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Celebrating the Magic of Persia at the Royal College of Art

Since 2004, Magic of Persia has been working to promote Iranian art and culture to the wider international community. Their "Bridge of Persia” auction event is the key fundraising event of their calendar, and for 2013 they chose to host it at the Royal College of Art.
The black-tie fundraising gala took place at the College during London’s Frieze Art Fair Week. Guests entered through a Persian style mirrored archway, stepping through to an exhibition of auction highlights and a drinks and canapé reception. Upon moving from the exhibition space into the Henry Moore Gallery, guests were taken aback when they saw the impressive transformation of this blank canvas setting. Normally a minimal white space to accommodate "white cube” gallery exhibitions, the gallery now boasted a turquoise and blue theme; even the round tables had blue detail mirror tops.

Persian design was woven through every aspect of the event, from the dazzlingly lit entrance, an avenue of light, right down to the small details such as the beautiful glassware of metal-rimmed engraved goblets and tumblers. Music was provided by Inner-Ji and Bahramji, an Iranian Kurdish singer playing the santoor, as guests enjoyed a three course dinner created by Ampersand.

For this event we needed to create a whole new menu for our client. We’re always happy to work off menu and discover delicious new flavours and dishes. To ensure we got our Persian feast just right, our chefs took inspiration from and worked with a Michelin starred chef from a Persian restaurant. The result was a gorgeous Persian menu with a hint of Ampersand Events flair.

For a starter we offered golden beetroot and baby beet salad with charred English goat’s cheese, a glazed fig and an oil seed honey shard. A colourful and visually stunning dish that truly befitted the decor.  

Main course was a roasted fillet of cod, with a spring onion and green herb crust, lemon and lobster bisque and herbed rice and wilted spinach. For vegetarians there was a hearty baby aubergine and courgette tomato stew with herbed rice.

For dessert, our pastry chef Andy took inspiration from Persian flavours like rosewater and lemon to create a different kind of sorbet - texture was added with rice noodles and finished off with a sour cherry coulis.

Thanks to the generosity of artists, patrons, sponsors and supporters, the gala raised £320,000 for a number of humanitarian causes. It’s always good to see a space unlock its true potential, especially so when the venue’s history and purpose fits and complements the theme or objective of the event so well.

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