French Embassy fetes SAINT with dinner
Fine conversation and a fabulous dinner were the order of the evening as French Ambassador to Jamaica Olivier Guyonvarch and his affable wife Boulie Jeong welcomed SAINT International chief executive officer Deiwght Peters and the model-maker’s curated guest list to the consul’s official Hillcrest Avenue residence last Thursday. Guyonvarch who arrived in the island in October 2021 to assume diplomatic duties had been a specially invited guest judge for Peters’ recent Avant Garde Designer of the Year competition at AC Hotel Kingston, and so relished the experience, he thought it prudent to return the gesture to the SAINT CEO with an invitation to break bread.
“I have known Deiwght since I came to Jamaica,” he told the evening’s dinner party of art insiders, politicos, culinary maestros and models over champagne sips from bottles specially shipped in from Normandy ahead of his resident chef Cornealia Charley-Beecher’s three-course repast. “Even though he’d come many times to the embassy, I had never invited him to a seated dinner, and in French tradition, such a dinner is the highest way to welcome your guests and show your appreciation, and this was an excellent occasion to do so after his invitation to be a judge,” Ambassador Guyonvarch explained, adding that the SAINT show marked his first time being called upon to critique anything in the fashion domain.
Dinner opened with mini zucchini tarts with feta cream garnished with a garden salad and a lite balsamic vinaigrette. For the entrée, guests tucked into oven-roasted fish served with Mediterranean-roasted vegetables with mashed potatoes and a white wine sauce. This was paired with a Chablis white wine from Burgundy. Dessert was choquette, with mango and berry sorbet garnished with mint, blueberries and raspberries. In-between forkfuls of their fresh-cream treats, the dinner party were served pours of Sauternes, a delicacy wine from Bordeaux vintage 2015. Consensus around the table on the wine selections was positive, save for guest, 16-year-old Drucillah Campbell, SAINT’s newly minted female Fashion Face of the Caribbean winner who was naturally served water throughout the night.
As guests lustily applauded her gourmet output, among them visiting London-based celebrity Chef Collin Brown (currently executive chef for the United Kingdom’s 43-restaurant chain Turtle Bay), post-dinner, a pleased Chef Charley-Beecher said: “Having catered to a number of guests here on prior occasions, I was inspired by the taste profiles they gravitated to and so came up with a menu that would elicit favourable response.”
With a decades-long partnership with the French embassy that includes collaboration on the biennial locally hosted Touch of France cultural showcase, Peters’ models from Jamaica and Africa have been facilitated with work visas for photo shoots and runway assignments for such luxury fashion houses as Chanel, Balmain, Hermes, Saint Laurent, Chloe, Louis Vuitton, Celine and others. Extending immense gratitude to his host and saluting the chef, Peters summarily remarked, “This is an important expression of applause to SAINT’S groundbreaking and unprecedented relationships of its models to powerful French brands.” And, as the evening wound down, and the dinner party repaired to the deck for convivial chatter, State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Alando Terrelonge hailed Peters: “As a success story and what belief in one’s self can accomplish … SAINT has positively changed many young persons’ lives in Jamaica.”