Update: Come and Dine (Winner!)
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After some long and difficult deliberations from our judges Lady Carnarvon, Karine Hagen from Viking Cruises and Andrew McKenzie from The Vineyard we are now able to reveal the Grand Prize Winner of our Come and Dine competition. Tressa Lemky from Winnipeg, Canada went above and beyond everything we could possibly expect – hosting an amazing dinner party for family and friends, cooking some wonderful food from Lady Carnarvon’s book ‘At Home at Highclere’ and bringing her community together in support of ‘Working Together to End Human Trafficking’ an initiative started by the Joy Smith Foundation.
Tressa is a very worthy winner and we are so pleased to able to invite her and seven guests to Come and Dine at Highclere Castle.
Despite all of the other amazing entries, Tressa’s creativity and dedication stood out and I’m sure you will all agree that she deserves this fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity to dine at Highclere Castle.
As you may imagine, Tressa was overwhelmed when the call from Lady Carnarvon came through on Friday evening. Despite us organising an acceptable time to call her, talking to Lady Carnarvon was a complete surprise to her, which you can tell from the reaction in the following video:
Congratulations go to all entrants including our three runners up; Gary La Liberte from Quebec, Cherie Gould from Scottsdale, Arizona and Jennifer Haselgrove from Indooroopilly, Australia.
Congratulations to all who competed and particularly to Tressa. Beautifully done.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words.
Blessings to you.
A tough decision but a very worthy winner!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a truly heartwarming video and grand announcement. Many congratulations to Ms. Lemky on such a spectacular dinner party, Highclere-and-Downton style, and to your touching reaction to her entry (and hers, to your call). That she would support PBS and especially a charity to end human trafficking is extraordinary. What a beautiful opportunity she will have to come and dine at your breathtaking home and to enjoy the other extraordinary sites of England. Thank you for what you personally are doing to support Public television, beauty, and civility. We too had Downtown Dress-Up dinners here in Saint Louis, Missouri,, albeit perhaps with a less noble purpose than raising money for charity and yet, to gather good friends and family for a gracious repast, delightful conversation, and watching one of the loveliest offerings television audiences have ever enjoyed does have its unique place in fostering goodwill and graciousness. What you provided via opening your exquisite home to television viewers around the world, indeed provided a unique opportunity for fostering a special camaraderie and wonderful memories that she shall never forget. Just in the past two weeks, we’ve dusted off our Downton videos and are enjoying the series all over again, albeit with less fanfare and just with our little immediate family. And it’s a joy. I may be enjoying it more a second time, catching some conversation and nuances I’d missed midst all the “oohing and ahing” over Matthew Crawley and Branson! Thank you for all you do, and again, congratulations from America to our lucky Canadian friend!
Thank you for being so happy for me being chosen -you are most gracious. I am so excited!!
Oh, and Lady Carnarvon, will you be posting Ms. Lemky’s winning video? I think it would be delightful for your readers to view. I hope you will! 🙂
Yes we will! It is extraordinary.
Wonderful. Can’t wait to see it!
Congratulations I must say what a beautiful table the food must of been amazing aswell.
Thank you Susan for complimenting my tablescape. In regards to the food, I must say that the white onion truffle soup was a favourite. I am thankful I was able to watch Lady Carnarvons video over and over again to learn how to make it just right☺️
I can add to the wonderfulness of that soup. The best soup I think I’ve ever tasted.
A fairy tale ending for Tressa and friends, congratulations!
Thank you so much Heather and yes you are correct- a fairy tale ending for sure….feeling so blessed.
Congratulations to Tressa! Thanks for sharing the video of your call to her. I’d love to see the video of her dinner party. Thanks again for inspiring us to invite our friends in and host a special evening for them!
What an amazing event and congratulations to Tressa. It was also fabulous to see an Aussie runner up.
Well done Jennifer.
It really was a truly international competition and Jennifer’s attention to detail was remarkable!
How exciting for Tressa and her friends!!! Congrats Tressa! We are excited to see her video and share in following her trip to see you!!! I love her heart for the cause she chose and what a well deserved blessing for her hard work! So much fun and so happy for their trip to come!!!
It was such a pleasure to speak to her on the phone and you can probably tell it brought a tear to my eye!
