Cari worked with Feast Portland to showcase Pineau des Charentes at a trade-focused lunch. Guests learned more about this fortified wine at a neat tasting station conducted by Pineau des Charentes certified ambassador Hoke Harden and sipped on cocktails designed by ambassador and acclaimed bartender Ms. Franky Marshall, all while savoring food pairings crafted by Solo Club's Chef Dustin Clark. Abundant tasting stations featuring selections from both land and sea drew inspiration from the Charentes' terroir, and a spread of sweet delicacies revealed the complexities and many subtleties of Pineau des Charentes. (photo by Cheryl Juetten)
Culinaria | Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
Cari worked with Disjecta Contemporary Art Center as a culinary consultant and event producer for Culinaria (Art + Food + Community), an exhibition and series of dinners thatpairs artists and chefs to create unique community events, providing opportunities for collaboration, creative risk-taking, and the exchange of new ideas between two very different creative realms.
Hands-On Classes | Feast Portland
Cari worked with Feast Portland, one of the country's top food festivals, to produce hands-on classes in 2017 and 2018: Inside the Test Kitchen, featuring behind-the-scenes information on recipe development and editorial decisions from the editors of Bon Appetit magazine; Ice Cream Social: The Easy, No-Fuss Way with Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52; Pie Goals with culinary influencers at Tillamook Portland Outpost; and On Common Ground: Exploring Oregon/Washington Cross Border AVAs with Washington State Wines. (photo by Cheryl Juetten)
GLOW: a pop-up art bar | Portland Winter Light Festival
Cari worked with the Portland Winter Light Festival to produce Glow, a pop-up art bar in industrial inner SE. The unique pop-up experience featured dynamic lighting and art installations, music, and a bar and lounge where festival goers could have a drink and relax for a moment before heading on to the next festival site. On display was the projection artwork of Larry Yes, and a mesmerizing light wall by Josh Kottler of PXLMatrix. (photo by Hamid Shibata Bennett)
Behind the Brand: A Maker's Journey | Portland Culinary Alliance
As a board member of the Portland Culinary Alliance, Cari led the team in producing the organization’s inaugural Behind the Brand: A Maker’s Journey educational event. The panel brought together some of Portland’s most innovative culinary entrepreneurs to share a behind-the-scenes look at how they launched their business and the challenges and rewards along the way. (photo by Kara Stokes)
Full Spectrum | Portland Winter Light Festival
Cari worked with the Portland Winter Light Festival to produce Full Spectrum, a benefit for the organization. The event featured incredible light art, a live fire dinner by Proletariat Butchery, an unforgettable musical performance by Tuvan throat singer Soriah, and the unveiling of the 2019 PDXWLF artist roster. (photo by Hamid Shibata Bennett)
Florida's Southern Supper | Friends of James Beard Benefit
We partnered with six Florida chefs who teamed up for a Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner held in downtown Jacksonville’s historic Marble Banking Building. Florida’s Sunday Supper spotlighted the many flavors of the South, while donating proceeds to the James Beard Foundation and a $2,500 culinary scholarship to Florida State College at Jacksonville’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. We transformed the vacant and industrial space to welcome 160 guests for a six-course dinner experience. Celebrating the diverse yet kindred flavors woven through the many states that represent the “culinary South,” each dish highlighted regional inspiration that resonated with each chef personally.
Valentines in Verona | Jacksonville Symphony
We worked with the Jacksonville Symphony for the second year in a row to produce their annual gala, which is one of the premier fundraising events in Northeast Florida. Because the event fell on Valentine’s Day weekend, the orchestra performed a number of Romeo and Juliet pieces with visiting superstar pianist Lang Lang under the direction of conductor Courtney Lewis. Guests enjoyed live music from a number of musicians throughout the evening and enjoyed a three-course candlelit Italian-inspired dinner with wine pairings in an opulent tent setting decked out in romantic, dramatic decor.
Ramenfest | The Doro District
We transformed The Doro District, a raw warehouse space in downtown Jacksonville, into a scene from the Tokyo underground for Jacksonville's first and only Ramenfest. The pop-up event featured ramen from nine of the region's best chefs, with representatives from the Jacksonville Japanese School serving on a judging panel. Guests were entertained by TOMBOi and enjoyed a karaoke lounge experience.
