(Long Island, N.Y.) Canine lovers enjoyed the Annual Pre-Westminster Gala and Fashion Show at the Pennsylvania Hotel conveniently located across from Madison Square Garden where the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held annually.
The Pre-Westminster Gala marks the beginning of the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Weekend. The historic Hotel Pennsylvania caters to the The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s participants and attendees. This amazing event was held at the beautiful Penn-Top Ballroom overlooking Manhattan.
Some proceeds of The Pre-Westminster Gala were donated to benefit Sean Casey Animal Rescue www.scarnyc.org. The non-profit organization is dedicated to providing a higher quality of life for all animals. Cesar’s Way Magazine was also the official magazine sponsor of The 2011 Pre-Westminster Gala.
A veteran of the dog publishing beat, Gregg R.Oehler, has contributed over thirty five glorious years of experience to his title. He is currently the publisher of Cesar Millan’s magazine, Cesar’s Way.
Included in his 30 years as publishing executive in the industry, Gregg has collaborated with other publishers of at least 50 magazine start-ups. Gregg is also President of Oehler Media Inc., a publishing, marketing and advertising firm based in Manhattan. He has held the title of publisher of the Metropolitan Dog Club’s Blue Book, New York Dog Magazine, and Hollywood Dog magazine. Mr. Oehler has acted as Executive Director of Petstyle.com and Sales Director for both FIDO Friendly magazine and DoggedHealth.com. Gregg is also the media director of Pet Fashion Week.
He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “The Early Show,”NBC’s “The Today Show”, “Dateline” on NBC, “Jane’s New York,” CNN, “Fox & Friends,” and “Martha Stewart Apprentice.” For the past six years Gregg has served on the National Advisory Board for the North Shore Animal League of America. Mr. Oehler is a dedicated volunteer with various animal shelters and rescue groups and has developed strategic marketing programs to support these institutions. Gregg is also a proud owner of a 10 year old Boston terrier named Gracie.
The Humanitarian Cesar Millan Award 2011 was given to Steve Legrice, Editor of Cesar’s Way Magazine. The Animal Welfare & Leadership Award 2011 was presented to Actress Loretta Swit.
An American stage and television actress, Loretta Swit is famous for her character roles. Ms. Swit is best-known for her portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the hit TV Show M*A*S*H.
Currently Ms. Swit supports many animal charities including: H.A.R.P.S. (Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection) and HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.). The Chihuahua Man of the Year Award 2011 was accepted by Actor Mickey Rourke.
Born Philip Andre “Mickey” Rourke, Jr. on September 16, 1952, Mr. Rourke is an American actor, screenwriter and retired boxer. Mickey Rourke’s primary roles are in action, drama, and thriller films as a veteran leading man. He is best known for his starring roles in “Diner,” “Rumble Fish,” and his sexual character in “9½ Weeks.” Rourke received critical acclaim for his recent film “Barfly and Angel Heart.”
Mr. Rourke has publicly announced his resurgence to acting is a result of his pet dogs. He is well-known as a pet fancier and is particularly fond of small-breed dogs. A spay/neuter advocate, Rourke participated in a protest outside of a pet shop in 2007 and has done a public service announcement for PETA.
His first little dog was a generous gift from his second wife. Though Rourke’s dogs are generally referred to as “chihuahuas,” some are not from a pure breed. Loki, his beloved dog, a chihuahua-terrier mix, was flown to England while Rourke was on the set of the film “Stormbreaker.” Rourke spent an exorbitant $5,400 dollars to have her accompany him while filming.
Rourke gave his dogs credit mentioning them in his Golden Globe Best Actor acceptance speech on January 11, 2009: “I’d like to thank all my dogs. The ones that are here, the ones that aren’t here anymore because sometimes when a man’s alone, that’s all you got is your dog. And they’ve meant the world to me.”
In an interview with Barbara Walters at the 2009 Golden Globes he revealed “I sort of self-destructed and everything came out about fourteen years ago or so … the wife had left, the career was over, the money was not an ounce. The dogs were there when no one else was there.” During the interview Ms. Walters inquired if he considered suicide, “I didn’t want to be here, but I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted to push a button and disappear….I think I hadn’t left the house for four or five months and I was sitting in the closet sleeping in the closet for some reason and I was in a bad place and I just remember I was thinking, ‘Oh, man, if I do this, and then I looked at my dog, Lowjack, and he made a sound, like a little almost human sound. I don’t have kids; the dogs became everything to me. The dog was looking at me going, ‘Who’s going to take care of me?” Rourke revealed.
