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The San Francisco Opera Ball – Behind the Scenes, Part VI: The Caterer

October 26, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

From Vivanista:
“When it comes to the Opera Ball in particular, it is an event very dear to my own heart because it was the first grand scale event that I had the opportunity to participate as maitre d when I started at McCalls. I love this event.” -Patrick McAteer

What is the secret to McCalls being able to serve as many people as they do for an event like the Opera Ball and make the guests feel like they’re at a dinner party? Read More

Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory’s Trails Forever Benefit Dinner

October 8, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

The eighth annual Trails Forever Dinner benefiting the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory raised more than $730,000 to renovate and expand park trails. Held at Baker Beach on October 1, 400 guests were welcomed with cocktails and a bluegrass musical performance from the band Poor Man’s Whiskey. The evening – co-chaired by Jessica Galloway and Catherine Bradford – included a live auction spiritedly led by Mark Buell, Chairman of the National Parks Conservatory.

“A clear dinner tent was erected above the beach in a parking lot, which, under a file titled “gild the lily,” was covered with sand. Family-style tables, beautifully designed by Tracy Radeff, sported native flora, colorful textiles and a masterful McCall’s meal of Portofino salumi, gazpacho, Vandenberg Ranch filet mignon and flan,” wrote Catherine Bigelow in her Social City column for the San Francisco Chronicle. After dinner, guests toasted marshmallows around a firepit for the s’mores served by McCalls. All photos capturing the Trails Forever dinner were taken by Miss Bigelow.

Trails Forever logo courtesy of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory

Join St. Anthony Foundation October 7: Raising The Roof IV – Fundraising Gala Event

September 21, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

McCalls is excited to be part of St. Anthony Foundation’s Raise the Roof on October 7, the first major fundraiser for a new, expanded St. Anthony Dining Room. During this tough economic time the
need for St. Anthony’s services is greater than ever for families, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities and the mentally and addictively ill. Currently, one million meals are served each year.

The Honorary Chairs – Dr. Suzanne Giraudo; Sandra R. Hernández, M.D.; Judy Li; Pam Moore; Maura Morey; Diane B. Wilsey; and Diane zumBrunnen – are ready to help raise the roof for St. Anthony Foundation. This special event will be held in a magical tent between the San Francisco Public Library and the Asian Art Museum.

Preview the Auction Page for highlights – more fabulous items will continue to be added.

To help support this important event, Become a Patron or Angel.
Table and Individual Tickets are also available
– purchase early to reserve your seats.

St. Anthony Foundation’s Fundraising Gala – Raising The Roof IV
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Time: 7 PM – 9 PM

San Francisco Opera Kicks-Off 88th Season with Gala Dinner & Aida Performance

September 16, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

The San Francisco Opera kicked-off its 88th season on September 10 with a gala evening celebrating Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, “the grandest of grand operas” set in ancient Egypt.

The sold-out event benefited the Opera Guild, which supports arts and education programs for about 60,000 children and adults in Northern California. McCalls catered the dinner for 1,100 people under City Hall’s dome.

“McCall’s Executive Chef Lucas Schoemaker’s menu starred a salmon Marquise salad, short rib tournedos and chocolate mousse pyramid-shaped dessert,” said Catherine Bigelow in her society column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Guests at the opera included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown. “Thank God McCalls was the caterer,” said Brown in his Sunday San Francisco Chronicle column. “Short ribs, of all things. Just what was needed to get through the long, long night.”

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Opera

Meet Legion of Honor Café Chef David Garrison

August 31, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

From Fine Arts, the magazine for members of the Legion of Honor and de Young.  The museum cafés are operated by McCalls.

Born in Merced, California, and trained at the California Culinary Academy, David Garrison — the Legion of Honor Café’s chef since February — has been immersed in the flavors of California.  Local tastes come to fruition in a café menu designed to appeal to what David considers the “refined taste” of the museum visitor.  “Even with the Bay Area, this group is educated, open-minded, and well-traveled.  I am not worried about overwhelming them with new or strong flavors.”

For example, his popular sandwich prepared from pork loin that has brined for two days is accented with nicoise olives, feta, and homemade apple chutney.  For David, housemade items are just one of the many details that contribute to great food, from the fresh baked bread that is delivered every morning to the pickled red onion and marinated artichoke hearts that are prepared right in the café kitchen.

In creating menus, David is inspired by the seasons.  For fall, he plans to transition to using seasonal flavors like squash and pumpkin in deep, rich, slow-cooked foods that people crave when the weather turns brisk.  He is also inspired by the special exhibitions on view.  When Japanesque opens in the special exhibition galleries, visitors will discover a changing daily menu highlighted by Japanese influences, such as a bento box featuring misoyaki fish or tempura.

So popular is the Legion Café, says David, “it is becoming a destination restaurant for the neighborhood.”  Many people are becoming aware that they can visit the restaurant even when they are short on time for visiting the galleries.  But best of all is to experience great food as a complement to great art.

The Legion of Honor Café is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  Enjoy coffee, tea, and pastries in the morning, and a lunch menu from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.  Closed Mondays.

Japanesque: the Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism opens at the Legion of Honor on October 16 and runs through January 9, 2011.