“Metamorphosis” dinner: A kinder and more glamorous event

Glamor. Not a word we hear much these days—as a wardrobe and lifestyle concept, all but dead among most of us.

But glamor is part of what sustained Americans through the dark days of the Great Depression—home lives were dreary but for a dime you could have all the satin and marabou feathers, white tie and tails in Hollywood.

There’s always an illusory quality to glamor—even in the ’30s, women didn’t wear charmeuse negligees all the time.

My point is, that in the middle of these dark and troubled times, the 2020s, a shot of glamor might be just what we need. It certainly did the trick at ‘Metamorphosis,’ an over-the-top fundraiser organized by Be One Small Miracle last Friday night.

The invitation requested formal dress and as you watched the cars pulled up to the McCune mansion, you could see that the request was observed. Colored lights played over the ornate facade of the hilltop house and as valets opened the doors, long, sweeps of chiffon and glittered dresses emerged to climb the steps and be greeted with a glass of champagne.

A harpist played during the cocktail hour, a string quartet played during dinner andand there was a postprandial dance performance inspired by the concept of metamorphosis which led through several of the upstairs ballrooms.

The evening ended with soul music and dancing.

Altogether, this was one of the most gracious and sophisticated evenings I’ve spent in Salt Lake, maybe ever.

And this was no banquet chicken-dinner menu either: Chefs Briar Handly and Justin Soelberg were in the kitchen but other chefs (Viet Pham, Alexa Norlin) contributed creativity.

A first course of salsify with wild onion, nettle puree, puffed amaranth and miners lettuce was followed by five more, each one small and complicated (sweet pea toast with trout roe, like tiny balloons of flavor popping off the palate), curried rabbit with carrots, lemon sorbet, lamb crepinette (fancy word for sausage patty) and a lemon chiffon dessert with lemon curd, honeycomb and buttermilk ice cream (can you say Alexa Norlin?).

James Santangelo oversaw the beverage service with inimitable aplomb and in their grandmothers’ furs, neckties instead of ball caps, champagne flutes instead of coozies, this group of (mostly) young people could have stepped right out of a Thin Man movie.

The whole extravaganza was to benefit Be One Small Miracle, the organization dreamed up by Matt Pfohl to create a fund for uninsured or underinsured people in the service industry: a great cause and an event that reminded you how wonderful the hospitality business can be.

I know that dining trends are going towards fast-casual.


Metamorphosis was a reminder that dining can be an event, an occasion for grace, a time that can elicit a feeling of warmth towards your fellow beings.

Can we bring that back?

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Maloufhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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