A good friend and I met for lunch.
"What's new?" she asked.
"Well," I responded. "The Celebrity Chef Dinner is 20 years old this year, Do you believe it?"
She laughed. The Celebrity Chef Dinner of The Soroptimist Club of Fulton County had been our brain child that many years ago. The most successful fundraising event in Fulton County started when there were hardly any fundraising events.
I had students that needed experience. She had the restaurant, the staff, the space and the experience. I knew the chefs from my involvement with the North County Chefs Association. She knew the chefs and the restaurants from her many years running a family restaurant. The chefs needed a venue to promote their many talents. The soroptimists needed a fundraiser to fund their many projects. Viola! The Celebrity Chef Dinner was born.
It had been a lot of fun those first years. A lot happens in 20 years. Children get born. Grandchildren get born. Parents die. Children go to college. Grandchildren go to college. Restaurants get sold, and people get married.
"So you're still involved?" she asked.
As her life changed, her involvement with the dinner and the soroptimists had changed. I had always been somewhat involved, but not as much as in the past.
"Well, I'm just contacting the chefs this year, not doing all the other stuff," I explained. "But it's hard to give up that feeling of ownership."
"Well, I'd like to be a part of it again," she continued.
"Part of the Celebrity Chef Dinner again? Great! I'll tell Debra, the chair. We'd love to have you!" I replied. I was excited about working with her again.
"Wait, Anita, you don't understand. I didn't say that I wanted to help; I said I wanted to be a part. You know, participate. I want to participate in the Celebrity Chefs Dinner," she said.
Say what? What did she mean?
"You want to be one of the chefs?" I asked.
"One of the restaurants," she answered.
Oh, busboy! It took me a while, but I finally got it.
"You and Jim are opening a new restaurant," I said.
Yes, Shelly and Jim Rose are opening a new restaurant in Broadalbin. Shelly, the former owner-manager of the White Holland House, AKA "The Turkey Farm," and her spouse, Jim, the former owner-chef of the Union Hall Inn are opening a new restaurant in Broadalbin. Yes, Shelly Coons Rose, the former manager of the Eccentric Club and Jim Rose, the current executive chef at Skidmore College are opening a new restaurant at the former Vandelines at 101 W. Main St. in Broadalbin.
I say "Lucky us."
We finished our lunch slowly, talking of the details of the new Wine and Roses restaurant.
What the menu will be like? I asked.
"Familiar but different" she answered. "Our motto is 'Comfort food with attitude.'"
"Are you having turkey," I asked.
"Of course," she answered.
That is really all I know. I think the restaurant will open in March or April. I do know that it will be participating in the 20th annual Celebrity Chef Dinner put on by the Soroptimists of Fulton County. The dinner will be held at the Holiday Inn on April 16 at 6 p.m. Invitations are being mailed this month or may be gotten at the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The price will be $50 - worth every nickel as the food is always interesting and delicious.
This year, the theme will be "Celebrity Chef Goes Cruisn'." There is a cruise or ship theme with a lot of fun extras. There will be a captain's table option and a silent auction item for a dinner on the Titanic! The anniversary dinner is expected to sell out.
Other great local restaurants joining Wine and Roses as Celebrity Chefs include: Union Hall Inn, 391 South Main, The American Hotel, Sharon Springs, Chef Lomanto's Market, Cock 'n Bull, Jaime Scott's Downtowner, Grandma Millie's, The Holiday Inn, Lanzi's on the Lake, Aaron's Irish Pub, The Moose, Sam's Steak and Seafood and more great eateries.
As we walked out, we decided that we would next meet for lunch at that new restaurant opening in Broadalbin.
If you have any questions about the dinner, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Restaurant Watch: Watch for your favorite restaurant at the Celebrity Chef's Dinners.