Local Chef and Artist Hold A Pop-up Art Infused Seven Course Tasting

Local marketing manager Rachel Starrett gives us the inside scoop on last month’s pop-up art dinner.

Fresh off his two-week staging experience at world famous Chicago-based restaurant Alinea, local chef Alex Neaton collaborated with local artist Rick Hidalgo to present an original pop-up chef tasting featuring seven courses and corresponding to the dishes, seven works of art. Neaton, of the upscale 1906 at Longwood Gardens, wrote the menu before his experience at Alinea and fleshed it out after, knowing he would be inspired with the details while at the three-star Michelin restaurant. The tasting was presented in Hockessin at Hidalgo’s recently opened RH Gallery & Studios last Friday and Saturday to twenty guests per night and sold out in a week.

Pop-Up Art Dinner - RH Gallery & Studios - Hockessin, Delaware - Social Stylate

The pop-up required the conversion of Hidalgo’s personal studio space into a kitchen for the evenings (not an easy feat) and the gallery was turned into a dining room, with two 10-top tables beside the artwork, which the guests took in before taking their seats. To render his art, Hidalgo was given only the colors included in the dish and the main ingredient.

The tasting kicked off with an amuse bouche dedicated to Neaton’s father who had recently passed. The dish was plated uniquely, an elegant swirl of ricotta was centered on an otherwise bare white plate and the meatball sat to the side in a shot glass. Heather Buckman of Wilmington, an attendee on Saturday night said, “It was a touching and intimate moment when the chef came out to explain the loss of his father and that his meatballs were his favorite. You don’t get that kind of intimate dining experience and a connection with the person preparing the food you’re about to eat in a restaurant.”

Pop-Up Art Dinner - RH Gallery & Studios - Hockessin, Delaware - Social Stylate

The courses that followed were a mash up of the best of what Neaton has learned from his mentors along the way: the first, a lemon, tarragon and butter poached lobster tail accompanied by a frisee salad and buddhapalm, sauvignon blanc gold-flecked gel cubes and topped with a tarragon and lemon puree. The second, Neaton’s wild card and to his surprise the crowd favorite, was an orange velvet carrot ginger soup adorned with a single roasted purple carrot and finished with a yellow carrot puree, smoked walnuts, a punchy red chili oil and garnished with micro carrot tops. A butternut squash caramelli came third, in beautiful thrown clay bowls by local artist Tim Austin. The dish was a nod to Neaton’s first mentor Chef Mike O’Hare, owner of Gennaro’s in Aston, PA, and was topped with a piece of butternut squash ‘paper’ he created with a slow dehydration process.

Pop-Up Art Dinner - RH Gallery & Studios - Hockessin, Delaware - Social Stylate

Fourth was a filet paired with a port cherry cream sauce, celery root puree, a bruleed leek, shallots and a black garlic and cherry puree. A pan seared duck breast came fifth atop a truffle scented soubise sauce, local trumpet mushrooms, a roasted chipollini onion, port wine foam and a crisp parsnip. A single spoon of pineapple and aloe was served as a palette cleanser, and then came dessert. A goat cheese cheesecake with an ‘everything bagel’ crust paired with a gooseberry jam and the finale: Neaton’s take on a KitKat bar — a triple stacked bar of chocolate mousse, chocolate ganashe and a chocolate feuilletine blend, adorned with a white chocolate disk and paired with orange butter sauce. The guests enjoyed seeing Hidalgo’s interpretation of each dish as the courses were served. Seven 7×7 squares hung opposite the guests and showcased Hidalgo’s artistic interpretation of each dish. Each piece was mixed media with resin and acrylic on wood panel. Eric Starrett of Chadds Ford, also a Saturday attendee said, “Sitting at a dining table in the middle of an art gallery, surrounded by white walls, bright light and art and being served incredibly creative food while enjoying an artist’s interpretation of a culinary dish was so engaging and thought provoking. And the food blew me away.”

Pop-Up Art Dinner - RH Gallery & Studios - Hockessin, Delaware - Social Stylate

Neaton and Hidalgo, both self-taught, created the event as a celebration of their decade long friendship and to honor how far they’ve have come in their respective crafts. Neaton, having come from a troubled past, started out as a dishwasher more than a decade ago and worked his way up, attributing his love of cooking with getting his life back on track. Hidalgo opened RH Gallery in the summer of 2017, and his work has been featured at The Delaware Contemporary, Chris White Gallery, and The Moving Parts Collective at The Mill Space among others. RH Gallery & Studios, a stone’s throw away from the upscale New American restaurant and Hockessin gem The House of William and Merry, hosts monthly art exhibits featuring local artists.