I also had a chance to chat with Prince Lorenzo Borghese, an animal advocate and pet lover. Prince Borghese is a member of the House of Borghese, a cosmetics entrepreneur who established his own company. He is the founder and president of Royal Treatment Italian Pet Spa, a high-end bath, body and skin care line for pets. His pet company only uses the finest natural organic ingredients and fragrance oils from Italy. His pet company products can be found in hundreds of boutiques nationwide and on the television station Home Shopping Network. Prince Borghese has been featured on the 9th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” an American television reality TV show. Lorenzo is the son of Prince Francesco Marco Luigi Costanzo Borghese and his American wife, Amanda Leigh. His mother’s stepfather was sign and lighting designer Douglas Leigh. Lorenzo Borghese’s grandmother, Princess Marcella Borghese was the founder of the Borghese cosmetics line in 1958, a subsidiary of Revlon.
Other celebrity attendees included realty stars from “Doggie Moms” Karen Biehl and Grace Forster, Broadway Actress Judy McLane and Celebrity Magician and Broadway Producer Matt Wayne. Maria Milito of Q104.3 was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Maria is a huge animal advocate and can usually be found at some tri-state animal function with or without her 90 lb, 4-legged roommate Carmine the Big Ragu.
For more information please visit www.cesarsway.com/magazine.
Later in the week I was invited to a special dinner at Duane Park Restaurant and Lounge. Executive Chef Richard prepared a sumptuous dinner for my film crew and I. The restaurant cabaret style nightclub atmosphere is best known for its Creole, southern cooking with Louisiana, Baton Rouge, New Orleans influence and its Burlesque Stars entertaining the patrons.
Before the Burlesque show diners sample the savory dishes that the restaurant is famous for. “Richard, tell my audience what you have exclusively prepared for me and my staff, my crew, here at the restaurant,” I said.
“With pleasure, this is our take on ‘Southern Shrimp and Grits’ goes with our southern motif as well. These grits come from Nora Mills in Georgia and we have them brought to New York especially for us. They are prepared with a scampi style shrimp over the top of the grits and the other is a beet salad roasted with vinegars and it’s on a bed of goat cheese and a little salad on the top,” revealed Chef Richard.
“This dish looks amazing, tell my audience a little more in detail what is involved in this particular dish,” I remarked.
“We take both red and golden beets and we braise them very slowly in citrus juices and vinegar and then after their braised we dice them and put them on top of the goat cheese that’s also flavorful, additional citrus-zest and there is a glaze of vinegar around the plate, some hazelnuts that is also coated in citrus-zest; kind of a candy citrus-zested and Arugula Salad on the top,” explained Chef Richard.
Chef Richard has been cooking and creating wonderful dishes for twenty five years in Manhattan. Some of the famous eateries he has prepared dishes for include “The Sign of the Dove” Restaurant and “Judy’s Supper Club” in Chelsea.
“I understand Lady Gaga dined here at the restaurant about a year ago, what does she like to eat?” I inquired. “Arugula Salad with asparagus, pine nuts some shaved parmesan cheese, with a figure like you she eats light,” stated Chef Richard.
Famous appetizers at the restaurant include:
- Crab and Scallop Cake with avocado-poblano aioli
- Bitter Green Salad – granny smith apples, frisee, endive and radicchio spiced pecans & maytag blue cheese dressing
- Slow-Cooked Duck Confit with sherry-mustard marinated green red onion jam
- Red and Golden Beet Salad with goat cheese and citrus-zested hazelnuts
- Tuna Tartare with tahini sauce, sesame tuilles
- Organic Baby Arugula Salad with shaved raw asparagus, toasted pine nuts; parmesan & lemon vinaigrette
- Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with mango puree, shaved fennel, and baby arugula
- Skillet-Roasted Shrimp with Nora Mills Georgia cheese grits & garlic sauce
- Seared Sashimi Tuna with endive & haricot vert salad dijon-soya vinaigrette.
For dinner I enjoyed Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with wild mushroom risotto and black truffle oil. Another favorite is Spicy Creole Seafood Bouillabaisse featuring squid, branzino, scallops and shrimp with fingerling potatoes and tomato-clam broth.
For more information on having an elegant dining experience please visit duaneparknyc.com.