson Willis and his long-suffering other half, Dan Avery, party barometer Shane Merriweather and the toothsome Katie Hendricks, musical impresario Ralph Jaccodine, Wellesley party pair Laurel and Michael Schnitman, hotelier extraordinaire Alex Attia and one guest who said, “My real name is Verlan,” to which another replied, “Sounds like an STD.”

However, the evening’s best exchange happened when someone offered the marital advice “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission,” to which the receiver said, “Yeah. The problem is… I do a lotta begging.”

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