Fall for the Arts: Mayor Jim Watson's gala for the arts

This past Saturday, Mayor Jim Watson hosted a sold-out crowd of 250 guests for his inaugural Fall for the Arts, Mayor’s Gala held at the historical Horticulture Building at Lansdowne. I was fortunate to be invited as media to this very important event supporting and recognizing local artists new and established. There were two beneficiaries for 2016, Ottawa Arts Council and the Ottawa Art Gallery. Mayor Watson announced that $75,000 was raised with proceeds going directly towards the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and the Arts Court Development Project. Guests at the event included Ottawa Liberal MP, Catherine McKenna, many city councilors, including Mathieu Fleury, Jan Harder, Diane Deans, and Tim Tierney along with a number of corporate sponsors like Rogers, CIBC, Minto, and Star Motors to name a few.

Photo credit: City of Ottawa

The team behind the gala did an incredible job of transforming the space inside the Horticulture Building. Guests were greeted by an art presentation featuring works of art hung from the ceiling that were brought in from the the Ottawa Art Gallery’s collection. The evening started off with a cocktail hour giving guests the opportunity to mingle, admire the art, sip on signature cocktails, nosh on various hors d’oeuvres from Thyme and Again and fresh-shucked oysters from the Whalesbone.

Photo credit: City of Ottawa

The event featured a four-course sit down dinner that brought in some of the city’s top chefs from Beckta, Atelier and the Thyme & Again. As the cocktail hour came to a close, guests were invited to take their seats for the first course. This course comprised a plate of locally crafts meats, house made pickles, condiments and artisan old-world bread -- a collaboration between Thyme & Again, Seed to Sausage, The Wellington Gastropub, and Nat’s Bread Company.

Between the first and second course, world-famous pianist, Angela Hewitt took to the centre stage for the evenings feature performance. Hewitt (originally from Ottawa) performed two pieces and captivated everyone at the gala with her talent.

The second course of the evening was prepared by two-time Gold Medal Plates winner Marc Lepine of Atelier. The beautifully prepared plate showcased seared yellow tuna with sake-soy gel sheet, pickled jalapeño, yuzu pudding, avocado, scallion, and shiso.

For the main course, guests feasted on Quebec agree duck breast, duck leg confit fritter, creamy duck liver pate, duck jerky with roasted heirloom carrots, autumn succotash red currant duck demi prepared by Executive Chef, Michael Moffat of Beckta.

The final course was a trio of desserts create by pastry chef Kylie Anglesey of Thyme and Again. The lively discussion at our table was about trying to figure out which was the best one. It was really hard to choose since they were all so good. This delectable dessert course was a perfect finish to a wonderful evening and event hosted by the Mayor. If future events are anything like this one, they are sure to be a sellout.

 Cover Photo Credit: City of Ottawa.