On Saturday, January 26 I was reminded of why I still remain so excited about being a part of the restaurant business. Together with many friends I presented a tribute menu event at the Left Bank Cafe in Saranac Lake, New York. This quaint cafe, reminiscent of a typical Parisian Bistro was host to a dinner entitled: “Monet’s Table – a tribute to this great impressionists love of color and life.
I love to create dinner “events” and find that the difference between such an undertaking and simply presenting a great quality restaurant meal rests in the design of a complete package. The following list defines the difference:
 An Interesting and Relevant Theme: The Monet dinner theme provided us with an opportunity to tie the concept of the Left Bank French Cafe with the underlying theme of art, color, and creativity. The result was a warm and inviting restaurant designed to engage the guest.
 Community Support: the concept of the neighborhood restaurant where people from the community actively participate in bringing the meal together was alive and well. Forty-four guests stretched the capacity of the Cafe so other restaurants allowed us to borrow china, glassware, flatware and even chairs to insure that the event took place. Thanks to all who helped and then participated as guests.
 A Sense of Purpose: There were two underlying objectives supporting this event: first to bring the community together and secondly to promote the Left Bank Cafe as the type of place where neighbors can collect, enjoy a glass of wine and a light snack and for just a moment feel like they are watching time go by at a corner in Paris.
 Working with Friends: Whenever I promote an event of this type I always bring in a friend or two to help and to share in the real joy of cooking and the fruits of the labor involved. I want to thank Chef Tim McQuinn from the North Hero House in Vermont, Anne Alsina from the Left Bank Cafe and her staff, and Kristin Parker from the Whiteface Club in Lake Placid for the fantastic photo memories.
 Setting the Stage: I always enjoy the process of setting the stage to support the theme of a food event. Colorful Monet paintings brought life to the menus, painter’s palettes on the table, guest paint brushes that allowed them to try their hand at painting sauces on their plates, Monet prints scattered throughout the Cafe and the complementary colors of food on each plate contributed to the warm feel of the event.
 Gathering of Friends and Breaking Bread: Of course, the most important element of an event is the opportunity to gather friends, enjoy the food, catch up on each others activities, clink glasses when the wine is poured, talk about the food and reflect on their own memories of trips to France and the importance of the Left Bank to the Saranac Lake Community.
Doctor’s, restaurateurs, educators, chefs, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and artists all gathered together for this fun and inviting meal. Even the owners of the Cafe (Kenneth and Noelle Weissberg) flew over from Paris to share in the meal. A great time was had by all, but no-one enjoyed it more than me.
Thanks to all. I can’t wait till the next one.