A lot of the ladies showed up, meaning that they were getting cabin fever and were anxious for a cause.
Vivian Korfhage is the design chair this year. For years her husband John and his landscape firm, Korfhage Landscape and Designs, have graciously done all of the extensive live plantings we have come to expect at the Derby Gala.
Vivian said the theme this year is "Grand Ballroom."
A large pergola, waterfall fountains and loads of greenery will grace the entry to the large white tent in the infield of Churchill Downs. Enormous crystal chandeliers will sparkle overhead.
The tent will be the one used at all the galas except last year when by necessity it had to be a one-story, low-profile, multi-room tent in a new location. By returning to the original tent site the valet parking mess from last year should be alleviated.
Greenery and flowering plants will be used throughout the "ballroom" and the dance floor ceiling will be draped with a fabulous chandelier in the center.
To complete the theme, light emerald linens with five-foot-tall peach blossoms and rose-colored flower arrangements will be on the dining tables and fringed silk shaded 30-inch tall banquet lamps will provide table lighting.
The dinner will be prepared and served by The Silver Spoon.
For an invitation to the gala, call the Derby Museum at 637-1111.
Locally owned Pizza Today magazine holds an annual Pizza Festiva in Las Vegas each year. And each year there is a pizza contest at this trade show for independent pizzeria owners.
The Silver Spoon for years has held the preliminary trials for Pizza of the Year.
This year the judges were local gourmands who gathered last week for the pizza orgy at "The Spoon." They included Voice-Tribune food and wine critic Jack Roby, Ray Parella, the local dean of pizza makers, "foodies" Paul Gold and bona fide Italian Ray Carcione, Doug Hasselo, "the pro," the chief food innovation officer at KFC, and yours truly, who loves pizza for breakfast.
Fifteen pizzas were sampled, judged and graded. The results were turned in and then the officials will select the top four and they will be made fresh at the Las Vegas show next month. A winner will be chosen and will receive prizes and national news coverage.
Several years ago Phillip Koenig of The Silver Spoon won the national contest. He was on national TV news. It was then that the Spoon was asked to run the preliminary contests.
Chef's Table special
Speaking of good food, The English Grill's Chef's Table at The Camberley Brown Hotel is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a special menu.
Known as "Louisville's ultimate gourmet dining experience," the Chef's Table will turn five in 2005.
To commemorate the event and the its success, popular and personable chef Joe Castro will offer a special five-course menu in addition to the regular eight-course tasting for the Chef's Table.
The prix fixe menu gives guests an opportunity to dine in the kitchen and join Chef Castro and others for a lively discussion about ingredients, wine, cooking techniques and the art of making four-star cuisine.
The dinner will be available for only a short time and can accommodate four to 10 guests. The cost for the dinner, which includes an appetizer, salad, intermezzo, entree and dessert, is $65 per person and does not include gratuity or tax.
For an additional $40, the grill's general manager, Tom Schreier, will pair wines with each course and explain his thinking behind each pairing.
The regular Chef's Table, which has become a Louisville tradition, is a gastronomic indulgence with wine pairings and is $150 per person plus tax and gratuity.
As a courtesy, regular Chef's Table guests can request to be picked up or dropped off by the hotel van, which is available only for parties of eight to 10.