Catering for the Supreme Court of Florida
Catering for the Supreme Court of Florida
Let's talk about something important: Principles. I've been reading this book called "Principles" by Ray Dalio, which was gifted to me by a great friend, Alan Lawson who is Justice of the Supreme Court. It's a wonderful book and has helped me to recognize my principles. More importantly, I should be outlining what they are…ANYWAY. I recently catered an event for the Supreme Court, which was an AMAZING AND LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. The story of how I got this opportunity is pretty wild, let's jump into it!
Now, I want to talk about the man that gave me this book "Principles", but first I want to tell the backstory of how I met this man. My friend had met him at the Downtown Farmer's Market and they bonded over the fact that she is Moroccan - his assistant's husband is also Moroccan! They hit it off talking about this and apparently it inspired him to throw a Moroccan-themed dinner party. He told Yasmine to bring a friend, and she invited ME as her plus one, knowing how much I love learning the cuisine of other cultures.
When my friend invited me to this dinner party, I told her I wouldn't be able to make it as I had a catering event in Crawfordville that night. I was pretty bummed because I was insanely curious about what kind of foods this Moroccan-themed party would have. I worked my catering event and had this dinner party in the back of my mind the entire time. When I finished working, I called them to see how the dinner party was going. They told me they hadn't even started serving food yet and encouraged me to come! I instantly got so excited. I haven't attended many dinner parties as a guest as I am usually working them, and I was stoked that I'd be able to simply enjoy this one.
I arrived and I was shocked at how nice this place was! I was expecting a casual dinner party at someone's house. My friend took the elevator down and greeted me with an older gentleman that she introduced to me as Justice Lawson. We rode the elevator 11 floors up to the kitchen and I walked into a group of about 6 people. I could smell the aroma of the food IN THE ELEVATOR and saw it being prepared in the kitchen. Questions started popping into my mind and my curiosity was going crazy. What spices am I smelling? Is black rice traditional for Moroccan cuisine? And also.... Who the fuck are these people? Who's penthouse am I in? What even is going on?!?!?
So when I worked at Kool Beanz Cafe, I was exposed to some Moroccan dishes (Ras El Hanout, Harissa, Shakshuka)... but honestly, I didn't know shit else about Moroccan cooking. I couldn't wait to dive in and be immersed in this experience. I was introduced to a man named Mohsine, who is from Morocco. Both him and my friend told me so much about Moroccan cooking and culture, and I was over the moon the whole night. Justice was cooking, his wife Julie kept the wine flowing, Moishin was singing, and everyone present was having a great time. Justice even took the time to explain his cooking and answer my questions. I left this event well-fed, tipsy, and educated on Moroccan food and culture!
I left this event and started thinking, who the fuck did I just meet. I spent the whole evening at Justice Lawson's penthouse and didn't even think to ask about who he is. I googled him, and... it turns out his name isn't Justice. He IS a Justice. HE IS JUSTICE ALAN LAWSON OF THE SUPREME COURT. His name isn't Justice, it's Alan!!! I maintained a relationship with him and we laughed this off. We've spent time together going out to lunch, he’s lent me books, and his wife Julie even bought him a cooking class with the three of us! I left this dinner party with not only an amazing experience, but new friendships.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago... I got a call from Deborah, who is Alan's assistant (her husband is Moishin, both were present at the dinner party!) Deborah tells me that Alan, AKA Justice Lawson, is retiring from the Supreme Court and they want the retirement event to be catered by ME. I was shocked to hear that he is retiring but even more shocked that she immediately thought of me to cater this huge event. THIS IS SO HUGE!!! I have to talk about the pressure I felt from this event. I had no idea what standard catering for the Supreme Court entails. I had never even been to the Supreme Court (apparently it's a place and not just people). This was going to be a 150-person event with charcuterie boards and desserts. I wanted to understand exactly what I was getting into with this event, so I asked for an onsite tour in order to understand the flow of the place. And let me tell you, this place was INSANE. The pillars are made of an extinct green marble, there's a HUGE ceiling, and there are two statues of Phoenixes which have their own story - do I want to get into this story about Roland Hockett?
Yes. Yes I do. So, Roland Hockett is an AMAZING artist that creates these insane sculptures (https://artistrolandhockett.com). Barry Richard (I was the private chef for his family for years) had one of Roland's sculptures in his front yard and one in his work office. I have always been in awe of the work and detail that went into these pieces of art, and R told me that only two more of these phoenix sculptures exist - and they are located in the Supreme Court. Since hearing that, I've always been determined to see the other two damn phoenix sculptures one day.
....And you know what? I SAW THE DAMN SCULPTURES, THE EVENT WENT ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, AND I HAD YET ANOTHER AMAZING EXPERIENCE. We had so many amazing cheeses, meats, and desserts. I macerated strawberries in strawberry sugar and served it over meskouta (a Moroccan orange cake, I really wanted to pay homage to Justice Lawson's amazing dinner party that we met at), Justice Lawson retired, and I got to cater for one of the biggest moments in his career. Which is now also one of the biggest moments in MY career!!!