Black Tie & Tales


Black Tie & Tales


Date: April 18, 2012
by: Loren Mayo and Molly Schechter | Observer Staff


+ A feast of fun
That’s the only way to describe Asolo Rep’s second “Men Who Cook” event, held Sunday, April 15, at the Longboat Key Club. Event planners take note: Engage your guests to enliven your event. Jeff Sedacca, an event participant, was at least 30 pounds lighter than he was in the headshot used for the party. His wife, Nikki, adorned their table with aprons outfitted with a custom logo and coordinated cheerleader pompoms, his mom, Marge, was there to lead the hooting and hollering. Aimee Cogan went all-out for her hubby, Chris, providing camo shirts for all, Nerf guns for the gents and fancy water pistols for the ladies, all on-message with his dish — military mess hall chili. The parade of chefs was a hoot: Jerry Feinstein marched in with two carrots (borrowed from the Key Club kitchen) held high. Asolo Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards was the first to “sell out” his dish. He admitted to using a “ghost chef”; Morton’s Market prepared the American Character Salmon named in honor of the 2012-2013 season. Fleming’s Steakhouse Managing Partner Dean DeFebo really did cook his yummy chicken Marsala and even did his own prep. There were three restaurateurs in the mix: DeFebo, Andrew Mayer of Roy’s and Steve Seidensticker of Libby’s. Not only did they cook, they donated items for the mini live auction. The moment that takes the cake comes from the auction (mostly home-made). Newlywed Yara Shoemaker says it took her three hours to create her gorgeous, oversized chocolate cake, but that it was worth it. Bob Bartner won it with a bid of $1,000.

+ Posh party plans
The date for the second Fashionable Gala, to be hosted by the Designing Daughters, Thursday, May 17, at Sarasota Yacht Club, is fast approaching.

The event, one of a series of events celebrating the 1oth anniversary of Designing Women Boutique, will be chaired by Natalie Chambers and Dana Soldati. The boutique is one of Sarasota’s premier non-profit consignment stores.

Guests can be sure to expect superlative style and fashion awards for best dressed and accessorized, with prizes and auction packages featuring lavish products and services from local vendors. The nautical-themed evening will be held poolside.

“We are thrilled to host a night of fun and fashion at such a beautiful venue,” says Dana Soldati, co-chairwoman of the event. “Designing Daughters is proud to involve the next generation of Sarasota philanthropists in our desire to give back to our community.”

Tickets are $85 and available for purchase at Designing Women Boutique and T. Georgiano’s. Tickets will also be available at the door for $95. For information, contact

+ As many guests as years
There were three generations of Friedman women and the imminent possibility of a fourth among the 92 guests at the Sunday, April 15 luncheon in honor of Bea Friedman’s 92nd birthday. The party was hosted at the home of daughter and son-in-law, Ilene Friedman and Greg Gregory, and had a tax-day theme, of course. The remarkable Friedman family is blessed to have friends dating back many decades. Pat Hase recalls that Bea was pregnant with Ilene at the Hases’ wedding 1949. Fred Nagel offered a reminiscence of Bea’s late husband, Allan: “Allan was ‘meat and potatoes’ — the exact opposite of pretentious.” Other friends of long-duration included Libby and Howard Garnitz and Marilyn and Irv Naiditch. Maria Wirries, who calls Greg Gregory “grandpa,” much to his delight, entertained along with Nick Drivas, fellow freshman at Manatee School for the Arts. Maria’s voice teacher, Alan Corey, was on piano and Gary Reinstrom, on bagpipes, accompanied them. 

+ Most wanted
The Woman’s Exchange held its annual volunteer luncheon Monday, April 2, at Michael’s On East. This year’s theme was “Going West.” Some guests, such as Linda Ploger, Barbara Van Eycken and Dan Ploger, donned cowboy hats and handkerchiefs; others, such as Doreen Rouse, rode a stick horse. Pat Panet-Raymond carried a lasso and wore a sheriff’s badge. Then, there was Audrey Sagers, winner of the Woman’s Exchange “Most Wanted” award for most years served as a volunteer — 35, to be exact.
The event celebrated the organization volunteers and its 50th anniversary. CEO Karen Koblenz announced that the Woman’s Exchange had surpassed its giving goal of $250,000 and would be awarding $325,000 this fiscal year to local arts and cultural organizations, as well as students pursuing higher education in the arts. The awards ceremony will take place in June.


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