Dining so fine, it’s in-Humane

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From left, Guillermo Trejo with fellow artist Dave Cooper at the charity art auction held Thursday, August 30, 2012, at Patrick Gordon Framing. (Photo by Caroline Phillips)

Finally, a party where I could drop the line, “What’s new, pussycat?” Too bad the green-eyed object of my affection reacted with indifference through the glass window of his cat quarters at the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS).

Last Sunday’s summer harvest garden party was held at and for the humane society in memory of Kurt Waldele, a highly respected Ottawa chef and longtime supporter. His wife, Dr. Suzanne Beauchemin, attended the party, held at the West Hunt Club Road facility.

Chefs from 20 establishments served up their best chow for a crowd of 200-plus. The fundraiser, which hauled in $35,000, also saw the culinary community donate many desirable dining experiences to the auction.

The support was a testament to the respect and admiration held for Waldele, who passed away three years ago following his battle with cancer. “There isn’t a kitchen in Ottawa that doesn’t carry the influence of Chef Waldele,” said Robin Duetta, who organized the event with the likes of Nicole Paradis from C.A. Paradis.

The culinary event attracted the PM’s wife, Laureen Harper. She’s an OHS foster volunteer, adopter and honourary chair of the FurBall. Her daughter, Rachel, helped out that morning with the preparation of the gourmet tacos to be served by chefs from the Prime Minister’s Residence.

On the subject of cuisine, Harper did the cooking while hiking with friends in Banff National Park this summer. Jambalaya and baked bread with fresh herbs were among her campfire specialties.

Other garden party attendees included The Citizen’s Omnivore Ottawa blogger Ron Eade; TV producer Chris Knight, who’s launching his Canadian lifestyle channel, mmmmm.tv, this spring; and cookbook authors Margaret Dickenson and Gay Cook.

Portraits of Bluesfest

Portraits of Bluesfest may be a silent art auction but it was none too quiet Thursday as a healthy turnout of artists, collectors and gallery owners filled the Patrick Gordon Framing studio to raise money for the Blues in the Schools educational program. “It’s got to be loud, it’s Bluesfest,” attendee Colin Cooke shouted to Around Town over the usual party sounds of mingling and music.

The 18 participating artists looked to Bluesfest 2012 as their inspiration for creating original, diverse works to be auctioned off. Flying under the radar was the event organizer and curator, Citizen arts-editor-at-large Peter Simpson, while his wife, Jennifer Campbell, editor of Ottawa Citizen Style magazine, was spotted volunteering at the door. Also seen was Patrick Gordon, who did most of the framing. Portraits of Bluesfest, now in its fourth year, raised about $10,000 — the most yet.

“I think it’s pretty terrific that artists would put their time and effort into doing this,” said Brandon McVittie, who hosted the inaugural event at his former Artguise Gallery in the Glebe and was among this year’s artists.

Mark Monahan, head of Bluesfest, showed up. So did arts patrons Glenn and Barb McInnes, and artist Guillermo Trejo, who currently has a show on at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Seen and heard was bluesman Terry Gillespie.

Michael Tardioli, director at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), was glimpsed mixing with Westboro gallery owner Michael Gennis, who had his eye on both artist Dave Cooper’s limited-edition poster for Portraits of Bluesfest 4 and painter Philip Craig’s trio of portraits of a music fan dancing at the festival. “It really captures the human spirit of Bluesfest,” said Gennis, who ended up buying the Craig artwork, entitled Grooving.

Hair-raising time

Who’d have thunk a salon shampoo bowl could double as an ice bucket? Yet, it did the job nicely at a happening party hosted Tuesday by the new owners of Rinaldo’s hair salon at 90 George. Hundreds of people were invited to a customer appreciation night that doubled as a fundraiser for Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs.

Last spring, Fiorella DiNardo, Frank Restagno, Jean Eid and Elias Hourani bought the Rinaldo location in the ByWard Market from Rinaldo Canonico (who, like Madonna, is known by first name alone). Among the Rinaldo regulars are Laureen Harper and her kids.

Sighted celebrity guests included Senators defenceman Chris Phillips and his wife, Erin, who are Rinaldo clients as well as honorary ambassadors of Candlelighters (Erin is also chair of the board). They donated to the charity auction a signed Phillips jersey and gift baskets from their new Big Rig Brewery business.

Divas on the course

Mother Nature showed some sisterhood by holding off on forecasted thunderstorms for the Diva Foundation Golf Classic held at the Loch March golf course in Kanata a few weeks ago.

The Diva Foundation is a national, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women. Its five-year campaign strategy is focusing each year on a different segment of Canadian women, including young women, aboriginal women, seniors and new immigrants.

At the tournament was the foundation’s president, Grace Betts, sporting a tiara and feathered boa in good diva fun, along with such board members as Vision Reiki owner Catherine Bastedo-Boileau, former ambassador Anna Blauveldt and Jennifer Spallin, senior financial consultant at MD Physician Services. Also spotted were such supporters as Elaine Nadeau of AN Design and Emily Farrell, who’s retiring as a district VP at Scotiabank.

The tournament raised about $25,000.

Chamber music bash

Around Town was mostly out of town this summer but did make it back for the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival’s closing bash.

The reception was hosted by the law firm Nelligan O’Brien Payne at Tosca Ristorante, not far from that evening’s concert hot spot, Dominion-Chalmers United Church. From the firm were partner Janice Payne and lawyer Ella Forbes-Chilibeck. She recently joined the board of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, as did Ottawa lawyer Ted Mann and real estate agent Julie Teskey, who catered fabulous party after fabulous party for the festival with a little help from her friends, Alison and Steve Clayton.

Board chairman Pierre Poirier, the city’s chief of security and emergency management, was there, as was executive director Glenn Hodgins, who was thrilled with how Chamberfest went. “It was one full house after another,” he told Around Town.

Also sighted were such staunch supporters as Harvey Glatt, David and Mary Bullock, Bill and Jean Teron, and Marina Kun.


Connect with Caroline Phillips |carolyn001@sympatico.ca