Duff Goldman, celebrity chef and founder of Charm City Cakes, bent over his station at GLAAD’s Hancock Park, a food-themed fundraiser for the LGBT nonprofit organization. He carefully poured chocolate mousse onto the rosewater cookies lining the table, and then crowned each confection with a white, diamond-shaped sculpture of sugar.
“I found this company — they’re in 3D printing and sugar. So, they actually printed me out these cagey diamond things,” he stated, referencing the culinary design company Sugar Lab. “It actually tastes like cotton candy.”
A bee circled the tabled before resting on one of the edible sculptures. “Our best customer,” Goldman joked. Next to the bee, a placard, formatted like a love letter, rested. It read: “printed sugar engagement diamonds, in celebration of Supreme Court victories.”
The Supreme Court victories, which overturned Proposition 8 and restored marriage equality to California last month, cast a celebratory air over the annual event, where food and love mingled over Ketel One cocktails and Barefoot wine. Some of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles came to serve up their delicacies, printed sugar diamonds included, in support of GLAAD.
And there was a lot to love in the selection: hibiscus flower tacos from Tortilla Republic, duck shawarma from Momed, spicy tuna rolls from Hamasaku, watermelon ceviche from Michael’s, peanut butter and chocolate cookies from Milk Jar, and a bottled culinary creation from Ray’s & Stark Bar that included cauliflower panna cotta, deviled egg yolk, brioche, sea urchin, and pickled Asian pears.
Celebrities also turned out for a taste of the summer soiree. Patti Stanger, Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, walked Hancock Park’s red carpet in support of GLAAD, which advocates for positive representations of the LGBT community in the media. She spoke passionately about the many gay and lesbian friends, as well as her brother, who died of an AIDS-related illness.
“I love my gay community,” said Stanger. “Great food, great alcohol, everyone’s pretty. What’s not to like? If only straight men looked like gay men, women would be happy.”
Stanger, surveying the well-groomed crowd in the lush garden behind a Hancock Park mansion, stressed the importance of food in maintaining a healthy relationship.
“It’s a best kept secret,” said Stanger, gesturing to the booth for the Japanese restaurant Hamasaka. “They use a lot of foods that are aphrodisiacs like, obviously, shellfish, and seafood, and avocados. You want to get your Omega 3s going for juicy goosey downstairs — for men and for women. Omega 3 keeps you harder. No one talks about it, but it does.”
“I do studies on science,” she added. “Chocolate makes you amorous. Everyone thinks it’s alcohol, but it’s really the food that gives you the energy and the sustainability to go longer.”
Filmmaker Shane Bitney Crone, whose documentary Bridegroom recently won the Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Film at Outfest, took a break from the LGBT film festival to also lend his voice for GLAAD.
“They helped me get the story out there,” said Crone, whose film chronicles the myriad legal, familial, and societal hurdles he faced after his partner’s untimely death. “I’m just so grateful that it resonated with people like it did. You put so much into making the film, and you just hope that people can connect to it. And they have.”
Wilson Cruz, the national spokesperson for GLAAD, later addressed the crowd. He hammered home the importance of the organization, and how highlighting stories like Crone’s can enact greater systemic change.
“GLAAD did that,” Cruz explained, referencing a Wired article, “How Pop Culture Changed the Face of the Same-Sex Debate,” that described how the effect of seeing portrayals of same-sex marriage "in their living rooms, movie theaters, and Twitter feeds" could have influenced the justices in their decision.
Stanger, meanwhile, revealed that she plans to apply for her minister’s license, in order to help shepherd California’s gay couples toward their newly restored state of matrimony. “Now that you’ve got the right, use it,” she stated, with a provision that singles should not try to rush the courtship process.
“Let the wine breathe,” Stanger advised. “See if you even like each other. It’s like fitting a pair of feet into a perfect pair of shoes. When you know, you know.”
Katrina Davis, a contestant on NBC’s The Voice, capped off the evening with a string of vocal performances, including a sultry rendition of the opening song of HBO’s True Blood: “I wanna do real bad things with you.”
Check out photos of the delicacies from this year's GLAAD Hancock Park.