Happy Holidays All!
Tonight is the AF&Co. holiday staff party at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room and this year the theme is SPARKLE. As I write this, the office is ablaze with sequins, sparkles and glitter as the team preps for the festivities. I haven’t seen this much sparkle since Gay Pride 1987 in New York City when I danced the night away at Studio 54.
What I am most excited about is that for the first time in many, many years – Hanukkah coincides with Christmas and we will all be celebrating together for one magical week. Usually, Hanukkah comes and goes in early December and by the time Christmas arrives, we Jews have pretty much moved into our post-holiday slumps. Not this year my friends – as trees are trimmed, menorahs will be lit and the “Dreidel Song” may get as much radio play as “White Christmas.”
To be completely honest, I have always secretly enjoyed a good Christmas Eve gathering – and this year I’m actually hosting one. (My Grandma Esther would be horrified.) Each year, a group of pals and I hit the streets of San Francisco to deliver dinners to the homeless. It’s a pretty moving experience and following this ritual, we will all convene at my place for a delicious potluck. It’s sure to become a wonderful tradition and isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
So on behalf of everyone at AF&Co. and of course my little family (Daisy and Tulip), we wish you a season filled with new traditions and a new year filled with success. Thanks to our incredible clients for your belief in us! Read on for holiday tips, recipes, memories and how to celebrate the season in style.
Merry, Merry —
Andrew and Team AF&Co.
For the full edition and all huge dose of Holiday cheer click here.
Howdy Mates –
By the time you get this I will deep in the land down under for my annual journey abroad! We are really excited about so many things this season. For me, I love all things fall – the colors (I’ve been told I look best in autumnal hues, and that golds, siennas and rusts bring out my eyes –what do you think?), the flavors and TV of course (have you caught American Horror Story yet –it’s awesome). As a young lad, I recall being obsessed with scarves at this time of the year –and of course my Mom indulged me by actually knitting me a gorgeous chocolate brown number that didn’t leave my neck until late June. As a young fashionista – I learned the sacrifices one must make to be a trendsetter.
And that brings us to today and the launch of 2012 Trend Report! Read on for all of our Passion Collection predictions. We are also really excited to share the perfect Fall party menu direct from the kitchen of AF&Co. If that weren’t enough –you get to meet three of our great new team members. I know you’re thinking how the heck can there be so much excitement in one newsletter – read on and find out.
P.S. We love you Amy & Madison – We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
P.P.S Dancing With The Stars Prediction –Go Ricki, Go Ricki!
For the full edition and all of the full trends report click here.
Hello Party Lovers –
I hope you all had a delicious summer. For us here at AF&Co. it was wild ride with fantastic events, chef launches, great dinners and of course SF Chefs 2011. All I have to say is wow, wow and wow – was this year’s festival spectacular or what? On behalf of our client the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, I know we couldn’t be prouder of this year’s sold out success. For everyone that participated in any way – we want to send you a jumbo thank you. You will be hearing from us very shortly about 2012!
On with September—and the good news is the parties and fun continue so there won’t be any after summer let down. As a young boy growing up in the lovely town of Passaic, NJ – I always hated the end of summer. It meant no more freedom and the fading of my hot summer tan lines – which were quite the site given my chubby frame. Each year (from 1st grade to 4th grade), I would run away on the first day of school to avoid saying goodbye to my summer fun. I would miss the late nights (I got to stay up till 11pm), the ice cream and my chit chats with ladies at the town pool. Reality bit when Principal Drago would send out the search team and they would always find me in the cookie aisle at our local Food Town drowning my sorrows among Chips Ahoy and Oreos. As I grew older and slimmed down, the anxiety stopped and the first day of school actually became my favorite day.
And that’s why I love September so much – we have so much going on. Read on and mark your calendars!
Enjoy the season-
PS – I must extend a huge heartfelt thank you to the entire team at AF&Co. for the devotion (and hours they put in) during SF Chefs. The project is a labor of love for us –and it would have not happened if you weren’t all so damn committed. I love you.
For the full edition and all of the September happenings click here.
Hello Lovely Food, Wine and Spirits Lovers of the World—
Are you ready to put your diets on hold for the most incredible week of the year in the Bay Area? For seven amazing days, we are going to eat, drink, toast, learn, swirl, mix, pair, dance, schmooze and savor the most delicious experiences known to mankind as SF Chefs 2011 settles into Union Square.
For 365 days, the team at AF&Co. has been busy working with our client (and the founder of the festival), the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, cooking up quite a program. Take 150 chefs, 14 venues, 70 wineries, 42 silent auction items, 9 parties, 30 bars, 17 classes/panels, 1 Union Square and 200 restaurants, mix them together and bring them to boil and watch what happens from August 1-7.
Check out the “Baker’s Dozen” below to get a sampling of what is to come! WARNING –tickets are going fast and some of the events are already sold out so get yours now. Since we love our AF&Co. followers so much, use discount code afco11 at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase or if you are VISA Signature card holder use your card to get 20% off your purchase. We look forward to seeing you under the big tent at the Biggest Food Fete On Earth.
Andrew and the team at AF&Co.
PS – This event is a true celebration of the talent and the bounty our great city has to offer! We should all be very proud and toast the good fortune we have to live here in San Francisco. Personally, I am blown away every day by the commitment the Golden Gate Restaurant Association has made in order to make this all happen. I couldn’t be prouder of our clients that will be participating and the amazing SF Chefs team at AF&Co. especially Sasha Bernstein, Candace MacDonald, Amy Partridge, Madison Ginnett and Kerry Hardy. You are amazing. I love you and thank you very much.
