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Oct 7, 2001 05:15 PM

The People behind Chowing with the Hounds-a tribute, long but important

  • r

Chowing with the Hounds 2001, 10K, was a resounding, delicious success yesterday. the amount and types of food were beyond comprehension and delicious beyond measure. three picnic tables groaned under the weight of dishes from all over the world, the dessert table overflowing onto the benches.

the food was more than remarkable, but perhaps even more enjoyable was the celebration of our flourishing chowhound community. in coming together, our on-line selves entered the world of sight and sound to put names to faces, a great experience as we embraced friends we'd only met in person at that moment.

there will be indepth reporting covering all details of the day, i just want to touch on a few things before saying thank you to all those who worked so hard to make the day a resounding success.

we started our day by making introductions and picking up the tshirts wendy lai had designed for us. food was then placed on the appropriate table and labled for voting later in the day. we visited as nancy berry set up her outdoor cast iron cooking demonstration.

as the appetizer table began to fill the crowd surronding it began to drool and in the interest of crowd control we opened the buffet at noon. at two, after a filling, diverse lunch and dessert we let out a universal groan of both delight and overwhelm as we looked at the incredibly generous portions of cheese mollie stones in san mateo and columbus foods had donated to us. you could have stuffed four with these portions!

we turned in our ballots for all the different categories of food, followed shortly by our feeble guesses as to what the cheese might be. after ballots were counted we readied to make announcements and hand out prizes.

gifts came from as far away as london. howler sent a $50 gift certificate to k&l wines, simon majumdar, unanimous ltd, sent weber bbq books, mollie stones of san mateo donated gift certificates in $100, $50 and $25 denominations, the foreign and commonwealth office, british consulate, san francisco, donated cheese posters and packets of postcards for volunteers, and ann and steve emry donated millenium cookbooks.

other donations came again from mollie stones in san mateo,( the chains biggest store with many international food products and specailized items such as caviar, imported cheeses and smoked salmon)
who supplied the accompaniments to the cheese, columbus foods who supplied the cheeses we tasted as well as cheeses to those who put the cheese contest together. thank you to pia ramos for contacting mollie stones to get them involved. apple market in novato donated the mesquite gordon wing used to keep the grills going, thank you to brandon nelson for procuring that vital ingredient for us.

from new york we shared a lovely bottle of wine sent by gary cheong and ibarra mexican chocolate chip cookies that caitlin mcgrath fed exed out for the dessert table.

we had the pleasure of the company of bob kusumoto, an important chowhound who felt more comfy remaining anonymous. but bob, we sure appreciated you being there.

wendy lai did a great job of graphic design for us, both on the t shirts and with the programs.

we also want to thank everyone who participated on a committee to make the day run smoothly:

finance and reservations: elise h, melanie wong

chowshirts: wendy lai, melanie wong

sponsor and volunteer recruitment: melanie wong

potluck: alexandra eisler, tida beattie

food balloting: eunice choi, "wonki" kim, ruth lafler, lise shelton, randy salenfriend

cheese tasting: laiko bahrs, christine di bons, marcy huber, michelle merino, maura sell, melanie wong

grillmasters: gordon wing, michael alderete, lee pochapin

chief reporters/photographers: kim campbell, cheryl "celery", lillian leong, vicki marsten, rochelle mc cune, lisa thurston, janet zimmerman, zach georgopoulos

regisration and chowhirt distribution: cheryl "celery", elise h, rachel hope, rob mc alister, brandon nelson, pia ramos, nancy reyes, tanya levien

equipment and set up: nancy berry, joann coffino, ann emry, ken rich, rochelle "shellfood", hao truong, jennifer fish wilson

cleanup/lost and found: tingting chang, lynn devereux, deb h, han lukito, randy salenfriend, gary burke, peter wells

shopping and schlepping: cheryl "celery", jennifer fish wilson

first aid and safety: Andy "chowhoundX", philip coffino, tom hilton, louis locatell, jennifer fish wilson, perry wilson

special thanks to the organizing committe, of which i had the pleasure of serving as chairman: cheryl "celery", elise h, randy salenfriend, jennifer fish wilson, melanie wong

and finally, an extra special thank you to the person who took the simple idea of a picnic and turned it into a day that would end up donating just around $1000 to keep chowhound up and running, our very own energizer bunny who was the continued energy behind us all - Miss Melanie Wong.

thank you so much to everyone who came and to all those who helped even tho they couldn't be there. i think we achieved all we set out to do- have fun, meet one another face to face, enjoy good food and raise money for a cause near and dear to our hearts.

thank you all. be well, be happy, be full.


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  1. Amen, nicely stated .... Rochelle. Various images and thoughts of yesterday are floating around in my mind. I've got a few good images from the proceedings. I'm new to this digital age so I'll work on a way to share these. Janice and I had a wonderful afternoon - many thanks to all.

    1. Rochelle: Your post is reminiscent of the Academy Awards! And the Oscar goes to: All of you Bay Area Chowhounds!

      It must have been wonderful. Pat

      8 Replies
      1. re: Pat Hammond
        Melanie Wong

        It was wonderful, Pat. And we need to thank Rochelle for coming up with the idea and all her hard work as chairwoman.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Of course we do! Thank you to Rochelle. Yesterday at the appointed time I checked the weather in San Francisco. It was 56 degrees. It was warmer in Maine!
          It doesn't seem as though anyone minded. I hope the weather report was off by a few degrees though. How many 'hounds were there? Pat

          1. re: Pat Hammond
            Melanie Wong

            Pat, it was way into the afternoon before I noticed the low temperature. I was late arriving in the morning because I was pulled over for speeding in a residential zone ---fortunately I didn't get a ticket, but my adrenaline was racing all morning after that. It wasn't a windy day, so I didn't put a jacket on. The spots in full sun felt great, and the sun did come out about 4pm. The last die-hards were there until after 7pm, to be serenaded by the live mariachi band at the party next to us.

            We had 79 people on site over the course of the day, which was just about the right number to be able to visit with everyone. Tom Hilton managed to elude me, but I think I talked with everyone else. What a day!

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              *Almost* managed to elude you... ;-)

              And I hasten to add that it wasn't in any way intentional. Anyway, we spoke very briefly when they were handing out dessert prizes. Hope to meet you again, and actually talk, at some future Chowhound event.

              1. re: *Almost* managed to elude you... ;-)

                Okay, I'm lame...put my subject line in the name field...anyway, that was me.

        2. re: Pat Hammond

          Rochelle: Pat's right. I barely miss the Emmys (Emmies?) tonight after your well written kudos! Thank you Madame Chairwoman.

          1. re: jenniferfishwilson

            it was all certainly a pleasure--even the hundreds of emails! my mailbox seemed so empty this morning!

            i hope this is just the first of what will become at least an annual event, if not more frequent. it was a pleasure, all mine.

            1. re: Rochelle

              How fast can we get to 20K? (g)

        3. d
          David Feldman

          Congratulations to all SF Chowhounds for what sounds like an unbelievably delicious and joyous gathering.

          1. f
            Food Dog Man

            Way to chow, gang.

            Maybe next time.

            1. Let me add my voice to all the others and say what a great time Philippe and I had! It was a gastronomic revelation of what picnics can and should be. I will be even more discontented with store-bought potato salad and cold fried chicken after a feast of the breadth, depth, and quality that was laid out last Saturday. Many, many thanks to the organizers who did a masterful job, and to everyone who, sharing their food and drink, shared something precious (and scrumptuous) of themselves.

              My next glass of wine will be a toast to new friends, new foods, and more opportunities to enjoy both