Dr. John Church has retired from his plastic surgery practice and is keeping busy by climbing volcanoes in Nicaragua and Guatemala. (Before this, he climbed mountains – like the Aconcaqua and the Pico do Orizaba – all over the U.S. and South America. He definitely needed a celebration to honor his achievements, so Luis Colmenares, John Rowland of Hospitality Catering and I got together. We started with a small volcano that Luis would create for the front of the house, but as you can see, it turned into a two-story creation with lava-like lighting, smoke and glowing rocks flowing from the top of the volcano! Luis even covered the walkway and painted stones so you felt that you were walking up the mountain yourself.
Once inside, the table had another volcano as the centerpiece and an incredible menu that included Crescent City steak bites and petite wild mushroom chevre cakes to start; with Louisiana paella with shrimp, crawfish, crab, chicken and chorizo sausage; blackened chicken orzo pasta; forestiere salad; and Gruyère soufflé for the main course.
I decorated several tables so that guests could choose where to sit and then serve themselves. Director Miles Mumford created a video of the climbs in Guatemala and Nicaragua so we could imagine that we were there, too! I handed out maracas to everyone for favors, and with those and tambourines we danced around to the juke box all night and then went outside to watch the volcano glowing under the stars.
We are getting ready to host more volcano parties soon, so stay tuned!