On Sunday, November 16th, the Blai Gallery of the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences was transformed into a unique dining venue for a charitable cause. When I first sat down with Chris Adams from Beach View Farms in mid-October, we quickly hashed out a way to use his Fall harvest to raise money for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. As the harvest dictated our event date, we had less than four weeks to pull it together. Through some beautiful acts of cosmic synchronicity, the first Beach View Farms to Table dinner evolved into an evening that even I could not have anticipated.
Surrounded by Ann Coen‘s custom framed photos, Jessie Wolf Temple from Bunkerfish Design created unbelievable tablescapes from a collection of thrifted plates & goblets, perfectly placed on mismatched linens. Flowers donated by Reynolds Garden Shop were arranged by Brie Fagan of The Wandering Gypsea, and these vases joined tapered candles & twinkle lights captured in mason jars. Art pedestals were decorated with organic wines donated by Opici, a touch that added aesthetic value & acted as a reminder of the tasting to come.
Before the dinner began, we were surprised by the arrival of David Caldarella, the founder of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. Although he was otherwise engaged & could not attend the entirety of the dinner, he modified his plans so that he was able to take a moment to thank our guests for supporting the Foundation through their participation in the Beach View Farms to Table event. His presence was a wonderful & unexpected addition to the evening, and set the tone for the rest of the night.
After a brief welcome, I turned the reigns over to Chef Kyle Baddorf from Garces Trading Company & Chef Austin Schafer from Amada. Over the next two hours, the chefs perfectly executed the six-course menu they specifically designed for Beach View‘s donated produce. The fourth & fifth courses boasted Barnegat Scallops from the F. Nelson Blount, Pork Belly from The German Butcher & Wagyu Beef from Snake River Farms. Each of these courses was accompanied by a glass of wine carefully paired by Scott Clayton of Opici, and he graciously described the the choices to our guests.
The warm conversation & laughter that filled the gallery was encouraging throughout the dinner, and the kind words as guests departed reinforced that we, as a collaborative whole, created an evening worth remembering. We are so thankful for each & every one of our guests who took a chance on this first time event, and helped us raise $1,778.51 for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.
A very special thanks to:
Dave Ambrose for taking over the dish station & keeping us from a 2am departure
Tony Coon of Darn Swell Media for his videography talents
Amy Carreno of LBIF for allowing us to hold the event in such a fitting space
Steff Magallanes for donating her serving skills & tips to the cause
Leigh Ann McGuigan for volunteering to be the best (and most beautiful) maitre d’
Frank McGuigan of Crossfit Absecon for taking on the role as badass coat checker
Kristin Ryerson of Kristin Ryerson Photography for capturing stills
Beach View Farms, The Wandering Gypsea, Bunkerfish Design, Garces Trading Company, Amada, Pinelands Brewery, The F. Nelson Blount of Viking Village, The German Butcher, Opici Wine Group, Reynolds Garden Shop