Michel Richard with his team: Daniel Storm, T.J. Degnan, Josh Thomas, and Patrick Robinson. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt
These two weeks are the home stretch of the holiday party season in Washington. Every night somewhere, everywhere, there will be festivities, ranging from friendly gatherings on a shoestring budget to lavish corporate soirees in hotel ballrooms. It’s a very happy time for the catering industry. This past weekend, we got to attend a few of the parties.
Even though he now lives mostly in New York, William Haseltine returned to Georgetown for his annual holiday party held Sunday night with his sister, Florence, and his brother, Eric. Haseltine, a scientist and biotech entrepreneur, founded Humane Genome Sciences.
The Haseltine party was heavy with National Institute of Health luminaries such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife, Christine Grady; legal power, including Williams & Connolly’s Brendan Sullivan with his wife, Lila O’Brien Sullivan; friends from the business world and Harvard J on Ledecky and Mark Ein; and an assortment of entrepreneurs and social stalwarts, such as Bill and Ann Nitze, Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, Judith Terra, Finlay Lewis, Mandy and Mary Ourisman, Joann Mason, Barbara Harrison, Calvin and Jane Cafritz, Richard Marks, Nora Maccoby, Ina Ginsburg, Didi Cutler, Francesca Craig, Arturo, and Hilda Brillembourg, among so many others
Waiters in black tie served warmed cinnamon-spiced cider and red and white wine, and Haseltine’s large dining room table was a feast of turkey, ham, chicken, an assortment of vegetables, biscuits, cheeses, and fruit and his always great macaroni and cheese. Carolers sung from the steps inside the entry hall.
Earlier Sunday, more than 700 people filled the ballroom and beyond at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown for the annual Georgetown Jingle, a cheerful and resplendent fundraiser for the Georgetown University Pediatric Oncology program. In the ballroom, a dozen stations were set up by local restaurants, including Estadio, Proof, Ris, the Source, Matchbox, Paul, Blue Moon, and Bourbon Steak. Adjacent rooms featured more food plus displays of items for sale in the silent auction, a special room for children to play games and meet Santa, and an exotic “ice” room for teens, with nonalcoholic drinks. Outside the entrance to the “ice” room, fur hats and coats were provided, and then, naturally, had to be returned.
Fourteen young cancer patients served as “ambassadors,” and were partnered with area designers to create unique Christmas trees that were also for sale. The designers included Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, Patrick Baglino Jr., Wendy Danziger, Dee Thornton, Molly Kunselman, Kate Robertson, Gloria Blalock, Joe Ireland, Gary Lovejoy, Rosie Sauser, Camille Saum, Eleanor McKay, and Claire Niermann.
Another party for children was held on Saturday afternoon at Citronelle restaurant. Guests who brought toys or a monetary donation were treated to a kitchen buffet of all kinds of desserts, plus hot chocolate, eggnog, and sparkling cider. Chef Michel Richard was everywhere, welcoming children and parents. He and his kitchen staff donned bright red Santa hats as they served sweets from the buffet line. Richard started his culinary career as a pastry chef, meaning everything was irresistible and therefore a challenge to decide between napoleons, cupcakes, fruit tarts, and assorted cookies. The solution was to have a little bit of everything.