The other night I had the pleasure of attending the Relais & Chateaux Diner des Grands Chefs at Gotham Hall. Relais & Chateaux is an organization of very nice hotels which also have great restaurants. At this dinner, grand chefs from around the world — NYC had Michael White, Daniel Boulud, James Kent and the Del Posto boys — and they cooked a special menu in teams of three for each table. The food, therefore, was not mass catered but actually prepared. There were many tables. I sat at table 26. Apart from the food, which was obviously extremely good, there were some other takeaways.
The French Love A Good Projection
There are many columns in Gotham Hall. It used to be a bank. Relais & Chateaux is a French organization and someone had the idea to have a projection of an acquarium projected onto the space behind the columns which eventually drained to reveal the skyline. This was accompanied by music. I was somewhat scared there would be a 9-11 Never Forget logo at the end but there wasn’t. The point being though, probably an American would say, "Man, this is over the top. We can’t do this." With the French, that isn’t so. This enables them to be both great and horrible.
Black Tie Required Means That Above 14th Street
I generally imagine Black Tie Required to mean Maybe Black Tie Would Be Nice But You Know Whatever. This is how it is for events downtown where the rule of thumb is that level of formal dress and level of belonging are inversely proportional. But Gotham Hall is in Midtown and, man, was I wrong. Black Tie means Black Tie. I rolled up wearing a slightly more formal than usual work outfit: black Uniqlo slacks, a cream cotton blazer from Shipley and Halmos and a pink sweater, also Uniqlo. My outfit was met with stern paternal disapproval by tuxuedoed and begowned guests. The only thing that makes me feel alright about it: Thomas Keller, not cooking that night, was there and he was wearing jeans, a sweater and a blazer.
There is an Olsen Sister That Eats
Her name is Elizabeth and I saw her do it. There’s also picture evidence.