Well done everyone and congratulations to all who entered. Reaching out to help do good deeds is never a bad thing. Just imagine all the people that will benefit from this competition. Mind blowing.
Such fun while trying to make a difference in today’s world!
Very well organized event and many congratulations to all participants whose efforts have made us aware of the willingness to bless others in this endeavor. Hopefully this can be an annual event! Thank you for sharing.
Just the few pictures of the table service and the beautiful dining room make me excited to watch the video that you will be sharing of Tressa’s event. I think you have more than fulfilled a bucket-list life experience for her and her friends/family that will be travelling over to Come and Dine with you at Highclere.
Thank you for coordinating and sponsoring such a worthwhile and beneficial event. It was such a pleasure to follow along as you posted through all the phases of Come and Dine.
Congratulations to Tressa, I’m sure she is beyond excited. Congratulations to the runner ups too in Quebec and Australia .Cherie Gould in Scottsdale Arizona ,I live in Phoenix, Arizona, I know Tressa and guests will have a fabulous time at Highclere.
Thank you for your wonderful thoughts, my friends and I are delighted for Tressa and have truly enjoyed corresponding through Lady Carnarvon’s blog during this contest! It has been so exciting to receive updates each week and follow everyone’s party progress! We feel as though the world has become a little smaller, bringing us together…It’s been a pleasure reading your comments over the years, from a fellow friend from sunny Arizona,
So incredibly exciting!!! I am very happy for fellow-Canadian Tressa and her friends. What an incredible dream come true! I had tears in my eyes watching that call!
Congratulations to Ms Lemkey and her friends. Amazing to see all the entrants listed at the end of the video. I counted fifty! No wonder it was so very difficult to choose. And thanks to you, Lady Carnarvon for putting together this wonderful event. You have caused much good in the fund-raising aspect of this and the fact that we eight here and the other entrants have a great topic of conversation for a long time to come!
We are over the moon with excitement for you and your guests!
My friends and I from the “Downton Dinner Club” Jill, Tina, Susan, Rhonda and myself wish you an amazing adventure as you prepare to travel to England & Highclere; we are with you in spirit & wish you a trip with memories that will last a lifetime! Each of us has had so much fun on this “Come and Dine” journey and started our morning here Scottsdale, Arizona time at 6:30 am calling each other so we could watch Lady Carnarvon’s video announcement together! We all trembled with excitement as you called Tressa personally; what a very gracious touch…. Then at the end of the video an unexpected surprise as we cried out with delight that our party was mentioned in the 3 runners up! Thank you,
Sincerely, from our hearts to yours!
Lady Carnarvon we have been touched by how you and your staff have made this experience such a personal one; from allowing us to post our progress during the contest to receiving a follow up e-mail from your office after having difficulty trying to send our entry video – letting us know that not only you received it but it uploaded successfully! We are celebrating with a “royal wedding tea” on May 19th and will toast Lord and Lady Carnarvon and Tressa as well as her guests for a magnificent evening! Thank you for sharing Highclere’s history through your books, blogs, cooking videos and various programs likeMary Berry’s Country House Secrets…. we each look forward to seeing what’s next,
Che’rie Gould, Jill Gerding, Susan Maleki, Tina Curran & Rhonda Stein
Che’rie, perhaps we could be in contact with each other. I’m originally from England and would love to meet you. I don’t want to put my phone number here. I’m on Facebook
Oh my – thank you so much Cherie! You are so kind and encouraging. We are so excited and can hardly wait to fly to England!
Congratulations to your group as well on being a top entry!!
Blessings to you all!
Herzliche Glückwünsche aus Berlin Germany Ich freue mich schon auf die Bilder.
Congratulations to all of you!
Tressa, Congratulations!!! How wonderful that a fellow ‘Canadian’ has won the honour! I can only imagine how very difficult a decision it must have been to choose a winner from all the incredible entrants – can’t wait to see the video, and enjoy your trip to Highclere for all of us, eh!
Very, very happy for you!!!
Congratulations to Tressa and all of her friends! What a wonderful way to announce this!! I have tears in my eyes just listening to her excitement!!! I can imagine she is totally overwhelmed. I know I would be. You do these things and never expect you will actually be chosen!!! Oh, well done, Teresa and Lady Carnarvon. I will eagerly be watching to see her and her friends entertained at Highclere. And well done to everyone else who entered. This has been such fun to watch from afar.
