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Masked Ball appetizer is inventive, delicious

By LENNIE BENNETT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 31, 2001


You expect to find many things in a garage, but fois gras, lobster and a chef are not among them.

Nevertheless, Jeffrey Fredrickson, executive chef of TradeWinds Island Resort, was looking right at home Friday evening surrounded by bikes and tools in Tim and Anje Bogott's garage, which became, for a few hours, a makeshift kitchen.

The occasion was a party the Bogotts hosted for upper-category patrons of the Masked Ball, a black-tie gala benefiting Academy Prep coming up on Saturday.

At most cocktail parties, I'm used to seeing maybe five passed hors d'oeuvres and the bulk of the food prepared ahead of time and set out on a buffet table. Not here. Using three portable burners, Fredrickson cranked out tray after tray of freshly assembled appetizers, about 10 different ones in all.

How do you coax a big-deal chef to cook under camping conditions in your garage? It helps if you are the chef's boss, which Bogott is, as CEO of the TradeWinds on St. Pete Beach. Still, Fredrickson went above and beyond.

Among the beneficiaries of his efforts were Cary Putrino, head of Northern Trust of Pinellas County, which sponsored the patrons' party, and his wife Joan Putrino, looking glamorous wrapped in black and a silk leopard-print scarf; Langston and Carol Holland; Troy and Judy Holland; Jim and Suzanne MacDougald; Jim and Jeannine Hascall; Ed and Marlene Comejo; Darlene Grayson; Dr. Lawrence and Georgine Savitsky; Dr. Lawrence and Carole Merritt; Tom Sansone and Cathy Unruh; Doug and Murray Beairsto, looking cool and collected even though they are in the middle of a move from one old house to another; John and Mickie Breen; Jeff and Barbara Lane; Cathy Hogan, who meets her sister this week at the Hogans' Colorado ranch for a brief vacation while husband Gerry holds down the fort here; Donna Tyler with her brother Jeff Gonzalez and Melonie Wilkerson, and former Devil Rays pitcher Roberto Hernandez, a generous benefactor to Academy Prep.

The party was also a chance for many of us to meet Academy Prep's new headmaster, Sam Williams, and his wife, Carolyn. He took over administration of the St. Petersburg school to free up former headmaster John Effinger, who is in the early stages of starting an Academy Prep in Tampa. (Academy Prep, as you probably know, is a privately funded school for disadvantaged boys and girls, grades 5-8.)

Williams came from a 32-year career at Nassau College, and Mrs. Williams was director of the adult education program for the city of New York; their decision to come here is another story for another time. But these days, the dreadful question is always asked of those who recently lived in that city, so I asked: Did you lose anyone in the terrorist attacks?

"It took three of our friends, who were in the towers," Williams said, "one whose wedding we just attended."

With that sad announcement, I was ready for heartening news, which came from two other guests, businessmen enjoying new ventures and optimistic about the economy. Angelo Cappelli, a lawyer with an MBA, recently joined Northern Trust as a vice president, and stockbroker Marc Jacobson, whose family founded Nutmeg Industries, is opening a local office of the brokerage firm Legg Mason. Lisa Jacobson modeled a serious-looking necklace of 36 South Seas pearls, each one the size of a marble -- boulders, not shooters -- and hung with a diamond enhancer designed by Michele Preston-Black, owner of Australian Creations, a jewelry store in BayWalk. The necklace, valued at about $21,000, will be auctioned at the gala Saturday at the TradeWinds, so everyone, bring your checkbooks and credit cards. The evening was fine, so I walked rather than drove the several blocks from the Bogotts' house to mine armed with a split of champagne, bottled for the party with a Masked Ball label, that Mrs. Bogott pressed into my hands as a party favor as I left. Along the way I met up with a black cat, who blocked my path for a moment and stared, and then my neighbor, Jackie Cotman, who lingered on our sidewalk looking at the almost-full moon. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight," she said, pointing out the rosy aura around it. Signs and portents, both, and the welcome arrival of autumn.

* * *

The Children's Dream Fund and the art of Edna Hibel -- often portraits of children -- are a good match. They came together on Thursday, at a reception and sale of her work to benefit the fund, which grants "dreams" to seriously ill children.

Children's Dream Fund executive director Cynthia Lake arrived early, of course, at the United Trust Bank lobby, where easels were set up to display the pastels, artist's proofs, lithographs and limited edition seriographs provided by Susanne's Gallery.

I, too, arrived early, but also left early so the art and the food were all that I encountered, except for Ms. Lake's friend Leslie Ermatinger Gunther, who was in the prep area setting out platters of jewel-like hors d'oeuvres donated by Chateau France: herbed cheese cradled in blanched brussels sprout leaves and topped with pomegranate seeds, barquettes filled with pastry cream and raspberries, smoked salmon on triangles of pumpernickel bread, terrines of seafood mousse and slices of a country pate en croute.

If you are thinking I ate well this past weekend, you would be correct.

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday

FISH HEAD BALL: The party benefitting the Pier Aquarium moves from its traditional location at the Pier to the Campus Activities Center at University of South Florida, Second Street and Sixth Avenue S. But organizers promise the same casual quirkiness that has made it a popular event, with music by Monty the Horse and food from Pier eateries. 8 p.m. $35. 895-7437.

Nov. 10

SPORTS NIGHT 2001: St. Raphael's Catholic Church School invites you to a dinner, dance, and live and silent auctions in the Palm Court Ballroom of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, bedecked with the colors of favorite football schools. The live auction includes vacation packages and a fishing trip with Tampa Bay Bucs' Dave Moore. 501 Fifth Ave NE. $40. 525-6144.

Nov. 12

THE ART OF LIVING WITH ART: Part of the Affaires d'Art series organized by the Stuart Society of the Museum of Fine Arts, the party at collector and dealer Eric Lang Peterson's studio, features works by Thomas Kohlman and Robert Calvo, two personal favorites. With refreshments and lots of anecdotes from Peterson. $30. 823-6140.

Nov. 16

HOLIDAY HOPE: Fifth annual fundraiser for ASAP, an agency that helps the homeless. The party, at a waterfront home in Tierra Verde, includes dinner by Carrabbas and silent auction. 7-10 p.m. $65. 823-5665.

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