HughE Dillon: A Party for Queen Elizabeth

Plus: The Great Chefs Event

Did you know there was such a group called The English-Speaking Union of the United States, and we have a branch in Philadelphia? They’re committed to promoting scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. When I was at Freeman’s auction house last Thursday, I met a few members who invited me to their annual garden party in honor of the 84th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

The party was held in Chestnut Hill at Ballygarth, which was built in 1919 for Mrs. Benjamin Franklin Pepper by architects Willings & Sims and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Ernesta Ballard, longtime executive director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and former owner of Ballygarth, had constructed a magnificent botanical haven which, over the years, had fallen into disrepair. Our host, Ann Dupuis Hozack, has lovingly restored this property to its former glory.

ABOVE: President of ESU Debbie Webster, Renee Cantwell and Cathy Pasymowski.

ABOVE: Patsy and Val Sauri, with Nelson and Leona Shanks. Nelson is a renowned artist who has painted Princess Diana, President Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan. He lives in Bucks County and has a Center City studio.

Guests Lord and Lady Wedgwood (that’s Lord Piers Wedgwood above) donated a rare Wedgwood bowl depicting Philadelphia that was sold at the auction. (The Wedgwoods live in Chestnut Hill, too, as Lady Wedgwood is a Philadelphia girl.) Also spotted at the party: Dottie and Frank Giordano, Susan and Curtis Scovill, Kathryn Kearns and Robert Yrsoyen, Carol Kuter, Jay Pennie, Geni Klein, Dorothy Scheur and George Smith, and Michael Conti.

ABOVE: Our hostess Ann Hozack (standing), with Bonnie Derr, winner of the hat contest for her “most creative” hat. Those were real flowers in the flower pots!

Above in their Lilly Pulitzer dresses are Casey Johnson and Suzannne Lavins, with David Lauri.

ABOVE: Richard and Evelyn Willis look like they’ve come straight from The Great Gatsby.

The group made two toasts: one to the President of the United States, after which they sang “God Bless America.” Then one to the Queen, at which point they sang “God Save the Queen.” It was really a moment, and I was so glad to witness the tradition.

Last night at the Navy Yard I enjoyed The Great Chefs Event that benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. It was fantastic. I had such a good time … great people, good cause, beautiful venue, lots of celebrity chefs, and delicious food.

Thanks to Cashman & Associates for allowing me to cover the event after the official press time as I had to work my day job a little late last night. ABOVE: Nicole Cashman and Holly Derrick. Also on hand were Dana Lombardi and Ellie Kosarek. Thursday night Nicole will be the co-chair at the Rittenhouse Square Ball. Check out those pictures in Friday’s column!

ABOVE: Stan McGuire and Andrew Dean are huge fans of former Top Chef contestant Jennifer Carroll, of 10 Arts, and were thrilled to meet her. Jen tells me she is off to Aspen tomorrow to participate in the Food and Wine Classic. She tells me that she’ll be preparing a Greek meal for 1,000 people. Then Jen returns to Philly in time for Monday’s Taste of the Nation event in Philly at the Loews Hotel. 

ABOVE: Chef Guillermo Tellez, Anna Schneider (Square 1682 at the Hotel Palomar), Nick Gregory (the new GM of Hotel Palomar), and Frank Kawecki (Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants). I want to take this time to wish my friend Peggy Trott, former GM of Hotel Palomar, much success in her future. She has decided to leave Hotel Palomar on June 15th and take care of a family member in her home state of Missouri. She told me it was wonderful living in Philadelphia, and she will miss it a great deal and plans to look to The Philly Post and Philly Chit Chat to keep her up-to-date on happenings here.

ABOVE: Mark and Kelly Brogan had a great time at the event. Look for more coverage on’s Restaurant Club, and for more of my own coverage on PhillyChitChat.

Congrats to Lisa Simon, owner of the Center City public relations firm, SimonPublic Relations Group Inc., who was named to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s (PPRA) Hall of Fame on Monday at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. She was cited for “[contributing] to a multitude of nonprofits through volunteer time, guidance, and pro bono work, and [inspiring] many young professionals who have worked at Simon PR,” the trade organization said.

ABOVE: Melanie Johnson, city representative, gives Lisa Simon a citation from the city, plus a framed print of City Hall.