Art of the Yearly Birthday Dinner

The perks of having lovely friends who like you even when you don’t stay in touch that often.


When Mr. Belm emails out a ‘save- the- date’ I get giddy that we’re still on the list. The Belms were in my husband’s life before they were in mine but it only took me meeting them once to understand their tight connection. As much as we like one one another somehow we only see each other once a year during Mrs. Belm’s birthday dinner.  We’d like to see them more often but being on the invite list, regardless of our lack of communication, almost makes up for being out of touch.

Mr. Belm is an accomplished chef. He’s mastered the elegant precision of the basics and embarked in the truly experimental and creative. Mr. Belm doesn’t just cook us dinner,  he choreographs a stunning feast to celebrate his wife. I imagine that the preparation starts early on with deliberate planning and since he’s a scientist; some kind of experimentation. It was during one of these dinners when I first learned about (and tasted) molecular gastronomy and the precise alchemy of Sous Vide.

On the evening of the dinner when I come into Chez Belm, I head straight to the kitchen to hug the chef and scan around for unexpected equipment (hint: there’s usually a somewhat unrecognizable gizmo). There’s always a neat assembly setup and light conversation. Some of us go to the living room for Prosecco, and a damn good cheese platter until it is time to eat. As we sit down to the first course Mr.Belm makes an appearance at the head of the table wearing  meticulous chef’s whites. He describes in way of  charming stories, why will be eating what will be eating,  and then we toast the birthday girl.


What stays with me, after the sumptuous dishes, the flawless wine pairings, and the guests’ lively  conversation is the unmistakeable love story.  The yearly birthday dinner is about exquisite food yes, but it is also a tender valentine from Mr. Belm to his charming Mrs. Belm, who is obviously appreciative. My husband and I spend time with a lot of couples, and we admire them all for different reasons. I take particular delight in seeing partners who demonstrate, sometimes effortlessly how much they genuinely ‘like’ their partners. The Belms embody this notion of reciprocal like. They are clearly smitten with each other. 2016’s dinner was another knockout and I can’t wait to get our ‘save-the-date’ for 2017 (no pressure at all Mr. Belm).

You can read  it all about it from Mr. Belm himself.

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