I must confess, I am a little biased when it comes to this luncheon, as I created it and chaired it for the first five years. It is now in its 11th year and the event on Tuesday was better than ever! Who wouldn't love hearing all about the personal, private moments of life with Princess Diana and her sons?
The Junior League of Sarasota Sustainers held their Legacy Luncheon on Tuesday at Michael's On East and Royal Chef Darren McGrady was the featured speaker. He was extremely self-effacing and very entertaining as he spoke about being a royal chef for Queen Elizabeth and then for Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles. He was very protective of Princess Diana's memory and told lovely, heart-warming stories about her and made it very clear he was not a fan of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.
He was with Princess Diana right from the beginning, in some ways. He said he and his family slept on the street the night before the Diana's wedding to Charles, so they could get a good view of the proceedings, long before he was employed by the royal family. He was still her chef at the time of her death. After that, Prince Charles asked him to work for him, but he declined and instead moved to Dallas, TX to become a private chef for a family there.
Sharing several stories with us, he lifted the veil on the Royal Family and on the type of gracious living that we commoners can only imagine, including the specific way to cut the carrots that the Queen will carry in her pocket to give to her horse and that fresh scones are made daily for tea - not for the Queen, but for the Queen to crumble on the carpet and give to her corgis. Ah, the life of a royal pet!
Chef McGrady also told of the many state banquets he prepared for including serving the food on the priceless Meissen china from the 1600s. He also mentioned that tea sandwiches are cut in an octagon and not a square or a rectangle, as that signifies a coffin or wishing death on someone. Remember that next time you take tea!
This is my favorite luncheon of the year because I get to reconnect with many of my League friends and relish the legacy of the Junior League of Sarasota in the community. The League has a rich history and many of the female community leaders in town received their training from their Junior League service. The membership requirements have changed dramatically over the years, so if you have thought about joining the League in past, no matter what your age is now, now is the time to look into becoming a Junior Leaguer. You won't regret doing so!
Those below with (pp) after their names are past presidents of the Junior League of Sarasota. There are several other past presidents of other Junior Leagues who have transferred to our League. The ones I know (I'm sure I missed some!) are identified with (ppol).
Others seen in the big crowd were Stacey Corley (pp), Susan Gilmore Clark, Lelia Windom (pp), Sue Hoffman, Valerie Dorr (pp), Sandy Strom, Sharon Hicks, Mary Ellen Moore, Mollie Thibodeau, Paula Clemow, Mindy Mast, Graci McGillicuddy, Sarah Lodge, Martha Rogers (ppol), Barbara Barrett, Debbie Shapiro, Maryann Boehm (pp), Cerita Purmort (pp), Peggy Abt, Jenny Hime, Caryn Patterson, Dee Stottlemyer (pp), Peg McKinley, Heather Clark, Lisa Ward Eding (pp), and on and on.
Event co-chairs, Cheryl Burstein (pp)and Susan Powers
Cady Ferguson and me (pp)
Chef Darren McGrady and Kathy Standard
Current League President, Donna Mateer, Erin Duggan, and Abby Weingarten
Susan Brennan and Julie Milton
Jane Kiebitz and Stephanie Kost
Mary Owen and Betsy Bagby (ppol)
Tish FitzGerald, Sue Bissell (pp), and Marilynn Koach (pp)
Sue Renfrew (pp) and Myrna Welch (pp)
Barb Lewis, Belinda Coffrin, Mary-Lou Moulton
Alicia Chalmers, Leslie Jones (pp), and Dorothy Stuart (pp)
Gloria Koach (pp) and Anne Garlington
Carlotta Cooley and Shirley Ritchey
Veronica Brady (pp) and Beth Cannata (pp)
Carmen Baskind and Laura Peters
Dr. Arthur and Lynn Guildford
Liza Battaglia and Karen Flanigan
A friend and Karen Fessel
Melba Jimenez, Kim Wheeler, and Renee Hamad
Jennifer Vett, Elizabeth Wery, and Nancy Bailey
Donna Barcomb (pp), Donna Berlin, Rebecca Blitz, and Kim Cornetet
Julie Riddell and Michelle Crabtree
Angie Stringer (pp) and Jessica Rogers
Cornelia Matson, Bonnie Chapman, Barbara Frey, Patty Bettle, and Carolyn McEntyre
Sandy Slaminko and Kay Chandler
Laura Peters and Margarete van Antwerpen
Robyn Fergeson, Mary Jim Fergeson (pp), and Donna Bewley
Cheryl Smith, Joan Campo-Liga, and Marilyn Kessler
Carol Williams (ppol)
The place setting