The Bellamy Mansion is holding a very fancy dinner at an unlikely spot: the Dudley Mansion. This fundraiser is on Friday, October 13, featuring 5 courses prepared by Dean Neff and Bud Taylor, dessert by Lydia Clopton, 2 signature cocktails, and wine pairings throughout.
Not many events are held at this private home, but the Bellamy's Harvest Dinner is an exception. Tickets for this exclusive evening are $175 and only 50 are for sale. Gareth Evans and Laurel Coffey from the Bellamy Mansion joined us; hear details about the food and the mansion above, and read our extended interview below.
Gina: Tell me about this Dudley Mansion space. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an event being held at the Dudley Mansion before.
Gareth: Well, it has been a long time. It has been on home tours before and other things. But of late, it's owned by Kimberly Hayden, who's our host for the evening. It is a private residence, it is 400 South Front Street and it is historic because it was owned by the family who owned Orton Plantation and it was also owned by Edward B. Dudley, who was the first popularly elected governor of North Carolina. It's a 13,000 square foot mansion. It's actually a little bigger than the Bellamy Mansion and it's absolutely stunning. It has a view over the river because it's on Front Street overlooking the bridge and the battleship and everything else. So it's beautiful. The sun sets in the back- that’s where we're having dinner is outside in the yard. So it's going to be beautiful.
Gina: What if it's raining?
Gareth: We'll be inside. It's a 30,000 square foot mansion. It has this huge sun-porch and sort of atrium area and we can fit 60 people in there. So even if we're not outside in the yard, we'll be inside. And we're inside for cocktails as well and hors d'oeuvres ahead of time. So you'll get to take a look inside the house and then we'll go outside for dinner.
Gina: How did you convince Kimberly to host this?
Gareth: She has contacts at Preservation North Carolina, who own the Bellamy and employ us. They kind of talked her into it. We used that connection and caught up with her and she was very gracious to do it. She likes to use the place because she feels like it's a family home and it's an asset to Wilmington as a landmark. But she's also private and doesn't want to do this for everything. So this is a sort of a one off. This will be an exclusive event. 50 people in a place that you're not going to get to see again. So that's kind of a selling point for us in terms of it's fabulous, it's architecturally significant, historically significant. So you should come and have dinner there.
Gina: And this is a fundraiser.
Gareth: Right. The funds all go back into our educational programming and things that we do which involve 25,000 people a year and a lot of kids. So the funds we raise on things like this go right back into programs that we do.
The programming includes a Family Fun Day, which is a subsidized event. Basically, we do it for free. For up to 1,800 families that come through, most of them kids. We also do the fifth grade tours every late winter, so February-March time. Fifth graders come through and learn lots of social history from our site, because we have the mansion itself and the slave quarters on site. They get to come and learn that element of North Carolina history with us. And then we do summer camps and we just see a lot of kids and kids groups, school groups from all over the state come and visit us because the site is important.
Gina: So in order to serve dinner in the Dudley Mansion you would have to bring in some really good food. Tell me the menu.
Laurel: I recently spoke with Chef Dean out of Pinpoint restaurant and Chef Bud from the Bistro at Topsail. And they helped put together a fabulous menu. They are primarily incorporating ingredients that are locally sourced, so things from the Wilmington area, from North Carolina, regionally. It fits the harvest theme. So what we have going on is five courses plus passed hors d'oeuvres and two custom cocktails, again that all fit the harvest theme.
Gina: Do you know what the cocktails are yet?
Laurel: I have one cocktail, we are still working on customizing the second cocktail. We're leaving that up to our additional bartender. What we have so far on the menu- and this is subject to change based on what is available the week of- passed hors d'oeuvres we have: boiled peanut mushroom paté with pickled mustard seed caviar crustini and micro soyo. We also have a grandma Swannies- I believe I'm pronouncing that correctly- pimento cheese deviled eggs with North Carolina country ham dust. We also have Smoked Stone's Bay oysters with horseradish creme frais.
Heading into the first course we have candy roaster squash, chestnut soup with Chai smoked apple, pumpkin seed oil coconut and urfa. Moving on to the second course, we have baby scarlet and black kales and arugula with farm croutons, tomato confit, roasted beets, capers, smoked chevre, garden herbs and basil mustoe. Crispy local trout- spot tail trout- with shaved roasted Brussels sprouts, lavache and grain mustard emulsion.
Moving on to the fourth course...
Gareth: It's a grilled heritage pork tenderloin with caramelized onion, NC Honeycrisp apples, grits, apple brandy pan sourced chive and micro onions. And with dessert, which is done by Lydia Clopton over at Pinpoint, is Lydia's Full Trifle Candy Roaster Squash Cake. That's a mouthful in every possible way. With Asian pear, dates, walnut crumble, and fromage blanc. The special cocktail is grape fizz with local Scuppernong shrub, Hatrick gin, lavender syrup, Chambord, and egg white. And that sounds really interesting and really good.
Gina: How do people get tickets?
Laurel: Folks can contact the Bellamy Mansion Museum staff, they can contact Laurel Coffey or Leslie Randall Morton. We will take their reservations. Reservations are required. You must pay in advance and you do not require a ticket. So you make your reservation and we'll see you at the door.
Gareth: So it's very exclusive and it is very posh. Only 50 people coming to the event. And it's exclusive because of the location and because it's limited and because of the food that you won't be able to get anywhere else. And these two chefs, Bud Taylor and Dean Neff, and Lydia Clopton who's doing dessert, don't work together very often. So you're going to get a unique menu, local kinds of stuff, in a unique setting, and you're supporting a local nonprofit and can take a tax deduction on some of that as well. So it's a thoroughly all around win-win.