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Picnic Basket Banter: Jessica Mogardo

Welcome to the first installment of this year’s Picnic Basket Banter, a weekly series profiling Philadelphians who are participating in Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia 2013. This series puts volunteers and attendees of our event into the spotlight, asking a series of questions about their ideal picnic, favorite places in our amazing city and, of course, what they will be packing in their picnic baskets.

Jessica Mogardo attended Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia last year and is returning this year as a Table Host. She is the corporate pastry chef for Garces Group and Garces Catering. She won on Chopped and Sweet Genius, and is one of Jose’s sous chefs during the Iron Chef Battles. She graduated from the CIA and has been with the company for over three years.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What is your favorite spot to picnic in Philadelphia?
JM: Race St. Pier

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What’s your perfect picnic beverage?
JM: Sparkling cider from the Basque region

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: Who would be the most interesting person- living or dead- you’d like to share a picnic with?
JM: Auguste Escoffier

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: If you needed to put together a picnic basket for two in less than 30 minutes, what would you make or buy?
JM: Olives, cheese, honey and baguette, roasted summer veggies, grilled chicken with pesto.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: If you were planning this year’s Diner en Blanc Philadelphia where would it be?
JM: The lawn in front of the Constitution Center

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What was your favorite thing about last year’s Diner en Blanc?
JM: It was all a dream, probably the best night of my life. Dinner, friends, wine, sunset, dancing…..incredible.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What advice do you have for someone attending Diner en Blanc for the first time this year?
JM: Don’t overpack, because you have to carry it all. Ladies, wear flats and bring your heels; bring something distinctive to make your table stand out.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What was the one thing that surprised you the most about last year’s Diner en Blanc?
JM: How well orchestrated and logistically sound it was.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What are you most looking forward to about being a Table Host this year?
JM: Showing others how much fun this event truly is, and how special it is to be a part of it.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What will be on your Diner en Blanc menu?
JM: Arugula salad, peach-bbq chicken thighs, St. Nectaire with lavender honey, quinoa with squash and mushrooms and coconut cake with raspberries.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?
JM: How walkable it is, and how easy it is to get around. Walking, biking, driving. And there’s so much public green space.

Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia: If you were to plan “the perfect day” of things to do for someone visiting Philadelphia for the first time, what would their day look like from start to finish?
JM: Breakfast at Honey’s in NoLibs, Art Museum, walk along Boathouse row, lunch at Village Whiskey, poking through the Italian market, walk over to Race St pier, beers at Frankford Hall, dinner at Pumpkin BYO, champagne at XIX.

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