Tonight was truly beautiful. I was invited to an art reception at Charlie Trotter's, a wonderfully chic restaurant owned by Chef Charlie Trotter himself, who is renowned in Chicago and across the US for his elegant cuisine but also his TV cooking show and culinary schools.
Arriving early, I caught up with J, who I met at the Union League Club's jazz night last Friday. He introduced me to Tenzin, who was on the organising team of the art exhibition we were there to celebrate. It turns out that the exhibition is called "The Missing Peace" and is currently showing in California. The exhibition asks artists to be inspired by the Dalai Lama and the quest for peace. Art installations and submissions took two years to complete but the examples I saw tonight were amazing. Tenzin and I chatted for about an hour, and he held my champagne glass while I partook of the superb hors d'oeuvres (truffles, salmon roe, an emulsion of something foreign...all of it was amazing).
What I didn't realise until much later, after Chef Trotter donated $10,000 to the exhibition on the spot (to much applause), was that Tenzin had been the personal aide to the Dalai Lama for 11 years. I was floored! I had been using him as a coaster for my champagne! I was so embarassed, so my new friend Jen and I went up and apologised to him. He loves us and just laughed and laughed. So humble and a real gentleman.
Then I met a guy outside who donated a $3m turbine to the Georgia Tech Engineering School and used to drink shots with the King of Morocco. He has my business card, because he's going to see what he can do for me, job-wise. He did say that with my blonde hair, I'd be sold in Morocco within minutes. He didn't say how many camels I'd fetch though. I should have asked.
But anyway, my attendance tonight means I'm on the list to be invited to the gala opening of "The Missing Peace" exhibition when it comes to Chicago in October. I hope my buddy Tenzin will be there again, but this time I'll be more respectful than to have him hold my drink while I stuff my face.