As many people who follow restaurant news know, former Chez Sophie (and Rare Earth Wine Bar) chef/owner Paul Parker has been diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and lymph nodes in his neck. The prognosis is good, but too often with cancer treatment comes financial difficulty. I have decided to organize a fundraiser to help offset the costs of treatment, and to help supplement the family’s income while Paul is out of work, and to allow him to focus on getting well.
On Monday April 29th there will be a fundraising dinner event at Dunning Street Station at 2853 State Highway 9 in Malta, NY. The site is the former long-time home of Chez Sophie where so many of the restaurant’s classic dishes were created and maintained. The building is going back in time thanks to the generosity of owners Chef Scott Ringwood and Bob McKenna, and Dunning Street/Lake Ridge general manager Diana Murphy.
The doors will open at 5:00 with a cash bar for cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. There will also be an opportunity to bid on some great items in a silent auction. Those who are not having dinner are welcome to attend and say hello to some old friends, have a drink, and help support the effort.
Dinner will seat at about 6:30 with a quintessential tasting menu from the former great restaurant. The group of chefs assembled thus far include me, chef and owner of Yawning Duck Culinary Services, and chef at The Wine Bar; Mark Graham, Chef de Cuisine/ Adelphi Hospitality; Dom Sud; Nick Yusavage, Executive Chef at Pasta Pane; and of course, Scott Ringwood of DSS, and Lake Ridge. I am working at locating others and hope to add to the list.
Service will be coordinated by Diana Murphy of Dunning Street, and by Jennifer Derby Colose, who worked at the old spot, and was FOH manager for Paul and Cheryl at the Hilton site for a couple of years. There will be former servers and bar staff on hand to complete the reunion.
As a special and very appreciated treat, Dominick Purnomo of Yono’s/dp had volunteered his time along with Joe Armstrong of Winebow Inc. to pair wines and provide wine service for the evening.
Bean Paste | Warm Rock Hill Bread | Olive Oil
Country Style Pâté| Dijon and Whole Grain Mustards | Pickles
Crab Cake | Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise | Micro Salad
English Pea and Cucumber Soup | Crème Fraiche | Pistachios
Veal Scaloppini | Lemon Cream| Braised Carrots
Crispy Duck Breast | Apricot and Green Peppercorns | Wild Rice
Camembert | Fig Jam | Candied Almonds
Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake | Whipped Cream | Fresh Berries
The cost of the event is $100 per person for dinner, wine, beer, and cocktails are additional, plus tax and gratuity. The wine pairing will be $50, a true bargain, or you can choose your own beverages.
You can call Dunning Street Station at 518-587-2000 starting Tuesday, April 9th to reserve a spot. Please, do not leave a message as you may not be guaranteed a spot. All proceeds will go directly to the cause.
Keep in mind, this is a fundraising affair and a dollar value cannot be placed on the outpouring of support, the effort necessary to create this event, and the special evening this will be.
I remember one of the first things said when the opportunity to move from the diner to the hotel came up “Now we can finally get health insurance for Randy (long time dish washer).” I never forgot that, or the generosity Chez Sophie showed many people over the years. It’s time to repay.
If you have any questions, or would like to help in any way you can, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re looking for product donations from food vendors, and items for the silent auction. I will donate an in-home dinner for eight valued at $1000. I also have a framed Chez Sophie print created and signed by Paul’s father, Joseph, that my wife and I will add to the mix.
There is also a GoFundMe page set up if you’re unable to attend the event but still want to help.