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The Joie de Vivre of Michel Richard

October 17, 2016

Bil Plante (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bil Plante

Five hundred friends came out Sunday to celebrate the life of Michel Richard as only those who knew him can do.

The Embassy of France hosted a lavish memorial with a champagne reception and moving program with master of ceremonies, CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante.

The embassy's first counselor, Patrick Lachaussee called Richard "an alchemist of taste, and ambassador of our cuisine ...  a virtuoso in the kitchen .... his work reflected his great sensitivity, a poet ... a generous, loyal and enthusiastic friend."

Richard's widow Laurence spoke lovingly of her husband while son Michael, also a chef, called his father "my biggest mentor."

Thomas Keller (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se talked about having gathered together the first generation of French chefs in America who helped elevate French cuisine. He found Richard to be "mischevious and endlessly inventive. He was a pastry chef who became a chef's chef."

Larry Shupnick (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Larry Shupnick

Richard's business partner, Larry Shupnick was responsible for bringing the Citrus chef to DC from LA where he had started with his original restaurant and pastry shop. In 1998, Richard opened Citronelle in Georgetown.

Founding Director of L'Academie de Cuisine Francois Dionet told guests that they have renamed a kitchen in honor of Michel Richard.

Mel Davis and Jennifer Lucy (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mel Davis and Jennifer Lucy

Fondly, Chef Mark Bucher recalled how Richard wanted to be remembered, "For my fried chicken which stays crunchy for hours and for my f#*king Kit-Kat bars that are better than the Mars company."

Joie de Vivre, a video produced by long-time associate Mel Davis was filled with affectionate anecdotes by fellow chefs and behind the scenes antics of a man who shared his sweet magic every day of his too short life. 




(Photo by: Judith Beermann)
Patrick Lachausee (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Patrick Lachausee
(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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Watergate Florist Goes Digital

October 12, 2016

"If you truly care about art, beauty and a refined way of living, call me." The Georgetown Dish caught up with Julian Vaughn, owner of Watergate Florist and Design Studio Wednesday at Cafe Milano as he shared breaking news about his iconic floral business.

Julian Vaughn at Cafe Milano (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Julian Vaughn at Cafe Milano


Ever since he moved into the Watergate complex eight years ago, Vaughn would stop by Watergate Florist on his way home from work with the flowers he'd picked up at the grocery store along with provisions for dinner. "Can you make it look fancy?" he'd ask Jose Capestany, resident floral designer. "Darling, just leave it, and I'll send it up to you." A weekly ritual was born. Vaughn was so enamored with the dazzling arrangements and with the personal attention that he offered to buy the business when the owners were ready.


Two years ago they were. What surprised the proud new owner most was how a 40-year old business could be 'art-propelled' all those years, with handwritten bills and house accounts unsecured by credit cards. Six hundred residents would get floral news on the Watergate intranet.


The Bicycle Arrangement (Photo by: Watergate Florist & Design Studio) The Bicycle Arrangement

And so it was with the latest missive: "When one chapter ends, another begins. And so it is to be for the Watergate Florist. Today we ceased operating as a walk-in retail experience in a place we've occupied for most of the history of this storied complex and our entire business life ... Today, in keeping up with the times, The Watergate Florist and Design Studio goes digital and will shortly include interactive video, 360 views bringing products alive on multiple screens to close the gap between an on-screen image and that experience of holding a product in a store ... Soon we will provide you with a fun, hip, pop-up way of experiencing the Watergate Way."


The people who renovated the Watergate Hotel, Vaughn explained, "put it together with such passion and attention to detail." Against that backdrop, Vaughn intends to keep the old world elegance of his business but "update it like fashion with design and energy, beauty and design." 


Fresh from a floral design seminar in Portland, Oregon and armed with the latest trends and industry secrets, Vaughn is ready to expand Watergate Florist's web presence and cultivate online partnerships.


For more information, contact Julian Vaughn at Watergate Florist and Design Studio at 202.251.1833 and on Facebook and Twitter.




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Georgetown Kicks Off C&O Canal Restoration

October 5, 2016

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (Photo by: Judith Beermann) DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

Several hundred community leaders, residents and visitors gathered Wednesday to gongoozle at Lock 4 on Thomas Jefferson Street. Thank Joe Sternlieb, CEO and President of the Georgetown BID for explaining to the crowd that this British expression describes a person who enjoys watching activity on the canals. Indeed.


C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt kicked off the first phase of the C&O Canal Restoration project which was marked by having the C&O Canal mules Dolly and Eva tow the boat away one last time to make way for a new one in 2018.


il Canale pizza distributed to guests (Photo by: Judith Beermann) il Canale pizza distributed to guests

Following the recent centennial of the U.S. Park Service, Brandt said, “It’s time to honor the past in this second century of stewardship of national heritage, and break new ground for a vision of the C& O Canal. While the canal is 184 1/2 miles long, more than a million visitors come to Georgetown to see the two miles here.”

Kevin Brandt, C&O Canal Superintendent (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Kevin Brandt, C&O Canal Superintendent

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was introduced and acknowledged Georgetown Heritage and the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) as examples of “our long history of partnerships, leveraging what the government can do with private sector. Restoring the canal helps restore DC’s rich history … School children will be going up and down the canal once again.”

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Before Eva and Dolly towed the old canal boat past lock 4, Sternlieb explained the evolution of this 3 1/2 year project which “went from replacing a boat to creating the High Line of Washington DC. We want to bring people back to the 19th century and immerse children in the history of the neighborhood.”


The send-off marks the first phase of the restoration project which will include repairs to Locks 3 and 4, the launching of a new historic replica canal boat, and the development of a Comprehensive Master Plan to guide further revitalization of the C&O Canal NHP in Georgetown.

Dolly and Eva before the tow (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Dolly and Eva before the tow

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Joe Sternlieb chat before the event (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mayor Muriel Bowser and Joe Sternlieb chat before the event

Dolly (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Dolly

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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