1. MEGHAN MARKLE'S PROBABLE MATRON OF HONOR DOUBLES AS WEDDING PLANNER: Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney will likely be Meghan Markle’s matron of honor at the royal wedding in May—but Mulroney also has been serving as Markle’s secret wedding planner. Vanity Fair: “Although Markle and Prince Harry have hired two leading events organizers and catering firms to help them oversee their wedding (there’s apparently a ban on anyone over 40 getting too involved), Mulroney is playing a particularly pivotal role. ‘She is Meghan’s best friend and the person Meghan trusts with helping to plan every detail,’ says a source. ‘She’s the one helping Meghan to make all the key decisions. They are on the phone daily discussing every element of the wedding, from the dress to the flowers to the canapés and the photography. Meghan is very dependent on Jessica and Jessica has been totally indispensable. She’s helped Meghan and Harry with so much already.’ It has been previously reported that reality-TV star Millie Mackintosh, the heiress to a confectionary fortune, has been helping behind the scenes, but sources say Mulroney has been the one helping the royal bride to coordinate everything. Markle and Harry have already proved they are keen to bring some fresh ideas to their wedding day, opting for an elderflower and lemon cake by California baker Claire Ptak (instead of a traditional fruit cake), while their flowers will be designed by a trendy London florist. They are reportedly using Table Talk, a leading catering company, and Fait Accompli, international event organizers, to help them plan their day, but Markle is relying on Mulroney to help them come up with some novel and quirky ideas for the evening reception, including burger vans to serve up late-night snacks.” https://bit.ly/2q10OaM
2. MIKE ISABELLA RESTAURANTS USED NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS TO SILENCE EMPLOYEES: Lawyers representing the former manager of chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella alleged in federal court on Tuesday that his company used N.D.A.s to prevent employees from speaking out about sexual harassment. Washington Post: “Chloe Caras’s lawsuit asks the court to declare the NDAs unenforceable—which could free many more employees to speak about their experience working for the company. The complaint also includes new allegations that Isabella’s company retaliated against employees for speaking up against sexual harassment and used the NDAs to ensure their silence. The lawsuit was filed amid an intensifying legal battle in which Isabella and his team are aggressively defending the former 'Top Chef' contestant’s reputation while also alleging that Caras engaged in some of the same conduct about which she is complaining. Caras initially filed suit in D.C. Superior Court on March 19, accusing Isabella and his partners of 'extraordinary' sexual harassment, but her lawyers dismissed that suit to file a new one in federal court. She alleges that they called her 'bitch' and 'whore,' commented on the size of her buttocks and touched her without permission. She was fired, she says, on Dec. 5 after Isabella told a male sous chef to sleep with her. ... Since 2011, according to the complaint, many Mike Isabella Concepts employees have been required to sign NDAs barring them from sharing information with anyone, including a significant other, about 'details of the personal and business lives of Mike Isabella, his family members, friends, business associates and dealings, including any television programs concerning Mike Isabella and his restaurants.' Each breach of the NDA, copies of which were provided to The Post, carries a $500,000 penalty, according to the complaint." https://wapo.st/2uKNIEj
3. SEVEN CITIES ARE INTERESTED IN HOSTING 2026 WINTER OLYMPICS: Seven cities have expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics. Reuters: “Canada’s Calgary, Austria’s Graz, Swedish capital Stockholm, Sion in Switzerland, Turkey’s Erzurum, Japan’s Sapporo and an Italian bid involving Cortina d’Ampezzo, Milan and Turin are all in the initial process. There is considerable Olympic experience in the field with Calgary having hosted the 1988 Winter Games and Sapporo having staged the 1972 edition. Cortina is also a former host, having organized the 1956 Winter Olympics as is Turin in 2006. Stockholm has hosted summer Games but despite repeated attempts, has failed to land the winter Olympics. It last bid briefly for 2022 but pulled out mid-race. The cities will now enter a dialogue stage until October when the IOC will invite an unspecified number of them to take part in the one-year candidature phase. The IOC has overhauled the bidding process for Games after a sharp slump in interest from potential hosts in recent years, cutting costs for bid cities and slashing the campaign time in half. … The IOC has also simplified the seven-year preparation for Games organizers, reducing costs, upping the IOC’s contribution and allowing host cities more flexibility in planning for the Olympics and the post-Games use of facilities. It will elect the winning 2026 bid at its session in Milan in September, 2019 but some cities, including Sion, will need to hold referendums first.” https://reut.rs/2Eh1myk
* LOCAL NEWS *
COAST TO COAST: Radisson Hotel Group has announced two new-build hotels to open in Anaheim and New York, as part of the company’s five-year operating plan in the Americas. Radisson Blu Anaheim is slated to open in 2020 and will have 326 guest rooms and a 6,700-square-foot restaurant. Radisson Hotel in New York is slated to open near Times Square in spring 2019 and will have 320 guest rooms.
CHICAGO: Hotel Zachary has opened in Lakeview. The hotel has 174 guest rooms and offers two food and beverage concepts including Alma Room, which is available for private events.
LOS ANGELES: Eat Drink Vegan, formerly known as the LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival, will take place May 26 at Brookside at the Rose Bowl. The event will offer food from more than 100 local vendors, drinks from more than 250 beverage vendors, and a plant-based marketplace.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
NEW ORLEANS: The 35th annual French Quarter Festival will take place April 12-15. The Louisiana music event will feature more than 300 acts performing on 23 stages.
NEW YORK: Earth Day Initiative, a nonprofit that engages people in sustainability initiatives throughout the year, and Weaving Hand, a sustainable weaving art studio, will host an interactive zero-waste weaving art installation April 15 at Union Square as part of Earth Day New York 2018. The installation will involve weaving used clothing and textiles onto makeshift looms, created with six rolling racks arranged in a circular fashion. H&M is sponsoring the installation and will donate used clothing and textiles the brand has collected through its own initiative.
New-York Historical Society’s annual Strawberry Festival benefit luncheon will take place April 25. The event, which benefits educational programs for New York school children, will honor designer Stuart Weitzman.
The 15th edition of design event Brooklyn Designs will take place May 12-13 at the Brooklyn Museum. The juried exhibition will showcase more than 50 brands.
Solving Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit that helps those affected by childhood cancers with low survival rates, will hold its annual spring gala “Close to Cures” May 16 at the Mandarin Oriental New York.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA: Hilton Orlando will unveil an outdoor deck expansion Memorial Day weekend. The expansion will offer 13,000 square feet of new event space that can hold as many as 500 guests standing.
SAN DIEGO: Comida ¡Expo!, a Hispanic food and beverage trade show, will take place October 26-27 at San Diego Marina Park. TV personality and restaurateur Ingrid Hoffmann is slated to keynote.
SAN FRANCISCO: The 64th annual North Beach Festival will take place June 16-17 in Little Italy. The event will have more than 125 arts and crafts booths, Italian street painting, two stages for live entertainment, and food and drink vendors.
Outside Lands music festival will take place August 10-12 at Golden Gate Park. Headliners include Janet Jackson, the Weekend, and Florence and the Machine.
TORONTO: Art Gallery of Toronto’s Massive Illusion art party will take place April 19.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
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