The hosts called this a "Summer Shrimp Cocktail." It was shrimp served on something like gazpacho, which was deep and flavorful. The little melon pieces wrapped in prosciutto were refreshing, too.
Sometimes you just get lucky! That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago when I got to be a “fill in” for a dinner that had been auctioned off by Knox Heritage.
I got to be the “date” of Knox Heritage Executive Director Kim Trent when her pal Dorothy Stair had to back out due to a conflict. Yay, me. The dinner was called “Four Flights Up” and it was a team project to design a dinner to be eaten on every floor of Bill and Gay Lyons’ interesting condo at Kendrick Place in downtown Knoxville.
The host committee was carefully chosen to be a perfect combination of talents: Gay Lyons and Vicki Baumgartner, both of whom have catering experience, were in charge of food; Dennis Perkins, a cocktail expert, was in charge of libations; Sam George, of Samuel Franklin’s Floral and Home, did table styling; and his buddy Cliff Wright came up from Atlanta to help serve.
The guests arrived at the appointed time and were directed to “the mews,” a unique and charming brick alleyway that divides two sets of Kendrick Place condos. There we found our first course: a distinctive cheese and fruit plate and two signature cocktails: cucumber martinis and gin mojitos.
Dennis Perkins staffs a table set up in the mews to dispense cheese, fruit and liquid refreshments.
Here is what a cucumber martini looks like, in case you were wondering. It is garnished with pickled grapes!
Two of the guests were Lindsay and Jim McDonough.
Kim Trent tries (and likes!) a gin mojito.
Sunflowers always lend a cheery element.
After we had gathered and enjoyed our welcome, we were directed around the back of the Lyons’ condo, where lovely tall tables were set up in the brick driveway.
This put us on the second level of the condo, one level up from the mews. That's where we had that great shrimp dish pictured at the top of this blog. I just loved this course!
Kathleen and Peter Finch were two of the guests.
Here is Gay in an apron for a catering firm she used to own, describing the dish to us.
After the wonderful shrimp dish, we were ushered inside (up a few steps) for the main course.
Here is one of the two entree tables. More happy sunflowers.
Cliff served us some wonderful bread.
And Dennis brought out some red wine that literally made our mouths water.
The entree was pork scallopini and summer squash risotto with green bean "tepees." It was as delicious as it was beautiful.
Here's a closer look at that "tepee." We understand Vicki is the one with the patience to make these happen!
Then, in an unusual interlude, we started climbing stairs and stopped in the master bedroom where lemon sorbet was served on the king-sized bed!
Very creative presentation!
Peter tries one.
Here's a closeup of lemon sorbet served in frozen lemon cups.
Jim and Margaret Samples. He's the one who actually bid on the dinner at the Knox Heritage auction. Thanks, Jim!
When we made it to the roof for dessert, night had fallen. Here are Jim and Kim.
It was a lovely evening for chatting on the roof.
Kim made a few remarks.
Which Margaret and Kathleen clearly enjoyed!
And then, one of my favorite of the desserts Gay makes: meringue gateau.
Dessert was served with framboise, raspberry flavors to go with the chocolate and raspberry in the dessert. Perfect.
The centerpieces on the rooftop tables were these exotic orchids.
We even got lovely parting gifts courtesy of Samuel Franklin's.
It was delicate potpourri called, "The Smell of Spring."
Our hosts took a bow. From left, Dennis Perkins, Cliff Wright, Vicki Baumgartner, Sam George and Gay Lyons. Thanks so much!