New ERA and 944 VIP Dinner Honoring Grammy Nominee AKON in West Hollywood

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Last week was Grammy week 2009 and I had the honor of working the New ERA and 944 VIP Dinner Honoring Grammy Nominee AKON in West Hollywood with Chef Wade Williams from Picnic LA.
The crowd was full of top names from the entertainment industry and included everyone from hip hop veteran Warren G, TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, musician Colby Odonis, Kim, Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian (Keeping up with the Kardashians), reggae radio personality Native Wayne Jobson (from the infamous reggae smoke-in radio show on indie 103.1) and fellow reggae artist/actor Leon Robinson from the band Leon and the Peoples. Many other celebrities were present for the event and were treated like royalty as they dined on a four-course dinner prepared by Picnic LA Catering under the direction of Chef Wade Williams and myself. The culinary fare and theme of the party was based on the heritage of the guest of honor; Akon (2009 Grammy nominated artist).
I worked as the event Sous Chef and made sure that all food was consistently cooked and plated according to the event design and plan. We had a slight delay in service due to some late guest arrivals but we worked around it and in typical Hollywood fashion the event went off without a hitch.
The menu featured Caribbean staple dishes as well as some modern twists. The appetizer course was a split pea soup that was garnished with salt, pepper, crème fraîche, and chives. The second course (salad) was a healthy mix of Arugula (Rocket), marinated pears, chopped walnuts and aromatic aged blue cheese tossed in homemade citrus vinaigrette. For the main course entrée Jamaican Jerk Chicken was served on a bed of wilted red chard and placed on top of a bountiful slice of glazed sweet potato and topped with a sweet, tangy sauce. The desert course was a derivative of fried plantains and we served an Americanized version that was based on Banana’s Foster and served all a mode and garnished with cinnamon and mint sprigs.
The staff from both New Era and 944 magazine were all first rate and we all worked in unison to make sure all guests were taken care of and had a great time. The 944 studio space was decorated in white modern furnishings and the large rectangular dining table was topped with centerpieces provided by New Era that included a collaborative hat for Akon’s Konlive brand as well as a custom throwback plaid LA Dodger fitted cap.
The crowd jammed to the music into the late hours and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves. Thanks New Era, 944 and Picnic LA for bringing me on for the ride and I will see you all next year!
Photography courtesy of 944.com and Carl Lindstrom








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