My darling drag queens, you have my sympathies. You see, this past weekend I walked my lovely audience through a Mad Men inspired dinner party at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show dressed in full 1960s attire. I was complete with hot pink dress, matching shoes, pocket book, and red headed wig. I arrived to the expo early enough for my friend’s daughters to meet Giada de Laurentis at the exhibitor reception. She is teeny tiny, but what she makes up for in her stature and weight, is her beauty and her kindness to the young, future culinary artists who were thrilled to meet her. She is so beloved, that I was hoping that she would be quite a bit flawed. Perhaps been annoyed at young admirers, or slightly diva-tastic, would have gone a long way. Sadly, no. She seems to be just as lovely in person as her persona on TV. Did I mention she is tiny?? I immediately put down the flatbread and skipped the passed hors d’oeuvres. I plan to run4 miles every day this week.
Back to the costume. You would think that a Joan Holloway look a like in a room full of casual weekend attire would cause a stir. I did not get a second look as I walked through the crowded aisles of vendors. It reminded me a bit of New York City, where nothing is shocking. You may be asking why I chose to call in my favorite costume designer, Linda Patterson, to outfit me for two, half hour cooking demonstration. Two reasons:
1. It’s all about how you set the stage.
2. You can get away with a lot more when you are in costume.
I wasn’t really trying to get away with anything, but I want my audience to have fun, to laugh, to remember, and to relax. In a room full of chef’s uniforms and logo aprons, the sight of a 1960s hostess with organza apron was sure to set the scene for a fantastic retro dinner party . I took great pleasure from the audience reactions to some of the foods of the 1960s. It was a mix of generations, and each one had their own response. The older ladies nodded in agreement to the menus they served. The sandwich generation nodded in agreement to the memories of their parents’ party fare, and the younger ones relished the references to their favorite TV show, Mad Men. The laughter and the audience participation was all I needed to keep the banter going. Needless to say, I can’t wait for my next demo, next class, and for the store to open (next month!!) so that this experience and idea of relaxing and enjoying while you entertain continues.