Photography by Chris Ziebarth
A time-honored tradition continued again this year at the 18th Annual Gentleman’s Smoker and Lobster Clambake, held on the waterfront lawn at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort making for one of the most exclusive and elegant beach parties of the season.
The Smoker is the brainchild of Henry Schielein, the BBC’s former COO, who started the acclaimed men’s-only event back when he was the general manager of the Ritz Carlton in Boston.
As more than 300 men arrived dressed in white or khaki pants and blue blazers, they were greeted with champagne and a large table showcasing an assortment of fine cigars including various creations that were hand-rolled on the spot to smokers’ specifications.
The men enjoyed delectable tray passed oyster shooters, beef tenderloin and shrimp kabobs and cocktails as they perused a large silent auction area that offered an impressive selection of luxury items like watches, fine art, golf and resort outings. Master of Ceremonies, Peter Buffa, kept the crowd laughing, while encouraging the men to bid high in support of the Balboa Bay Club’s philanthropic organization the 1221 Club Foundation which awards scholarships to deserving senior high school students within the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa School Districts. The event raised $46,000 net towards the fund which last year awarded scholarships to eleven exceptional students totaling $100,000.
Guests were next treated to a five-course dinner that included some of Chef Josef’s most delectable creations including tender filet mignon and steamed Maine lobster. Each course was paired with superb wines and spirits and a live Dixieland band played music from the stage.
As desert and coffee were offered, an epic selection of after-dinner “digestives” including Scotch, Cognac, Bourbon, Sherry and even a 30-year-old Sandeman Port were served and more cigars lit for a final nightcap.
The 1221 Club Foundation was founded in 1993 by Beverly Ray Parkhurst; the former owner of The Balboa Bay Club & Resort, which to date has awarded over $728,000 to college-bound students, continuing a legacy of the Balboa Bay Club giving back to the community.