Neaton was incredibly grateful to his Longwood family for their support of the event. Chefs William Brown and Matthew Anderson, respectively, both of Longwood, were especially supportive, helping in the kitchen and attending the event. Also, among the guests were Kenneth Warner of Longwood, Brian Kimble of Winterthur, and Mexican eatery El Diablo co-owner Roger Andrews. Photographer David Heitur of Wilmington photographed the event.

For more information or if you would like to get on the list for tickets to the next pop-up email: artdinnerpopup@gmail.com

FacebookTwitterPinterest

February Mood Board

February Moodboard - Social Stylate

Hello, Julie here! I’m Social Stylate’s Graphic Designer. Check out what’s inspiring us in February 2018 with our mood board!

The bleakness of winter was in full swing in January of 2018; short, frigid, dry, gray days. Now that February is here, we’re ready to be warmed up with some inspiration! The first buds of spring are just around the corner! Soon it will be above 65 degrees! We can practically feel the sun on our (well cared for) skin! We’ve got just a little ways to go, so in the meantime we are warming up with some Valentine’s goodies: buff pink flowers, romantic gelato jaunts, a tart red lip. Our February mood board features fashion highlights, tasty treats, and a little hint of warmth in anticipation for spring.

Nothing says “new” like New York Fashion Week! This year our fashion muses and gurus gave us futuristic street styles (two words: moon boots), romantic ruching, unconventional fabrics, fringe, feathers … and fanny packs! We’re ready to bust out of our winter coat cocoons and try some new looks! Now, prior to cocoon-busting activities, our skin needs a little love. Kindred Skincare Co. is here to rescue our dry, chapped, winter-beaten skin with their line of natural, oil based skincare. We’re madly in love with their new products: La Femme Body Oil and Bâton Rosé; they are quick-absorbing and gentle. We’re all the more eager to show off our sumptuously moisturized skin! For a pop of color, we rely on the girls at Houppette to keep us looking oh-so-chic and this month they have us all hooked on Bare Minerals Statement Matte Liquid Lipstick. (Our favorite shades are OMG, Shameless and Luxe!)

Wintertime inspires us to cozy up in our comfiest loungewear, wrapped up in our fuzziest blanket. We love a good night (or day… or week) in. But when a Valentine’s date or an outing with friends comes up, we’re bundling up and heading out! Cabin Fever is real! We’ve been loving Caffe Gelato in Newark for its cozy atmosphere and Italian fare — and the artisan gelato, of course! Our February mood is thawing out as we get ready for spring. We’re finding joy in indulging in some self-care, discovering fashion inspiration in our own closets, and stepping out for some tasty new experiences as we anticipate the season to come.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

Chatting With: Kathy Warden of TableArt & KPW Productions

Chatting With: Kathy Warden of TableArt Events & KPW Productions - Social Stylate

Our client, Kathy Warden of TableArt and KPW Productions, does more than plan weddings, she designs events that awaken all of the senses. Here we chat with Kathy about starting her business, the difference between event planning and event design, and tips for couples in the planning process.

1. When and how did you realize you wanted to start planning and designing events?
After five years in the catering business and running a kitchen, I realized that my passion lied in making the event look beautiful and creating a wonderful guest experience; i.e. coordinating all the details of a wedding. Food is one piece of the puzzle; music, flowers, lighting are also important elements of event design and coordination. I love flowers and creating beautiful spaces and memorable moments.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a planner?
I love getting to know our couples personal style, taste and vision for their wedding and putting together a team of vendors that will be the best to produce an unforgettable experience for their family and friends. I love the coordination between the design and the overall orchestration of a wedding.

3. You have a sister company, KPW Productions. What is the difference between the two?
KPW Productions was launched as a planning company. We focus on planning all the details of your wedding from venue and vendor selection, overall management of the wedding planning process setting forth deadlines for decision making, budget management, as well as scripting the wedding day weekend and management during the weekend. TableArt is the design company that focuses on creativity and innovation to celebrate our clients personal style and taste. TableArt designs beautiful weddings with exquisite flower arrangements and lighting design.

4. What sets TableArt/KPW Productions apart from ​other planning companies?
Many planners hire a decorator to design and execute their client’s weddings and there are many wedding designers/florists that do not provide wedding planning services.

