This might seem a little out of the ordinary for a post, but while it's about last night's Gala Event, "Friendship Around the World" it's also a huge THANKS to a very talented member of the community, Chef Paul Mattison.
He's been an active supporter of the Friendship Centers for years, long before we moved to Sarasota and got involved. But, this post is different, because I'm not really writing to talk about his support as a philanthropist, but his skill set in the culinary world.
Last night three hundred people were part of an event with a sit down dinner. By all the industry standards of every big group dinner I've ever been to, it should have been what we refer to in the corporate world as "another rubber chicken dinner".
Well, it was anything but that. The hors-d'oeuvres were outstanding for both the served and stationary items. I have no idea how many of those little potatoes stuffed with pot roast I ate or for that matter the meatballs or shrimp. Dinner was terrific and just as remarkable was the fact that 300 people were all served at about the same time. We were at the very last table in the back of the room and felt just as appreciated as the first table in the front! Even the salad came out as if it had been made to order.
But, more impressive than dinner was Paul and his team. Paul was like a General in the field and his troops knew exactly what to do.
So, if you're in the Sarasota area, you obviously know his restaurants. I loved the fact that last night he had things so under control, I was able to catch him and talk a little. I now understand he's so much more than just a great chef - he's a guy who puts his heart in his work, his friendships and his life. The Friendship Centers are so lucky to have him in the family.