The three judges were well known in their respective fields:
1. Bill Hamilton, the National Sales Director for a table linen and chair cover company in Detroit. 2. Chantelle Stallings, South Florida, part owner and head designer of a business providing custom designed gourmet cakes and desserts. 3. Steve Kemble, whom some of you may know from "Whose Wedding is it Anyway?", the CBS Early Show and ABC's Extreme Makeover, Wedding Edition. Steve's reputation for flamboyance preceded him; we expected a wild personality and we were not disappointed. He arrived late (due to a flight cancellation); wearing a tan beaded jacket, a black lace top with huge ruffled cuffs peeking out of the jacket sleeves, brown silk brocade pegged pants and black leather, pointy toe cowboy boots. As a wedding designer and florist in Dallas, steve is well-known for distinctive work, but also for coordinating his clothing on the day of the wedding to the main colors for that wedding. I once saw him in the Style Network show in an electric blue brocade suit. He is best known for the phrase - uttered with suitable passion at every opportunity - FABULOUS, JUST FABULOUS!! You may be interested to know that he looked a lot thinner than he does on TV. I don't know if that is because he actually has lost weight since those shows were taped - or if TV really does add 10+ pounds to your frame.
This year's event was a stand-up buffet, whereas the last one was a seated meal. You may remember I wrote about it before, but I can't seem to find it in the archives.
There were stations all over the large room; Asian, with sashimi, rice, sauteed vegetables with teriyaki sauces, a Mexican station with shrimp and veggie quesadillas, and tortilla chips with a wonderful warm, cheesy drizzle over them, and hearts of palm, a station with gazpacho shots, penne pasta done Spanish style, and dessert crepes, as well as a chocolate station with items too numerous to mention and of which I wouldn't know the names anyway (but I ate one of each!). One of the best items was a green bean fritter, which was passed on trays by waitstaff. They also served champagne which was packaged in a small soda-type can with a pop-top and straw. I had never seen that before.
None of the design entries had anything indicating the name of the designer or group who presented it. The judges moved through the room, marking their likes and dislikes, and the winners were announced at the end of the evening.
My boss (sadly) didn't win for his entry in the "children's" category. It was a wonderful interpretation of "The Wizard of Oz", complete with a quaint, little green house and a tornado. The chairs were also decorated with various elements from the movie, such as the ruby slippers, lunch basket, Toto, witch's hat, magic wand, tin man's hat, etc. The table was covered in sparkly emerald green linen and the flowers were all green (not dyed ones (God forbid) - real green flowers).
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the evening. Pictures would have capped it off well - but it was not to be. I'll try to do better next time!