Many years ago, I was a judge for a competition for the ICA, International Catering Association. Recipes were gathered and we met at Good Gracious Events over in midtown. I was a little giddy at the opportunity, I love being a judgey judger, and Pauline Parry, owner of Good Gracious, is a legend, not just in Los Angeles, but throughout North America.
I had taken her seminars at Catersource, and had a catering crush on her. Is there anything she couldn’t do? It was a great afternoon, and that was that. And then, one day, out of the blue she called me. “Jen, It’s been too long, let’s have lunch!” (She always calls me Jen. I love it.) So we did. Four hours and three bottles of wine later, we were fast friends.
She wasn’t wearing the flower crown that day, but if she did, it wouldn’t have surprised me. This lunch kicked off a monthly series of ladies lunches. We invited friends we shared event war stories and successes, and we laughed and laughed.
On one of the earlier lunches, she invited her daughter Joanne. She insisted I would love her. Jo was dieting that day and a little grumpy, but she picked out every celebrity in the restaurant with great aplomb. I was fascinated, and recognized no one.
At the time Jo was chef-de-cuisine of Good Gracious, and by the next luncheon, we started talking about food and kitchen culture and I was hooked. I love this woman, and her mum, too.
I always tell my kids “it’s difficult to make friends when you’re older, so work hard to cultivate your close relationships. ” Still true. It feels like I’ve been friends with this woman for a lifetime. It’s been about eight years. She’s a powerhouse in the events community, and an excellent friend.
My relationship with daughter Jo has been nothing but fabulous. We’ve been presenting on Plant Based Cuisine at Catersource for years now, and we always get high marks. She’s also a snappy dresser and I love shopping with this woman.
This is the only relationship I have with a mother/ daughter team, and it’s one of my favorites. We never lack when it comes to gabbing, we still lunch and dinner on the regular, the three of us, and I cherish my time with them. So much so, that we went to Italy together last year. Have I mentioned that my trip to Italy is on my short list of favorite vacations? We had SO. MUCH. F U N.
Today is Pauline’s “ish” birthday! No need to mentions numbers, that would be de-classé. Let’s just say it’s a big one. Never have I ever been more thrilled to participate in a birthday parade for this Queen of Los Angeles. (also, COVID can SUCK IT)
The parade was no less than thirty cars, all decorated in celebration of this big-hearted woman. Of course we all knew each other and were so excited to be together even in our facemasks without hugs. This women is a national treasure.
Her gift of bringing people together, connecting them through their strengths is awe-inspiring. She talks, and waves her hands and magic happens. Here sense of humor suits mine to a T, and we don’t stop till we belly laugh. Her family is nothing short of fantastic. I love hanging with her and the hubs, or Jo or Lauren the DIL. She has two super cuties, one I swear is destined for politics, in the best way possible.
She is a rare gem. She’s dedicated to her community, hellbent on making connections, and in everyone’s corner when they need her. She never says no, and is always ready to create solutions that benefit the whole. She started WIPA (Weddings International Professional Association) and will mentor anyone who asks. She doesn’t dice words, and can be shockingly honest (her best attribute IMHO). So often, Angelenos like a sugar coat on reality. Not my pal Pauline. She gives it to you straight, no chaser, unless it’s a rich cabernet.
So cheers to you my dear friend Pauline, on your ISH birthday. The world is better because you’re in it. I’m forever grateful for you, your family and all the fun you bring to everything. You are powerful, professional, hilarious, and my unique friend. Love you forever.