The Chef's Canvas Release | The Cummer Museum or Art & Gardens
We produced the release event for The Chef's Canvas cookbook at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. We were excited to use The Legend Series' position in the culinary community to raise awareness about The Chef's Canvas, and to make a donation to the Museum. The goal of the event was to provide a forum for chefs who participated in the cookbook project to showcase the dishes they submitted and to allow guests to experience in person both the dishes and the art works that inspired them. The event featured an elegant 10-course seated dinner and a live action art installation.
The Late, Late Show | Feast Portland
We worked with Feast Portland, one of the country's premier food festivals, to produce The Late, Late Show: Adventures in Takeout in the heart of SE Division Street's restaurant row. The event featured creative renditions of late night classics by esteemed chefs from Portland and across the country.
Russkaya Noch | Jacksonville Symphony
With a new, young conductor, new branding, a new website and new initiatives to engage the next generation of music lovers, the Jacksonville Symphony was full of energy and excitement. We were hired to produce their first-ever annual gala event and knew we had to craft an unexpected, world-class experience so patrons could experience first-hand this new era of the Symphony. Taking inspiration from guest violinist Joshua Bell's performance, we named the gala Russkaya Noch and implemented a Russian theme by flying down balailaka musicians from NYC and serving guests a 3-course Russian-inspired meal with thoughtful wine pairings.
Slow Down | Slow Food First Coast
We worked with Slow Food First Coast to produce their Slow Down event at Intuition Ale Works three years in a row. The Slow Down featured local restaurants, farmers and artisans that espouse the ideals of the organization's prestigious Snail of Approval award. It was a food fair of sorts, with locally-crafted brews and delicious appetizers featuring fresh, local ingredients. The Slow Down provided an opportunity for guests to meet the Slow Food First Coast Board members, chefs, farmers and artisans and get to know where our local food and drink comes from. The Slow Down sold out every year and was one of the organization's major fundraisers.
Sunday Asado | The Glass Factory
We hosted an authentic, all-you-can-eat, pop-up Argentine asado at The Glass Factory, which was designed and built in 1936 by Henry John Klutho who helped in the reconstruction of Jacksonville after the Great Fire of 1901. The chefs slow-roasted cordero patagonico and ojo de bife over an open fire and we had live entertainment by Jax English Salsa Band.
Oktoberfest | Intuition Ale Works
We worked with local craft brewery Intuition Ale Works to produce one of Jacksonville's first ever Oktoberfest celebrations. The goal that first year, and for the four years since, was to have the most authentic Oktoberfest in Northeast Florida. To that end, we hired an 8-piece oompah band, brewed German beers for the occasion, strictly served Bavarian fare, encouraged dirndl and liederhosen and hosted traditional German games and feats of strength.
Riverside Craft Beer Fest | Rotary Club of Riverside
We helped kicked off the first Riverside Craft Beer Fest, which is now the major annual fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Riverside and draws thousands of craft beer-lovers from across Northeast Florida. We were instrumental in planning the event for the first two years and were involved in everything from event concept, sponsorships, promotions, volunteer management and execution.
Family Foodie Fare | Jax Mom's Blog
We were excited to work with Jax Mom's Blog and Jacksonville Magazine to produce Family Foodie Fare, a culinary fair at Engine 15 brewery that featured kid-centric tasting portions from a number of Northeast Florida's best restaurants. Appearances by Disney princesses along with a plethora of children's activities and live music kept both adults and kids entertained.
Love Feast | Sadler Point Marina
We transformed a raw warehouse space at the Sadler Point Marina into a pop-up food fair featuring Northeast Florida's best chefs, an interactive portrait project and more in partnership with SKYY Vodka. One hundred percent of ticket sales and bar sales went to the Better Together Fund in response to the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Blues, Brews & BBQ | The Florida Theatre
We worked with The Florida Theatre to produce Blues, Brews & BBQ in celebration of the landmark theatre's 32nd anniversary as a nonprofit organization. The fundraising event featured fare from a number of our city's best barbecue establishments, blues performances on the stage and unlimited craft beer from an assortment of Northeast Florida's breweries.
