L’Art de Recevoir Sets the Table and A New High-Water Mark

Coral Gables Community Foundation Revives the Art of Entertaining at Home

It was an evening noted for such “bon goût” (good taste) that even a tropical storm, a raucous presidential election and a global pandemic couldn’t turn it sour. On Saturday, November 7th, more than thirty hosts and hostesses opened their homes for L’Art de Recevoir, the art of entertaining, a glamorous French-inspired dining experience held across the City of Coral Gables’ most beautiful estates, penthouses and gardens.

Benefitting the Coral Gables Community Foundation and honoring seven community leaders, the first of its kind at-home fine dining experience was co-chaired by Sissy De Maria-Koehne and Lauren Harrison-Brown. Raising more than toasts and spirits in this challenging time, the benefit raised nearly $300K to support the Coral Gables Community Foundation’s pivotal outreach.

Co Chair Sissy DeMaria-Koehne & Dr. Guenther Koehne at home
Co-chairs Lauren Harrison-Brown and Blake Brown

Patrons enjoyed intimate and socially compliant dinner parties, with French Fare and Flair. Gourmet meals were deliciously prepared locally and served by Le Basque, with dessert by famed Pastry Chef Antonio Bachour, wine paired by Jeffrey Wolfe from Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe and florals by Belle Fleur. The evening’s distinguished honorees included: Bill Bonn for the Legacy Award, Matthew Meehan for the Philanthropy Award, Meg Daly for the Arts & Culture Award, David Evensky for the Jerry Santeiro Community Award, Dr. Michael Zinner for the Education Award presented by Trish & Dan Bell, Jonathan Vilma for the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute and Mayda Cisneros for the inaugural Gables Beautiful Award.

Each of the thirty hosts celebrated the theme L’Art de Recevoir in surprising, unique and delightful ways. At the residence of the Dr. Guenther Koehne and Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, guests were asked to don bow ties in lieu of formal black tie and read quotes about what makes a city great. Á la maison de Norma Jean Abraham, friends and family sported French berets and masks adorned with the Eiffel Tower. Trish and Dan Bell’s guests were given table-top, personalized cell phone holders to facilitate silent auction bidding, while at the home of newlyweds, Blake Brown and Lauren Harrison-Brown, the dining room was transformed into a French jardín, with plants and statuary. The Foundation’s Philanthropy Award Honoree, Matthew Meehan and his husband, Rod Hildebrant, served exceptional wine from their private home cellar and treated guests to a tasting complete with a sommelier.

Co-chair Sissy at home
Frost School of Music harpist

“In this challenging year, when the pandemic forced so many out of jobs, the Community Foundation sprang into action by providing free meals (while also supporting local restaurants) to home-bound seniors and out-of-work individuals daily for 8 weeks. In addition, the Foundation recently launched the Restaurants Rally initiative, where we award grants to locally owned restaurants that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related closures. These grants, in addition to providing support to local restaurants, are in turn providing gift certificates to those who would enjoy a meal at a favorite Gables restaurant,” said Mary Snow, Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.

“The City said said oui” said DeMaria-Koehne, adding that “it was so inspiring to see the community come together. Despite the many challenges we were very proud to have pulled this off and done so with flying colors. We hope it becomes an annual affair.”

Hosts Dr. Edmund & Liz Parnes with Mary Snow, Executive Director and Chair, Laura Russo
Honoree Dr. Mike Zinner & Ambassador Nancy Brinker

This year’s event was coordinated by Elle Becerra with Events by Elle and sponsors included: Platinum Sponsors Trish & Dan Bell, Norma Jean Abraham & The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, Ray Corral & Mosaicist, Baptist Health and Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute; Gold Sponsors Kreps DeMaria Public Relations & Marketing and Williamson Cadillac; Exclusive Automotive Partner: Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables; Merci Beaucoup Sponsors: Belmont Village Senior Living, Patricia Keon, Bacardi, The Biltmore, FPL and Coastal Construction; Program Partners: The City of Coral Gables and WLRN; Media Sponsors Miami Herald and Coral Gables Magazine; In-Kind Sponsors Alliance Francaise. For more information, contact Mary Snow, 305.446.9670, mary@gablesfoundation.org, or visit www.gablesfoundation.org.

Platinum Sponsors Norma Jean & Thomas Abraham
Miguel Perez & Shannon Perez
Perezes + Don Slesnick
Legacy Award Honoree Bill Bonn with husband, Ruben Ceballos
Community Award Honoree David Evensky with wife Cristina Evensky
Philanthropy Award Honoree Matthew Meehan
Host Aura Reinhardt with son, Philip Gebauer and Le Basque team
Trish & Dan Bell, Platinum Sponsors and presenters of the 2020 Education Award
Meg Daly for the Arts & Culture Award
Mayda Cisneros for the inaugural Gables Beautiful Award presented by Ray Corral
Alina Meledina & Ray Corral, Platinum Sponsors and presenter of the 2020 Gables Beautiful Award
Jonathan Vilma for the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.
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