This blog supposedly has the underlying theme of music but sometimes I deviate to include travel, art, and today, food. For seventeen years, Chef George Mavrosalassitis, a James Beard winner whose Honolulu restaurant, Chef Mavro, has been awarded a five-diamond star rating for six years in a row, presented a dinner for supporters of Hawaii Public Radio. You remember that I was asked to speak on the radio last month during the fundraising campaign?
The restaurant normally has an elegant, subdued atmosphere, but filled with 70 public radio fans who took over the whole restaurant, the noise was deafening, and you had to shout across the table to the strangers sitting with you. It was the last Chef Mavro dinner for HPR president Michael Titterton before he retires.
The real star of the evening, though, is the food, beautifully presented, each one a work of art in both taste and appearance. Chef Mavro described each course just before it was served, and then the wine sommelier described each wine. I tried to take a picture of the menu card but had difficulty getting all of it. I guess I should have used the panoramic option on my iPhone!
As I said before, I was seated at a table with people I had never seen before but we quickly started to make conversation. The woman sitting across from me was a real estate broker and her husband was a psychiatrist. Seated next to me was a woman who was one of the tireless HPR volunteers answering the phone to take your pledge. Over the course of the evening we talked about our devotion to public radio, our careers, our travels and our families.
Instead of presenting all my photos as a slideshow, you can view each one here and savor every delicious morsel. It is hard to say which one was my favorite! I was so proud of myself because I was brave enough to try all the wine pairings and believe it or not, I did not feel full afterwards, mostly because the dinner started at 6:30 and I did not return home until well after 10:00pm! At one point, my dinner companion looked at his watch and said, “Hmmm… Two hours have gone by and we have gone through only two courses!”
One tidbit I learned was that the second course, swordfish, is named “shutome” in Hawaiian cuisine, also called the mother-in-law fish. Chef Mavro said that the world over, in all languages, there are mother-in-law jokes but he declined to tell any. The woman who sat next to me guessed that it is called the mother-in-law fish because of its pointed snout, jabbing out at its victims. Heavens! I hope my daughter-in-law, Jessica, doesn’t think of me in this way!
With altogether six courses and five wines plus champagne, we all guessed that the restaurant had a boatload of stemware to wash. Just at our table of four people, we used 24 glasses! It reminded me of the many parties that are held at The Marble Palace in the Sky (aka Chez Crosier) with so many pieces of stemware to wash afterwards. I told my dinner companions about Carl’s last Christmas dinner for our condo floor, a feast called The Twelve Tastes of Christmas, which had twelve courses. It took me three days afterwards to wash all the dishes!
At last night’s dinner, with each course we also got new silverware, either knife and fork, or fork and spoon. So there was a ton of silverware to wash, too. I’m assuming the restaurant has a high-capacity dishwasher!
All in all, it was a five-star evening, and all in support of Hawaii Public Radio, which has done so much for the classical music community. As I said on the radio, we who are in the smaller niches like organ and choral music, can always count on HPR to help publicize our events by airing interviews with our guest artists. Early Music Hawaii, the American Guild of Organists, and the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, have greatly benefited by having such a fine public radio station in our community.
Two years ago was the last time I went to the Springtime in Provence dinner, and it was with my sister, Margo. People said that they noticed an uncanny resemblance!