The Legend Series One | Intuition Ale Works
The first event in The Legend Series took place at Intuition Ale Works in 2011. The dining table was set in the middle of the fermentation tanks and each course was paired with both beer from Intuition and wine from event sponsor Vibrant Rioja. Philip Pan, concertmaster of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, arranged original music inspired by each course. A highlight of the evening was Chef Tom Gray accompanying Philip on cowbell to Hugh Masekela’s Grazing in the Grass.
The Legend Series Two | Old Ford Assembly Plant
The Legend Series Two took place at the abandoned Old Ford Assembly Plant under the Mathews Bridge. We took inspiration from the truly underground nature of the event and served a Prohibition-era Italian menu. Entertainment for the evening was The Mast, a band brought to Jacksonville from Brooklyn, NY by Atypical Arts.
The Legend Series Three | Brumos Collection
The third event in The Legend Series took place at the Brumos Collection, a private car museum in Jacksonville. We wanted to balance the masculinity of the museum, so each course included a masculine and a feminine take on the same dish. The entertainment followed suit -- we brought in ballerinas from First Coast Ballet for a surprise performance midway through the meal in order to highlight the masculine / feminine dichotomy.
The Legend Series Four | The Florida Theatre
The Legend Series Four took place at the historic Florida Theatre in the heart of downtown Jacksonville during the holiday season. Guests dined on the stage and singers from First Coast Opera performed from the balcony, making for a role reversal of sorts. Each course drew inspiration from the chefs' family holiday traditions.
The Legend Series Five | Dee Dot Timberlands
The fifth event in The Legend Series took place at Dee Dot Timberlands, a private ranch in Jacksonville. The event was in partnership with Jim Draper and his Feast of Flowers project. The meats for the seated dinner were hunted at Dee Dot Timberlands and the greens, herbs and spices were foraged in the woods and wilds of Northeast Florida by Asheville-based wildharvesters Katrina Zoe Norbom and Eric Hawes. Guests were entertained by modern dance group Braided Light Dance Project, who performed on handcrafted canoes in the center of a lake.
The Legend Series Six | Yates Parking Garage
The Legend Series Six took place in the Yates Parking Garage in partnership with One Spark. To tie the event to the festival, chefs themed their dishes on the creator categories of Art, Music, Science and Technology. Guests were entertained by DJ NickFRESH, and the Main Ingredientz Crew warmed up the dance floor with their b-boy style. Artist Michael Arthur from New York City drew the event in real-time and his pen and ink drawings were projected onto a screen for guests to enjoy during dinner.
The Legend Series Seven | Evergreen Cemetery
We hosted The Legend Series Seven at Evergreen Cemetery on the night of a full moon the weekend before Halloween. Upon arrival, guests experienced an interpretive historical tour of the cemetery organized by the Jacksonville Historical Society. The chefs drew inspiration from local menus dating to the turn of the twentieth century, the era in which many of Jacksonville's most prominent citizens were buried at Evergreen. Guests were entertained by Robin Rutenberg and Naarah Strokosch who played classic songs, post-modern arrangements and improvised sounds crafted specifically for the event. Horse-drawn carriages took guests on a candlelit nighttime tour of the cemetery at the conclusion of dinner.
The Legend Series Eight | Barnett Bank Building
The eighth event in The Legend Series took place at The Barnett Building in the Laura Street Trio during the second annual One Spark festival. We made sure to incorporate "sparkles" into all aspects of this black tie event: tables were dressed with sequined runners, guests were given sparklers, poi dancers entertained from the balcony and most importantly, all dishes were paired exclusively with sparkling wine. Musicians from Ritz Chamber Players entertained guests throughout dinner.
The Legend Series Nine | White Oak
The Legend Series Nine took place at White Oak, a sprawling, forested conservation center which houses 34 imperiled species. Rhinoceros, okapi, and cheetah form the core of their flagship species approach to conservation, which has a goal of saving some of the world's most iconic species from extinction. Guests went on a progressive dining "safari" of the property, stopping to sip champagne among zebras and nibble on appetizers overlooking a group of rhinos. An African percussion group called Tam-Tam congo entertained guests with interactive drumming and dancing.
The Legend Series Ten | Congaree & Penn
We created a vintage circus atmosphere at Congaree & Penn farm for The Legend Series Ten. Over the course of the event guests were entertained by stilt walkers, fire breathers, jugglers, contortionists, aerialists and a burlesque performance. They also enjoyed hay rides and carnival-inspired fare inside a massive quonset hut structure.