Bill and I had decided to get married. That decision was a no-brainer. The logistics of a small simple wedding, however, was something else. Traditional wedding venues were way to big for what we had in mind, the courthouse held no appeal and Bill vetoed Vegas right off the bat, so we went in search of the ideal place to have a private celebration and dinner. After checking out the local competition, odds were heavily in favor for Renee Kelly’s Harvest, an exquisite farm-to-table restaurant operating out of a restored castle here in Kansas City. Chef Renee believes that “the earth provides us with anything we need at any given time for optimum health, nutrition and flavor” and uses only locally grown, farm-fresh and organic ingredients. Although it looked absolutely perfect for what we had envisioned, neither of us had actually been to Renee Kelly’s, so the first order of business was to scope out the place.
To aide Chef Renee in her mission to create the freshest menu possible, edible plants have been sprinkled throughout the beautiful landscaped grounds of the castle. Brightly colored tomatoes and peppers were woven in-between the flowers, and a variety of herb plants peppered the gardens. By early fall, when we planned to get married, the squash and baby eggplant would be thriving. We opted for Sunday brunch on the patio and weren’t disappointed. Bill chose the American Classic: two eggs, served with apple smoked bacon, potato hash and beignets, which he promptly shared with his new fiancé.
I had a savory quiche served in puff pastry with fresh fruit and a petite salad. When they set the plate in front of me, my little heart went pitter-patter.
The food, the service, the ambiance — everything was perfectly in tune with my foodie desires, so I reserved the date. Now came the hard part: not telling anyone. Bill and I had decided early on to keep this wedding private and for two agonizing months we told no one; in fact, our two witnesses thought we were just heading out for a night on the town.
After our ceremony, we popped a 1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon that Bill had reserved for a special occasion.
Next, we headed upstairs to the private mezzanine for dinner. We started our celebration with beet salad made with micro greens, pickled carrots and pine nuts.
Plates of Lacquered Beer Braised Short Ribs followed and wine flowed.
Renee Kelly’s Harvest is a class act and sets the bar high for other local organic eateries. Her vision statement, “to change the food system one plate at a time,” may be a lofty goal, but should inspire us all to demand a better food source and support our local farm-to-table community. The evening could not have been more perfect. This was a big year for me. I turned 50 in July, bought a new car in August and got married in October. Geez, what could be next?
Am I crazy to be taking food photos at my wedding? —Karen