Blessings on all of you!!
Thank you so much for your sweet words. I never dreamed I would win and to hear Lady Carnarvon ask me that question still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Thank you so much for sharing in my excitement. I still can hardly believe it!
Have a blessed day.
Congratulations to Tressa and her friends , and we were moved to tears seeing the video with the personal phone call announcement! How wonderful Tressa must feel! And I know she will have a most special visit to Highclere Castle. It is special that she is from Canada, and that she contributes to the cause for End Human Trafficking, she is surely a super winner. Congratulations to the runner ups, and all the participants, we are all winners as it was a most splendid event…and a dinner idea that calls for repetition. I, too, am planning another “formal dinner” for the Royal Wedding on May 19th! “Synhariteria” to all!
You were a wonderful runner up and I have a few trophies to send you!!!
How exciting to see a fellow Canadian as grand prize winner 🙂 I have been eagerly following the competition and I look forward to seeing the winning video!
Tressa, I’m sure your adventure will be everything you desire….and undoubtedly more.
I am heading to England this weekend and was fortunate enough to get tickets to the castle next week. I know I am beside myself with excitement and am sure you and your friends will be too.
Congratulations on your amazing win.
Oh thank you Sherry!
You are so sweet to be excited for me. I really appreciate your words of kindness. I am feeling so in awe of his and can hardly grasp it all!
Thank you again:)
I have chills. Congratulations to Tressa on a beautiful event. The table, flowers, and centerpiece are extraordinary. I am looking forward to seeing the video if it is presented. How very exciting, and congratulations, as well, to you, Lady Carnarvon. The realization of your idea from concept to finish has been great fun to follow, and the donation to a deserving charity makes it complete.
Thank you for more wonderful reading.
Thanks! It’s so exciting to be “in on the call”!! Congratulations Tressa! Beautifully done. And great job to the Runners Up and everyone who participated. We loved being a part of the call to be able to hear Lady Carnarvon congratulate the winner. (Her table setting was gorgeous!)
In my book, you’re all winners who sent in their entries and had their lovely parties and supported charities. Also congratulations, Cherie Gould (Go USA)!
Congratulations to Tressa! The table was exquisite, and your devotion to the non-profit causes is truly commendable! I raise a glass to you!
My family and I were thrilled to see that we were recognized as “Honorable Mention”! We truly enjoyed the experience. It will be something that we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Thank you Lady Carnarvon for this amazing opportunity! God’s blessings on you and your family.
Congratulations to Tressa Lemky and her friends! Such an exciting contest to win, and worldwide, no less! Well deserved for all your hard work and passion put into this endeavor! Thankyou for putting Winnipeg on the map! My sincere congratulations on this exciting win! Bravo! Cant wait to view the video!
Congratulations Tressa!! What a beautiful table you set and what an honorable cause you represent. I know you’ll enjoy your time at Highclere, and will raise awareness of the Joy Smith Foundation at the same time. I’m so excited for you!!
Awh Melissa THANK YOU!!!
You are so precious and I just love that the Lord has us meet that special day!
I pray you are well and still smiling your beautiful smile!!!
So happy for all!
Geesh! Wish this was me! I did not enter, but maybe next time!
Exactly next time
Good evening Lady Carnarvon,
I just want to publicly thank you for this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am deeply humbled and feeling overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I can still hardly believe this is real!
I also want to thank the Lord for how He helped me during this entire process. To realize now that with His help it all came together is deeply moving. I am just in awe of this final outcome!
I really never believed that I would win so I promised myself weeks ago that I would continue to be grateful for all that I had learned and experienced during the process. I was thrilled to be able to raise funds for our local PBS affiliate- Prairie Public and also draw attention to the reality of human trafficking within Canada through the Joy Smith Foundation.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for this incredibl gift! We can hardly wait to “Come and Dine”☺️
**One more thing……
THANK YOU to all of you who have taken the time to post such kind and congratulatory comments….they have all brought me to tears.
WOW – is all I can say – How Wonderful!!!! Can’t wait to see the video – and more from Tressa’s visit – I was in tears listening to the call – Well Done!!!
