Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We all know that broccoli is good for you and that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. We know that blueberries are chockfull of antioxidants and that eating wild salmon supplies you with enough energy to swim upstream—but what about sardines, capers, and coffee? Did you know that sardines are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids? Capers are loaded with quercetin—a powerful antioxidant proven to combat cataracts and reduce the likelihood of some cancers. Even the consumption of poor, misunderstood, coffee has been shown to stimulate the brain by temporarily improving memory skills and reaction time. What follows is a list of some of the other lesser-known Superfoods—foods that don’t received as much press as apples and spinach but foods that are, nonetheless, just as super from a nutritional standpoint as those currently receiving celebrity status.

Pumpkin – No longer just a decorative Halloween porch item—but a food proven rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for reducing the risk of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Pumpkin also contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which may decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers. The pumpkin is a classic American treat that lends itself well to a variety of cakes, pies, and dessert dishes.

Oysters – First, make sure you cook ‘em. Raw oysters are sometimes contaminated with harmful bacteria. There are many ways to prepare oysters—Craft’s Tom Colicchio rolls them in batter, fries them, and serves them over a bed of creamy, tangy rĂ©moulade sauce—may not be the healthiest version of this particular Superfood but certainly one of the most delicious. Oysters are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which play a critical role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.

Onions – Onions contain high levels of quercetin. Quercetin’s anti-histamine action may help to relieve both allergic and asthmatic symptoms. Quercetin may also help to reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Onions can be enjoyed every day with meals. Although your partner might complain about the slightly pungent aroma—he’ll be glad that you are sneezing less and have a little more pep in your step.
Sunflower Seeds - Sunflower seeds are a great every day snack. During the summer months, the sale of sunflower seeds spike due to the large number of baseball players and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy this convenient little snack. Not only are sunflower seeds fun to eat—they are proven sources of the B vitamin niacin. This nutrient may help prevent cataracts, promote blood vessel health, reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and even relieve migraine headache.

Kale - Kale is a leafy green Superfood. Since it has a slightly bitter taste, it is best to flavor it with spices. A horizontally challenged friend of mine even puts it in her lasagna and swears that she has grown 2 inches since she began adding kale to her favorite Italian dish. Due to the presence of certain carotenoids—Kale lowers the risk of cataracts. Due to its high amount of organosulfur—Kale is also a particular standout in warding off cancer. If that’s not reason enough to add kale to your diet—kale is loaded with additional nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, E, and B, as well as manganese, copper, calcium, and iron.

Herring – Herring, a staple food in Scandinavia since ancient times, is one of the greatest sources of fish oil. An impressive list of health benefits provided by fish oil include its ability to aid in heart diseases, high cholesterol, weight loss, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, macular degeneration, ulcers, and a host of psycho-somatic symptoms. Either by salting, smoking, or marinating usually prepares herring, like many other traditional Scandinavian foods.

Red Bell Peppers – Though any color of bell pepper contains important antioxidants that help to ward off many illnesses, red bell peppers in particular may actually reduce the risk of lung cancer. Red bell peppers contain an orange-red carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin. A study conducted in China showed that smokers who consumed a beta-crytpoxanthin-rich diet had a 37% lower risk of lunch cancer. Red bell peppers definitely have their advantages. Not only are red bell peppers more nutritious than bell peppers of other colors (we won’t name names) but they’re also sweeter in flavor.

Seaweed (sea vegetables) - Although seaweed has been a staple of the Japanese diet for centuries—western cultures have only recently begun to enjoy this low-calorie Superfood. Sea vegetables reportedly reduce the risk of heart disease, alleviate symptoms of stress, and assist in thyroid regulation. Dehydrated sea vegetables can be found in most health food and specialty stores and are frequently used in salads, soups, stews, or stir-fries. There is even a new faux-caviar gourmet product on the market that looks and tastes just like caviar but is made entirely from seaweed.

Oats – A bowl of oatmeal can offer you much more than just a warm start to your day. Oats are some of the best sources of soluble fiber, which help to reduce total low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. A high level of LDL greatly increases the chance of heart disease. Oats can also help control blood sugar and digestion. Adding oats to muffins, cereals, and desserts is a delicious step in the right direction.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A Legendary Event’s Executive Chef Lincoln Stevens served his innovative presentation style “Kaleidoscope Menu” last week at The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Scholarship Gala. This annual event featured student demonstrations, performance art, and a silent auction of student and professor artwork. The crowd of 575 guests were awed by a performance art piece that one observer described as a “post-apocalyptic Amelia Earhart” dance. The gallery hummed with excitement as the goggle-clad dancers moved with ballet precision to bass laden ambient music. The post-modernistic dancers writhed and perched upon various rungs of ascending and descending wooden ladders that gathered centrally at the room’s core. In addition to the genre-breaking performance art piece, the original paintings and photographs that hung around the room’s perimeter were another testament to the eclectic range of the school’s enormous talent. Guests also had the opportunity to place their bids on distinctively crafted jewelry and sculpture pieces.

