That’s a mouthful of a post title, I know. But last night was like my own little miracle. Full to the brim with lessons in the value of community, family, determination, hard work, laughter, and star anise cake.

Our New Guard dinners are still an unexpected gift to me. From a humble lunch date with Whitney, I never knew how far this project would go. It has won awards, been attended by a seriously intimidating list of talented humans, and been talked about by some of my favorite tastemakers in town. I don’t know what I expected – lovely evenings, for sure – but nothing so heartwarming and fulfilling.

Sunday I was in the middle of a shoot when I got word that Whitney was in the hospital, and wouldn’t be there for our fourth dinner. This is, basically, a deal-breaker. Whitney constantly takes on the lion’s share of the work, knows every detail about how the event comes together. I spoke for Joey + myself when I said that Whit is our conjurer, we just get to be an extension of the magic. Lo and behold, her mother [the esteemed Kim Ricketts, a force of nature herself] and her best friend/collaborator Maggie Savarino came and saved the day. Along with an army of help they recruited – Mari, Carrie, Mike, Hannah, countless more – they summoned every necessary detail from thin air. It helped that the event was held at Sole Repair, staffed by Grace Hoffman + her incredibly wonderful team. [Shout out to Hannah my sweet multitasking bartender extraordinaire!]

New Guard’s success last night speaks to the amount of people who love Whitney, who love this community of artists and chefs and musicians and madmen. I’m humbled to be a part of it, and I loved every minute I spent running around in my apron. It was the hardest I’ve worked in a long time, and at the end you could still find me dancing + giddy with my best friend. To the people I got the chance to chat with – Joe, Michael, Dan, Wynn, Katie, Amy, Laurie, Beth, Missy, Chad, Nikole, Tilson, my other Beth, Jen, Bethany, my Sportn’ Life family DeVon + Jen, so many more – I adore you. To those I didn’t get to chat with – I wish there were more hours in the night. I adore you all! And to my dearest Damien… I love that you stand by my side, even when that means hiding in a cozy booth with the band.

In addition to the many shout outs above, I want to share my deep appreciation for the evening’s talent, the reason we all gather to celebrate. Art by Jason Hirata, food by Joshua Henderson + Skillet, music by Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground. To even begin to talk about the wonder these people created would be a thousand words unto itself; and this is supposed to be about the photos. The fact that you worked so hard to print, hang, prep, cook, sing, perform, and all around awe everyone in attendance… that is why we all do this.

To Joey and Whitney… i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


Wait until you see what we have planned for February…