Sincere congratulations to all of our Come and Dine comrades! What a fun event!
We will be celebrating the royal wedding as well but we will be doing it with the masses in Windsor. Ms. Markle is an alumna of my university so we must go and cheer her on. We are coming to London for the Chelsea Flower Show Gala Preview Dinner so we could not help but book a weekend stay in Windsor at such an exciting and historic time.
Cheers to everyone and “bon voyage” to Tressa.
Congratulations to all the winners. Looking at the the photos from Tressa’s dinner, it is easy to see why she won. Everything was just beautiful!! Human Trafficking is should a horrible stain on humanity and I am so happy that Tressa helped to shed light on the problem.
Will we hear from Tressa about her experience, perhaps in a guest post on your blog, Lady Carnarvon?
To Cherie Gloud representing the USA, huge congrats. I feel like I have been following your progress from the outset because you have posted here on Lady Carnarvon’s Blog little snippets and insights of how you were faring and it was a pleasure to follow. Way to go Arizona!!!
To all the other winners, heartiest congrats and well done!
Congratulations to Tressa and all the worthy competitors who worked so hard. What a terrific event. I hope to see more in the future. How fun for everyone!
How wonderful! Congratulations! I can’t wait to watch the winning video! I was also thrilled to see a local Queenslander as a runner up, congratulations Jennifer and well done to all that participated…I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of this and everyone’s comments
Oh Tressa, Congratulations!!! What a wonderful outcome, after watching your video and reading further I realise you won!!! So very pleased for you, because if anyone knows, I do what this will mean to you. Our English heritage & elegance is truly one of a kind and this is proof that fairy tales can come true because thats how I see it. You deserve it, so enjoy!!! Think of you often luv Debbie.xx
Missed the last opportuntiy to participate in the Downtown Abbey Valentine Dinner Party.
When will you be having another contest, I would be the first to enter.
congratulations to all of you. It was a nice challenge and we enjoyed it a lot. I wish everybody a great springtime and this event will definitely walk into our box of memories. A nice story to tell.
Congratulations to Tressa,
You have inspired me to entertain my friends and family after viewing your ‘Tea Party” at your church and a very inspiring “Come & Dine” dinner party. I admire you raising awareness and donating funds to help stop human trafficking, a most important important cause.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for the opportunity to enter this lovely contest. I so enjoyed having my friends and family and it was such a fun gathering!!! We all congratulate Tressa and the three very worthy runners up. I am delighted for the winners and hope they enjoy their wonderful prize. (prizes). A wonderful contest and so much fun, even if my party were not the winners. Happy Easter and Spring to all. I am having my family over for Easter brunch today, as my sister and family were visiting Chicago and my brother in laws family on Easter. Another party to look forward to, and I won’t be sad about losing the contest and neither should anyone else, as it seemed like there were many impressive entries.
Regards and Happy Belated Easter to All,
Ann Catherine Flood
You were all so amazing – I found it such an experience from just an idea. The dinner parties were beautiful. Karine (Hagen) was also just so moved – and in tears!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
We had such a wonderful time participating in your Come and Dine Competition. Gerald and I are thrilled for Tressa’s win (congratulations Tressa!) and loved her beautifully polished video.
I’d love to thank you, Karine Hagen, and Andrew McKenzie for giving me a runner up placement in the final judging. It was so exciting to receive the email Thursday morning from the Highclere Offices.
I hope you consider repeating your competition in the future, so many more Downton Abbey fans can enjoy participating while helping worthy causes. It was such a pleasure to stretch my imagination, fuelled by your wonderful blog postings, and create our Titanic-themed dining room fit for the Crawley family … And such fun it was executing it while raising funds for PBS.
Thank you again, it’s been an exciting week here in Quebec, Canada!
Sincerely, and with much gratitude,
Congratulations to the winner! So deserved! Enjoy your Highclere experience! Wishing I was one of your group of seven! Cheers!
A worthy winner!!!!
Tressa… So excited for you! I’m so glad you told me to listen to this, when we talked at my church (Faith Alive – Saskatoon)…you will have the time of your life!!!!! God go before you and I pray you fulfill His purpose for this trip! Have fun and think of all us Downton fans who are green with jealousy! LOL!!!