The white-gloved butler reached for the door and, with a genteel air, welcomed each of the guests to the manor house. No, this was not a trailer for the upcoming “Downton Abbey” film. Indeed, it was long-time volunteer James R. Urban greeting elegantly dressed patrons to the 24th annual gala to support the national landmark Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.
Built between 1912 and 1915, the Stan Hywet estate offered a home for F.A. Seiberling, co-founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and his wife Gertrude to grow and gather their family. “A Chef’s Canvas” gala celebrated the art of the culinary and the legacy of Gertrude Seiberling’s own artistry. Hors d’oeuvres arrived on wood trays shaped like artist’s palettes. Mitzi Lai and Lynda Rimka of the Akron Society of Artists sketched the scenes, as the summer-solstice sun cast a warm glow over the floral gowns and dapper tuxedos at the cocktail reception on the lush green lawn.
The menu, presented by Driftwood Catering, started with a salad of local greens, roasted candy-striped beets, goat cheese and candied walnuts. For the entrée, beef tenderloin paired with squash-blossom “wrapped” halibut and roasted tomato pistou of garlic, basil and olive oil. To finish, the 525 patrons were invited to create their own artistic cheesecake parfait, with a lemon wafer and a blueberry cream “paint” to pour over the dessert.
Presented by the Lehner Family Foundation and the J.M. Smucker Company, this year’s event was chaired by Timothy and Jennifer DelMedico. The gala’s proceeds, aimed at $150,000, will help ensure the continued preservation of the historic Stan Hywet estate. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT