ATLA June 2013 : Page 108

Dine Divine Clockwise from top left: Sherry from Sherlock’s in fine crystal from Bloomingdale’s; the scene in Herb Miller and Sally Dorsey’s dining room; just as Carson performs on Downton Abbey , sherry is sifted through cheesecloth; tenderloin of pork served with haricots verts by Sean O’Keefe; Herb Miller, vincent Martinez and Chad Holman in tails; Sandra Baldwin in Alice by Temperley in Honor gown from Rent the Runway. 108 | | June 2013 Hair and Makeup by Jessica Howard of wHite salon; Max sancHez and selden beylouni salon food drink | Parties Abbey Mode An exclusive dinner party takes Downton Abbey adoration to exquisite lengths. | By Stephanie Davis Smith | | Photography by Sarah Dodge | When I arrive at Sally Dorsey and Herb Miller’s Brookhaven home, a butler wearing short white gloves greets me at the door and takes my things. A housemaid quietly shows me past the gentlemen decked out in white-tie and tails enjoying predinner cocktails in the parlor. I retire to the ladies’ dressing area and find Dorsey— along with philanthropist Sandra Baldwin, jewelry designer Lisa Stein and TV personality Stacey Elgin— sipping on dry sherry and sitting calmly as attendants twirl their hair into elaborate updos. Next, the women get dressed to the nines in 1920s period attire from Rent the Runway—think embellished evening gowns and long beaded necklaces by LA Stein—for the forthcoming impeccable dinner. Suddenly, an iPhone buzzes on the table. I’m snapped back into present day and realize we’re not actually in an episode of Downton Abbey , the award-winning PBS period series that airs locally on GPB, and the inspiration for this evening’s affair. It’s all the brainchild of Sean O’Keefe, local event designer and private chef extraordinaire. These fine ladies in attendance, along with their male escorts— Herb Miller, Steve Eaton, Vincent Martinez and Chad Holman—have all put aside reality for the evening to go back in time at a themed dinner party.

Food Drink Parties

Stephanie Davis Smith

Abbey Mode

An exclusive dinner party takes Downton Abbey adoration to exquisite lengths.

When I arrive at Sally Dorsey and Herb Miller's Brookhaven home, a butler wearing short white gloves greets me at the door and takes my things. A housemaid quietly shows me past the gentlemen decked out in white tie and tails enjoying predinner cocktails in the parlor.

I retire to the ladies' dressing area and find Dorsey— along with philanthropist Sandra Baldwin, jewelry designer Lisa Stein and TV personality Stacey Elgin— sipping on dry sherry and sitting calmly as attendants twirl their hair into elaborate updos. Next, the women get dressed to the nines in 1920s period attire from Rent the Runway—think embellished evening gowns and long beaded necklaces by LA Stein—for the forthcoming impeccable dinner.

Suddenly, an iPhone buzzes on the table. I'm snapped back into present day and realize we're not actually in an episode of Downton Abbey, the award-winning PBS period series that airs locally on GPB, and the inspiration for this evening's affair. It's all the brainchild of Sean O'Keefe, local event designer and private chef extraordinaire. These fine ladies in attendance, along with their male escorts— Herb Miller, Steve Eaton, Vincent Martinez and Chad Holman—have all put aside reality for the evening to go back in time at a themed dinner party.

Dorsey's table is elegantly set with fine table linens and crystal stemware from Bloomingdale's, while the late 1800s antique silver salt dish and gold-rimmed plates are on loan from a private collection.

No detail has gone overlooked for this elegant eve. Take the flowers by the talented Larry Hammack of Foxgloves & Ivy, for example: They are period arrangements, reminiscent of the era. "They're low to the table and accentuate the decor without blocking the view," O'Keefe says. "Six inches is the perfect height, and they were done in the cluster around the candlesticks so guests can enjoy the candlelight."

Even the servers, hired from Drake Staffing, are in black-tie attire, while the maids' outfits (a la Anna Bates' attire on the PBS hit) were made by Harriet Treadway just for the occasion. The wait staff is signaled to come and go by a small, silver antique bell set on the right side of the lady of the house. Dorsey is forever aware of all of her guests' requirements, and when she rings the bell, the head butler comes to her on the right side (proper etiquette, of course!) To attend to her needs. The butler then tells the other staffmembers what to do, never actually performing a service himself.

The meal commences, and as the plates arrive, they are true to form. "I created dishes that were served during that era," O'Keefe reveals. "In the classic setup, [guests] would have a fish course first." That's why a fish knife and fork are set on the farthest reaches of the silverware line.
O'Keefe has spent years committing all these details to memory. "I've worked for old Hollywood for many years, and you just inherently know that's what you're supposed to do." The fish course is a precise 4-ounce crab-stuffed filet of sole, sauced with a lemon-beurre blanc. "Think of it like our ancestors' plated appetizer."

Next, per stringent protocol, a meat dish is served. O'Keefe chooses to present a tenderloin of pork. It's roasted to perfection and served with a port-wine shallot reduction and haricots verts.

All of this elaborateness is designed to impress the guests with the chef's ability—and surely, those of Dorsey and Miller were impressed indeed. For, back in the Downton days—and even now—when you have a private chef and wait staff in your residence attending to your every need, you know that you've really made it. A

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Food+Drink+Parties/1407596/160178/article.html.

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