KPW Productions and TableArt work together to orchestrate all the minute details of wedding planning and design: securing vendors, coordinating meetings and deadlines, and creating a master script for the wedding weekend, plus we focus on the design of the event: selecting linens, flowers, ceremony design and bridal party flowers. Many clients actually have a hard time understanding the difference between design and planning. It is similar to the difference between an architect, builder and interior designer. We are all of those things under one roof for weddings.

5. What is one piece of advice you have for couples in the wedding planning process?
From the beginning, define your priorities; this will help you in the decision making process when you start to interview vendors and have to make big decisions that will affect your budget. What is most important to you: venue, band, flowers, photography, fashion or food?

6. What’s the most important factor a couple needs to consider when planning a destination wedding?
I think there are three: guest list, travel logistics and price.

7. How do you recommend a couple personalize a space?​
This largely depends on the couples event budget. The combination of linens and flowers can add personality and style to a blank space.

8. What wedding trends never go out of style?
Simply beautiful, natural, and elegant..classic elegance will never die.

For more on TableArt & KPW Productions, visit them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flutter Social.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

Boss Lady: Trisha Okubo

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Trisha Okubo, the founder of Maison Miru jewelry, an online boutique based out of the West Village in New York City. Trisha believes jewelry is love made visible and Maison Miru’s pieces are all made by Trisha and with love.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady -Social Stylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
A career is like a play, with multiple acts. You have multiple storylines, characters large and small that can alter the trajectory of your path, and adventure awaits you at every crossroads, if you choose to accept it. Act One of my career was living a real (less glamorous, but not much less ridiculous) version of the HBO series Silicon Valley. I learned the ropes at digital media and e-commerce companies, in large and small in roles that spanned business development to product management to business operations. I grew up in Silicon Valley, a stone’s throw from Apple Computer, and technology dominates the culture so heavily that it seemed the natural thing to do after graduation. But while I liked what I did, I didn’t love it in the way I wanted to. After one particularly trying day, I unwound at Cafe Venetia, my favorite cafe on University Avenue in Palo Alto, with a pot of Ryokucha tea and a slice of chocolate crunch cake. I sketched out what I wanted my life to look like in 15 years: a time period where everything still seemed possible, but still time-bound in a reasonable way. It looked nothing like my current life, and in that moment, I knew I had to make a change. I ended up quitting my job for a “gap year” – and did all of the things I wanted to do in life. I travelled all around the world, took cooking classes (my soup dumpling game still needs work, alas), learned how to make shoes (I did a fashion design degree back in college, but I had never done accessories), and started learning how to make jewelry. I knew right away that I was on to something with jewelry. I usually flit from project to project (I’m told that I get bored very easily!), but I can wire in when I’m at a jewelry bench and work for hours on end. (This, by the way, is great for things like stone setting, but terrible for my back! I see my chiropractor so often that I count him as a friend.) . So when friends – and strangers – started coming up to me and asking where I got my jewelry, I took the plunge, opened up a little online boutique, and started Act Two of my career.

2. What prompted you to start Maison Miru?
The jewelry that I loved–elegant, delicate pieces that you can wear everyday–either existed in the luxury space (hello, solid gold and diamonds!) or at the low end of the market (aka the jewelry you can wear a few times before it tarnishes or breaks). What I wanted but couldn’t find out there was high quality jewelry that I could wear everyday at a price that was fair and affordable. Also, I have a bit of a confession: I’m a champion loser of jewelry. I love the look of delicate, tiny pieces, and I can tell you from experience that these are the easiest to lose. So it was super important to make sure that the pieces were affordable – so that if something happened to disappear at an onsen in Japan, or slipped off somewhere on the Paris metro, it wasn’t going to ruin the rest of my holiday!

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

3. Did you find the transition from the tech industry to the jewelry industry to be challenging?
Surprisingly, I found the transition from working as a part of a large team toworking on my own to be a bigger challenge than transitioning industries. It turns out that a lot of the skills I had honed in Act One of my career – project management, designing customer experiences, and logistics/operations – all were relevant in my new life. There’s a ton that I had to learn from scratch – I had never done product development with physical goods, nor had I done any marketing, and despite my business undergrad degree, I’m not a bookkeeping whiz. Let’s just say that it’s amazing what you can learn on the Internet! But my confession is that I sometimes (and more often that you’d think) miss my cubicle life. At least at coffee o’clock, when I wish I had my work buddies around to go dish with.

