HughE Dillon: PHS Pheast

Local chefs and growers team up on farm-to-table dishes for Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

On Friday night, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) transformed its warehouse at the Philadelphia Navy Yard into a rustic party venue for Pheast, a celebration of farm-to-table dishes with culinary collaborations from the region’s finest chefs and local growers. The event supports PHS’s City Harvest program, which grows fresh produce to feed more than 1,000 families in need weekly. Pictured: Jon McDowell, Drew Becher, PHS president, Karen Regan, Aimee Olexy, of Talula’s Table and Talula’s Garden, and David Fierabend, Groundswell Design Group.

It really was a different kind of event; it was sold out, but not packed. The dress was diverse, from suits to cocktail dresses to plaid shirts and jeans. The food was delicious, lots of dishes with a bounty of fall harvest vegetables. The PHS warehouse is where they now keep the 56-foot table that served as the centerpiece, lined with colorful chairs, of the PHS pop-up garden in Rittenhouse Square this past summer. There were also the fun animal sculptures that were used in a past Flower Show, and then later circled Logan Circle.

Below: Molly DeLeon and Chef Al Paris. Al tells me he is happier than ever at his new place, Heirloom, and I think you can tell from this photo. He is glowing. He loves the Chestnut Hill area, the people, the history, and especially the association that has been doing great things with the neighborhood. Last weekend was the Fall Festival there, and next week is “Harry Potter weekend,” starting on Friday night. Al says Heirloom is a BYOB restaurant, so bring your pumpkin beer and enjoy dinner with them.

Below: Mark A. Focht, deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Amy Ridall, director of PR at Select Medical, Nicole Ridall, and Ray Pennacchia, SVP at NovaCare Rehabilitation.

Below: Mike Toub, Dana Spain, Melanie Martin and Michael Wiener. Michael loved the sweet potato soup with red curry and coconut by Hope Cohen, who was partnered with Germantown Kitchen Garden.

Below: Liz Shapiro, Legal Search, Carol Rosen Sacks, and Anny Deirmenjian Deese, publicist, Image Unlimited Communications. Liz loved Heirloom’s winter kale and princess pumpkin tart with carrot “bacon.”

Below: Nicolette Brycki (whose favorite dish was the Vetri Foundation’s roast pork loin, and autumn panzanella salad with orange agrodolce), Andrew Stein, Commonwealth Proper, and Monique Brycki.

It’s a family affair for Kate Wilhelm Chimicles, PHS’s SVP of business development (right), as she poses with her brother, Bill Wilhelm, husband Chris Chimicles, sister-in-law Gretchen Wilhelm, dad Bob Wilhelm, and mom Stephanie Wilhelm.

Below: Cristy Michaels, Chef David Boyle (who’s preparing a three-course dinner of seasonally inspired foods and perfectly paired gluten-free beer selections at his restaurant Davio’s until October 28th), and food personality Hope Cohen (whose new book Fast, Fresh and Simple should be out soon).

Below: Wadiya Gooden, Kelly Herrenkohl, and Tia McDonald, from the Vetri Foundation for Children, which partnered with Nice Roots Farm to create a delisious dish that combined pork loin with the harvest of the season. The night’s honorary Pheast chair was Marc Vetri.

Below: Dan Moise, web and social media specialist at PHS, Alan Jaffe, PHS public relations manager, Barb Peterson, PHS editorial and social media associate, and Drew Becher tabulate the votes for the best dish of the event.

Below: In third place was Jeff and Ashley Power’s dish from Dettera; they paired with Gold Coin Farm to create their smoke duck dish with caramelized pumpkin and smoked mustard. The evening’s second choice was from Davio’s, a penne pasta and butternut squash.

Below: The winning dish came from Wyatt P. Lash, Jr. of the Whip Tavern, and Nice Roots Farm, an herb-crusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato puree and bacon-braised brussels sprouts. It was a great inaugural event, and as one guest told me, “I hope they keep everything the same, it was perfect. Just the right amount of people, focus was on the food and it was a super relaxed environment.”