June is a very special month for my people (not the Jews – the gays). All kidding aside, there is a beautiful feeling around San Francisco as the city gets ready for the biggest celebration of the year. It’s like no other anywhere in the world.
Believe it or not, I lived life in the closet until I was 30. (I know some of you are thinking wasn’t that just last year?) Family pressure, corporate politics and girlfriends kept the door shut –but trust me I was dying to get out. I would secretly hit gay bars with my “out” friends and we all know I had a love of Broadway show tunes which was hard to contain. On the night of my 30th birthday, one of my very well-to-do clients (I was working at the Russian Tea Room at the time) offered to host a very fancy cocktail party in my honor. I invited all my friends, family and colleagues – it was a wonderful New York night. Then at midnight when the cake came out – so did I! There were audible gasps but truthfully there were way more – “I knew its”.
It was the best night of my life. No more secrets – I was out, I was happy and man was I proud. Coming out is a hard process – trust me. So if you know someone who is gay (and I know you do) – the next time you see them give them a hug and tell them how proud you are of them for being so brave.
I have a lot to be proud of these days. Our sensational clients and the devoted team at AF&Co. do so much for the LGBT community – it amazes me. We wish you a FABULOUS June –full of great dining, drinking, hotel stays, spa get-aways and lots of rainbows.
Big Kisses —
Andrew and the team at AF&Co.
PS – Happy Father’s Day month! Check out the section below to hear about our proud dad chefs!
Check out the full edition here.
May 2011 – AF&Co. Salutes Red Hot Mamas
She’s a Bad Mama Jama!
At this time of the year, I always remember how amazing my mom Gerry was – so completely devoted to my happiness and self-expression –and it wasn’t easy. Let’s just say from the age of four, I was a very unique boy. Instead of baseball, I opted for doing my mother’s hair and instead of football, I chose to style my mother’s wardrobe. Each day for about a year when I was six, I would layout my mom’s outfits for the day. It all came crashing to a halt – when I chose a satin purple pajama pants suit (that she had worn to Bar Mitzvah previously) for her to wear to my friend Jimmy’s birthday party at Dairy Queen. She gently refused but I still had a melt down and that was the last time I dressed her.
I suppose I get my zany sense of humor from my mom too. She had auburn hair (not real) like Lucy and had some pretty funky rituals. On Wednesday nights, the kitchen closed at 7:30pm sharp and soon after the house filled with the aroma of nail polish and cigarette smoke. The night Mom did her nails was sacred in our house. She would sit in the den watching Merv Griffin, painting her toes and hands with a cigarette dangling from her lips. We knew better than to interrupt the process or god forbid asking her to do anything with her hands till the next morning. Of course, I sat close by to catch the ashes, dreaming of a time when it would be okay for boys to paint their nails. Alas, I knew my place.
And that brings us to today. My mom died very young, when I was 19. While she never really got to know the real me – I had a hunch she really did. She was so protective and loving. So stop reading this for a minute –and go call your mom. I promise you there is no one out there who loves you more.
This issue celebrates all things mom. Our team shares their favorite mom stories and we have a great list of places to celebrate with mom. We close with some very cool happenings in the coming month that you won’t want to miss. It is a not to miss issue.
April 2011 – Spring has Sprung: The Fresh Issue!
Well, that was one hell of a winter wasn’t it? It does feel that spring is at last upon us and spirits are lifting everywhere. Who doesn’t love spring? Everything is fresh – fresh flowers, fresh produce, fresh air –and fresh outlooks on life. Here at AF&Co. coast to coast, this spring is filled with fresh menus, re-freshed hotels, fresh faces and fresh events.
As for me, it’s back to yoga and the gym as the gray winter has not been kind to my manly physique. It’s time for a fresh figure and perhaps a spring affair. As the girls and I prepare for Passover, we wish you a very happy season. And if your business can use a boost, give us a call. We’re brimming with fresh ideas.
Get out there and get fresh with someone!
Andrew & The AF&Co. team
PS – I also will now start making my American Idol and Dancing with the Stars predictions. After the horrifying dismissal of Pia Toscano from Idol, I am now in love with Lauren Alaina. For DWS, my money is on football hero Hines Ward. You heard it here first!
Trust me – you will want to spend a few minutes reading this issue, so click here to read the entire Fresh Issue.
March 2011 – Beware the Ide(a)s of March!
March is my favorite month of the year! Spring is coming! It’s Mardi Gras time. And it’s also my birthday month which I love milking for as long as possible.
The big, burning question this year is — will I be forever 49? Yes, I know you may be gasping for air right now and thinking — oh my god, I thought he was 29 — but nope I will be 49. Happily, I feel wonderful and the great people I work with keep me very young at heart. This month will be filled with wonderful celebrations at our favorite client restaurants and hotels coast to coast. I may even have my favorite baker (Lori Baker that’s you) create a great birthday cake from her amazing Baker & Banker bakery.
But in all seriousness – I am truly blessed with the gifts of great friends and clients and an amazing team. In this edition, you get to meet some of our newest team members and of course to read what’s coming up this month. And I hope to see our New York fans at ourMarch 24th networking event . Read on for details!
Whether you’re Irish or not, my wish for you is that you get really lucky this month and stay lucky for as long as possible!
Let The Good Times Roll –
Andrew O’ Freeman
Andrew & the team at AF&Co.
To read the rest of our fabulous newsletter click here…