4. How did you come up with the name, Maison Miru?
The word Miru in Japanese means “to seed” – and that’s what I hope Maison Miru does for you at a foundational level. Jewelry is love made visible, and it can open your eyes to the world, to love, and the good that’s out there….even in these trying times.

5. What is your most successful form of marketing?
Instagram has been amazing for Maison Miru, and that’s where most ladies hear about us. I know it’s a big leap to try a new brand, so I’m running a limited time promotion to get the word out about the Maison Miru Ear Bar – a pair of our signature Tiny Crystal Studs in Gold for the price of shipping. It’s an easy way to see and feel the quality of the earrings without a whole lot of risk. Also, the ladies I’ve met on Instagram have been so incredibly kind – maybe it’s just that jewelry people are good people, but they’ve been helping spread the word on their own – sisters share with their sisters, mothers gift their daughters, daughters buy for Mom, and brides have been spreading the word to their bridal party. I’ve been truly humbled by the love.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

6. Why do you aim for your partners to be either small, local, or businesses run by women?
I love collaborating with people who love to give it their all – people who go the extra mile to do beautiful work – and I find that businesses who are small, local or businesses run by women are more often my kind of people.

7. How do you ensure you’re getting the best version of your products out to your clients?
It’s about being rigorous every step of the way. I prototype and prototype to perfect the designs – the shape, the size, the weight, how each piece lays. And then I use high quality materials to make these designs a reality. One of my goals is to create affordable, beautiful jewelry safe for ladies with skin sensitivities, and I’ve iterated with my factory and my metal plater to systematically avoid metals (e.g. nickel) that commonly cause these sensitivities. I also personally do quality assurance before I place the jewelry into thick plastic baggies designed to preserve the longevity of the jewelry. I love doing good things and letting them speak for themselves.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

8. What personal and/or business goals have you set for 2018?
My list of 2018 goals is unrealistically long, and I’m told, somewhat nonsensical! At the top of my list is a somewhat non-specific goal of putting out more net good in the world. One of the random things I designed last year was a series of love notes – little cards with sayings like “I Believe in You and Pie”. I really just made them so I could send silly messages to my friends, but I started sending them out to customers, just for fun. And they’ve been sharing them with the ladies they love – BFFs, sisters, daughters, moms. I love that these notes helped bring people together for a smile – and I want to do more things like this in 2018. Another completely different goal is perfecting my chocolate game. I have wayyyyyy too many interests, one of which is making chocolate from bean to bar. Amongst all of the jewelry equipment in the apartment, I somehow also have a cocoa bean roaster, a grinder, and a melanger to make chocolate from scratch (and a very understanding husband!). I’m constantly trying to refine my roasting game and tweak the chocolate to be as delicious as possible. Does this also count as putting out more net good in the world?

9. What advice would you offer to other self-starters and those who hope to start their own business?
Stop hoping to start your own business: just start your business. Nobody ever feels ready to make the jump – but if entrepreneurship is for you, you’ll surprise yourself with how fast you’ll learn, and how creative you’ll be about solving problems and making things work. I prefer to live with no regrets, and by starting my own business, I never have to wonder about what might have been.

Just for Fun…
Best purchase you ever made: Most recently, the Everlane Cashmere Sweatpants. They’re so comfy and luxurious, and I wear them everywhere. I love them so much that I bought three pairs.
Favorite movie: I’m more of a series kind of gal, as I love the character development you get over time, and my all time favorite has to be The West Wing. I just think life would be better if everyone spoke as intelligently and as quickly as they do on an Aaron Sorkin show. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
The perfect Saturday includes: Friends and family, tea and cake. And pie. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to also be locked in a room with a litter of kittens. (I volunteer at the shelter, so free snuggles for me!)
Best thing about living in NYC: I’m a night owl, so I love that NYC is the city that never sleeps. Turns out you don’t have to either, if you choose to accept the challenge! You can get 2am pizza (hello, Joe’s), and the fact that you can truly get anything delivered here has taught me the unfortunate (but delicious) lesson that pie can always come to you.
You’d jump for joy if you saw this person wearing Maison Miru: Joan Didion. I believe that jewelry is love made visible, and I also feel the same thing about her work. She has such a depth to her soul, and it’s that kind of energy that I would love to capture with my designs.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Moodboard - Boss Lady -Social Stylate

For more on Trisha:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

FacebookTwitterPinterest