Following the presentation, guests followed the thread of creativity through to Chef Stevens’s experimental menu. After surveying the array of “Hues of Protein,” “Starch Notes,” “Vegetable Tones,” and “Glazes” that lay before them—the guests “built” their own menu. Chefs at each “window” worked directly with the guests to help them create an ideal menu that suited the nuances of his or her palate. Many of the guests relied predominantly on the guidance and suggestions of our veteran chefs. Others, with a taste for experimentation, got down right creative. Guests seemed drawn into the experimental spirit of the Kaleidoscope Menu. An experimental culinary affair was perhaps the only way to underscore SCAD’s innovative spirit. Chef Stevens remarked, “this [The Kaleidoscope Menu] is the perfect menu for this event because it’s the perfect merging of colors and flavors.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Legendary Events Flourish with Amy Saltzman

Amy Saltzman brings over ten years of experience in event design and planning to A Legendary Event. Her emphasis on Society Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and Corporate Events helps to round out A Legendary Event’s Design Team. Design Sales Team Director Deb Steege calls Saltzman “Our ‘unique element’—she brings so much to the table in terms of her design sense and wit. She truly keeps us all laughing.” Event Consultant Terry Saxe concurs, “Amy is a breath of fresh air and an absolute pleasure to work with. Her professionalism coupled with her fabulous sense of humor and her ability to connect with clients makes her an asset.”

Saltzman’s background of owning her own small catering company and coordinating events at Event Design Group make her the perfect fit at A Legendary Event. Former president and owner of Event Design Group Barbara Roos says that Amy is “bright, talented, and her people skills are the best.” Amy’s skill set is exceptional. She oversees each of her events from original inception to final on-site set-up by working closely and pro-actively with floral teams, sub-vendors, and other coordinators. Tony Conway, president and owner of A Legendary Event says, “Amy’s extensive expertise, especially with high-end social and corporate events is such a huge asset to our team.”

When asked what she brings to each event Amy says, “my ability to see that the client’s personality comes through.” With 30 events a year, it seems like a tall order; however, Amy relies heavily on the extensive support team at A Legendary Event to get her job done. One of the team members she works most closely with is Floral Director Kim Vasil. Recently, they collaborated on creating stylish “Sustainable Tables” for eco-conscious clients “concerned with having a beautiful event without harming the environment.”

Currently, they are creating a “rustic but elegant” floral design for a bride who simply loves the outdoors. “We’re capturing the bride’s essence by incorporating a bird’s nest motif.” Amy says she may be most partial to designing weddings because, “it’s very rewarding to know that I’m working on something that people will always remember.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Cymbidium Orchid Blooms with Attributes

A Legendary Event's Floral Director Kim Vasil has noticed a recent surge of interest for a flower with lots to offer—The Cymbidium Orchid. “I think that people are requesting this flower because it is exotic and elegant,” Vasil explained. “Personally, I’m kooky over this orchid—it’s hearty, sleek, and mixes well with more traditional flowers.” Vasil gently traced the shiny petals with her index finger, “This type of flower has more depth than most, it’s truly a multi-dimensional flower, perfect for a more contemporary look.” She showed me the Cymbidium’s color palate—ranging from pale sage to white with a variegated throat of Merlot. I am struck by the flower’s clean simplicity. Its light, sweet scent is another one of the Cymbidium’s attributes. The buoyant bouquet is reminiscent of a pristine meadow at daybreak—unlike some blossoms that bear an overly, sometimes pungent perfume-like scent. The Cymbidium is literally a breath of fresh air.
Above: An Outrageously Elegant Cymbidium Orchid Chandelier

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guest Chefs Dazzle High Museum Wine Auction Patrons

Left to Right: Chef Sam Mason, Chef Linton Hopkins, Les Dames d’Escoffier Member and Chef Mary Moore, Chef Scott Boswell, Chef Sean Brock, and Chef Lincoln Stevens.

For the 6th consecutive year, A Legendary Event collaborated with renowned guest chefs to compose a wine-inspired menu for the annual High Museum Wine Auction’s Gala Dinner. This year, A Legendary Event’s Executive Chef Lincoln Stevens joined forces with four guest chefs—Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House; Chef Scott Boswell of New Orleans’ restaurants Stella! and Stanley; Chef Sam Mason of SoHo’s Tailor; and Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston—to create and serve 2600 plates of haute cuisine for 650 guests in just under 90 minutes.

The Gala Event was held for the 4th time under big top tents in Atlantic Station—located conveniently in the heart of Atlanta’s cosmopolitan West Side. The menu lived up to this year’s theme—The Genius Inside. Chef Hopkin’s “Study in Seafood” featured a true southern favorite—She Crab Soup. The first course standout was an elegant cross between a bisque and a chowder flavored with Hopkin’s own Sherry Chive Jelly.

Chef Sean Brock tapped into his own brand of genius with a second course composed of broken frozen Foie Gras Terrine, Tart Apples, Cocoa and Hazelnut. The kitchen was bathed in a hazy nitrogen cloud while Chef Brock hammered his frozen concoction into tasty bits. He described his unique plate presentation as “looking like a bomb went off.” Chef Boswell’s entrĂ©e course of Almond and Mint Crusted Rack of Australian Lamb was juicy and hearty and Chef Sam Mason ended the evening on a sweet note with his rich and delicious Hazelnut Parfait with Bittersweet Chocolate Cream and Kumquat Confit. Chef Lincoln Stevens said, “It was a true honor to have Guest Chefs of this caliber join us for this year’s Wine Auction.”

According to Wine Spectator Magazine, The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction consistently ranks among the nation’s top charity wine auctions. Last year’s High Museum Wine Auction raised record-breaking profits of more than 2.1 million dollars, marking only the second time in its history to raise over 2 million. The final figures for this year’s profits are currently being tabulated; however, wine committee members anticipate another successful year in terms of fund raising.