Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tyler Florence's 40th Birthday Party

If you picked up this month’s C Magazine, you hopefully caught the fun feature about Chef Tyler Florence’s 40th Birthday Party.

Tolan Florence, Tyler’s lovely and talented wife, wanted to plan something memorable for the celebrity chef’s milestone birthday in March. The two of us began brainstorming blowout party plans, but with the opening of El Paseo {Tyler’s latest restaurant with music legend Sammy Hagar} just around the corner, we decided there was no better way to celebrate than to bring the couple’s closest friends together in the new chophouse.

It was exciting for me to be part of El Paseo’s debut. It was a race to the finish but General Manager Adel Bukary, Director of Services Cory Lane and the whole El Paseo team managed to pull it off flawlessly. Last minute touches to the Mill Valley restaurant were put on just minutes before the first guests arrived!

The cocktail-style party allowed guests to mingle through the restaurant’s several dining rooms, bar and outdoor patio while sipping rosé Champagne and Floc de Gascogne. Music from Michael LaMacchia's trio strummed throughout the party, with candles and lanterns lining the restaurant’s charming brick pathway.

Tyler and chef de cuisine Preston Clark fired up the kitchen for the first time that day and treated everyone to a sneak preview of the menu to come. If you’ve had a chance to visit El Paseo since it opened, you know that means incredible food made with fresh local ingredients.

Inspired by the steakhouse’s classic rustic décor as well as Tyler’s southern roots, Jill Sassa from PS Paper and I designed a dessert buffet with petite treats from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Custom wooden risers displayed homey desserts like mini bourbon pecan pies, banana trifles, apple turnovers and caramel corn with Tyler's birthday cake at the center.

As the trio died down, DJ Dojah turned up the volume and El Paseo’s main dining room turned quickly into a dance floor. Dojah even put the headphones on Tyler and had him spin some tunes for the last set - something Tyler always wanted to do.
Photography by Meg Smith.

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