August 13, 2007

Stars 2007 Dinner & Live Auction in Calistoga, CA


I spent yesterday in beautiful Calistoga, CA at Peter Michael Winery for Stars 2007, a dinner and live auction for the Sir Peter and Lady Michael Foundation.
This foundation supports science and research for prostrate cancer treatment and cures. This issue hits very close to home since I recently found out that a very dear uncle of mine has developed prostate cancer and is now undergoing surgeries and therapy. The event was beautiful and they couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

The event began at the lake on Elliot Island, a small floating island with L’Apres Midi and hors d’oeuvres on the nearby beach.

The surroundings were spectacular. The sky was a bright blue and there were trees and mountains on all sides.

We then traveled up narrow roads through the expansive vineyards to Côte Deux Mille, a little chalet overlooking Northern California and supposedly the Pacific Ocean on a very clear day.

The tables were decorated with class and guests were covered by an enormous umbrella.

The shade was a nice escape from the sun which was amazingly bright. Guests and staff were serenaded by a fabulous string quartet throughout the evening.

The staff was well choreographed and served tables in unison.

Of course the wine was freely flowing and there were smiles all around.

The main attraction for the night was dinner by the award-winning chef of French Laundry in Yountville, CA and cookbook writer, Thomas Keller. It was truly a treat to have backstage access to Keller and his kitchen. The cooks spent the evening seamlessly creating and delivering works of art, one after another, to the oohs and aahs of the guests.

I’m a dessert gal and spent (probably too) much time photographing the delicacies that came out to round out the meal. If this isn’t beauty, I don’t know what is…

The event closed with a live auction of fine wine, vacations, dinner at posh restaurants, and even a party for 30 at Peter Michael Winery. One of the surprise auction pieces was Thomas Keller’s chef’s jacket from the night.

The night ended with the giant umbrella folding to a close and exposing the absolutely breathtaking sky. It was amazingly clear and gorgeous. Clear night skies is one of those things that make me wish I lived out of the city. It was a beautiful night all around and guests were gushing as they left the event.

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