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  • Writer's pictureSamantha McCandless

An Evening with One of Paris’ Top Chefs

Global Partners in Hope and some of our closest friends wined and dined for an evening with one of Paris’ top Chefs. On Wednesday, February 14, Chef Francis Ogé flew from France to prepare an exclusive four-course meal while promoting GPiH’s work around the world. Guests, staff, community partners, and the GPiH team alike enjoyed a romantic evening over the best French cuisine, all while helping people in need!

Cuisinier for the President of the French Republic

Photo Above – Chef Franics Ogé

Chef Francis Ogé has been a staff Cuisinier for the last four presidents of France, including current president Emmanuel Macron. The renowned chef was the 2011 winner of the Festival International de la Gastronomie. Originally from Togo, Francis moved to France at the young age of ten. It was during this time that Francis became friends with Zach Vickers, son of CEO Ian Vickers while the family was living in Paris. It is through their relationship that Ian Vickers became close with Francis. The two have remained close throughout the years, even when the Vickers family moved back to Omaha.

Last August during the Children Matter Benefit Concert and Auction with special guest Gene Simmons, Francis graciously offered his special skillset as an auction item, a private five- course meal and wine pairing for ten guests. The Las Vegas natives who won the auction item were thrilled to have Francis prepare a meal for them and their friends. Since Francis was flying all the way from Paris for the auction event, he gracious offered his time to host a similar event in Omaha. The GPiH team was thrilled to have Chef Ogé visit Omaha for this once in a lifetime opportunity to connect our mission to develop communities and our love for good food with people who see the impact of our work…..

The Preparations Begin

Since August, the GPiH team has been dedicated to make this event not only a unique culinary experience, but also an opportunity to impact international and local communities alike. Through collaborating with Metro Community College, Field Club of Omaha, and Complete Weddings GPiH was able to raise awareness for the necessity of clean water, medical care, solar energy, and leadership development while enjoying the best of French cuisine.

The Venue

The GPiH team was thrilled to host the event at Field Club of Omaha, the oldest private golf club west of the Mississippi River. With a beautiful view of the golf course, a redone clubhouse, and an impressive kitchen, Field Club was the perfect venue for the evening with Chef Ogé. Thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of Caitlin Mell, Event Coordinator for Field Club, planning and decorating for the event was a piece of cake! All the linens and tableware were provided by the Club. The clubs Executive Chef, Fortino Gallardo, was invaluable with helping Chef Ogé plan the menu and ordering the necessary ingredients for the meal. With such a wonderful and welcoming staff, the Field Club of Omaha truly made planning this event effortless.

Picture Above – Table Setting at the Field Club of Omaha

GPiH was connected to the Field Club of Omaha through our professional friendship between Field Club event coordinator, Caitlin Mell and Spencer Evers from Complete Weddings+ Events. During the event itself, Spencer also supplied all the sound equipment and ran the soundboard. Without his help, an Evening with One of Paris’ Top Chefs would not have been possible.

The Meal

The majority of the planning focused on creating a menu and then prepping and cooking for the event. Chef Ogé worked with Field Club of Omaha’s Executive Chef, Fortino Gallardo, to plan a French menu that could be made with ingredients from the United States. From there, the two then worked together to find the best wines to pair with the meal. Though it took a great amount of planning and translating, the two chefs were finally able to create the perfect menu.

Since the chefs had to prepare a four-course meal for over 50 attendees, Chef Ogé recruited the help from students at Metropolitan Community College’s Institute of Culinary Arts. Not only did Chef Ogé get skilled, experienced help, but also students from the school were able to gain invaluable knowledge from the renowned French Chef. Overall both student and master alike savored working for a cause that is greater than just good food, saving peoples lives.

A Romantic Evening of French Cuisine

The night before Valentine’s Day, all of the hard work, planning, and prepping was brought to fruition. On the romantic evening, over 50 guests attended to support developing communities across the globe while enjoying authentic French cuisine.

The Courses

Picture Above – Chef’s Main Course

The meal started with an appetizer translated to English as “the perfect egg”. This dish, known as oeuf parfait, crème de chataigne, consisted of a hard-boiled egg that was cooked at exactly 41degrees Celecius. It was accompanied by a mushroom and cream reduction that was ever so rich and creamy. For the second course, the first entre was a salmon filet with a ginger salsa and a side of pureed parsnips. This dish, otherwise known as tournedos de saumon et sa puree de panais, was paired with a sweet Riesling that truly brought out all of the flavors throughout the dish. For the second entre, which was paired with a smooth merlot blend, was a roast had marinated and slow cooked for over 12 hours. The jour de boeuf braise was so tender it would cut like butter. For the final course, Chef Ogé prepared a beautiful dessert of a mango tart and madeleine cake.

The Impact

Left to Right – Jannie Price, Brenna Sauer, Ian Vickers

Through hosting an Evening with One of Paris’ Top Chefs, GPiH brought together the whole community in an effort to raise awareness for the needs around the world by partnering with local businesses, students, and organizations alike.

Several television stations even picked up the story for the evening news that broadcasted our mission around the city. Everyone who tuned into the local news learned about how GPiH provides clean water, medical care, solar energy, and leadership development to the most desperate areas while still being light-hearted and finding joy in our work.

Everyone at Global Partners in Hope is thankful to the hard work and dedication of all those who were involved in planning such an amazing evening. It is through collaboration and working together that a true impact can be made. Like the old Africa proverb said- “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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