The annual awards ceremony and chef-filled gala reception, held May 4 in Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, drew about 1,700 people to celebrate one of the most prestigious honors in the food industry. The Women in Food theme was reinforced by an all-female roster of 23 chefs plus women mixologists, winemakers, cheesemakers and other food producers who dished out bites of their signature dishes throughout the lobby and upstairs in the grand promenade.
"With such a high-profile affair there was a lot of pressure intrinsic to the event, yet working at Avery Fisher Hall was an absolute pleasure," says UVLD lighting designer Gregory Cohen. "They have an in-house lighting package which we supplemented with additional fixtures rented from Scharff Weisberg." The producer of the event, David Bowen, of Bowen and Company, and his technical producer, Megan Reynolds, of Extraordinary Event provided the creative brief: "They wanted the look of a polished modern awards show," notes Cohen, "so we brought in a moving-light package to add animation and some glitz to the awards."
UVLD was tasked with turning around the lighting the same day, beginning the load in at 6 am for the 6 pm event and running a fair amount of cable to power up tables in the VIP seating area. There was no set inside the room, just a large 16x9 screen, so UVLD decided to uplight and crosslight the venue's architecture to add interest. "We colored and textured the warm wood walls so the look became about the architecture of the room rather than about a cyc or scenic element," Cohen explains.
Megan Reynolds chose technical director Marty Goldenberg of Marlyn Productions to manage the staging aspects of the event, who then in turn brought in UVLD. "Working with Megan and Marty was a real treat," notes Cohen. "The program itself is world class, and they were able to get the information and guidance we needed from the end client. We knew what they wanted going in, so there wasn't the traditional last-minute scramble before the doors open."
The awards were cohosted by Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse and Stanley Tucci, who plays Julia Child's husband Paul in the new movie, "Julie & Julia," due for release this summer. Julia Child was a friend of James Beard and a founding member of the organization.
Sal Restuccia severed as production electrician for UVLD, and Cameron Yeary was the programmer.
Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) creates lighting designs for corporate theater, live entertainment, themed environments, trade shows and special events. UVLD is a partnership of 10 designers working in all aspects of lighting design; their work has been seen on stages and screens nationwide and around the world. Clients include IBM, Mitsubishi, Honda, Kia, Mercedes, Volvo, Volkswagen, John Deere, Microsoft, Cartier, Victoria's Secret, FedEx, Avon and Audi.