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Sold-Out 8th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Full Weekend For Casa Pacifica

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Contact: Anna Coulson
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Sold-Out 8th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Full Weekend For Casa Pacifica

Camarillo, CA – The 8th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner kicked off Casa Pacifica’s big weekend of events. The sold-out, ‘Havana Nights’-themed dinner on Friday, September 24th, served as an elegant prelude to the highly anticipated return of the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on Sunday, September 26th. The Dinner, set in the Festival’s VIP garden area at CSU Channel Islands’ North Quad, brought together some of Casa Pacifica’s previous Yummie Culinary Competition winners to create an unforgettable epicurean event. Retired Sheriff Geoff Dean returned as emcee of the Yummie Top Chef Dinner, always a crowd favorite with his humor and passion for Casa Pacifica’s cause of helping foster and at-risk youth.

The Dinner’s organizers took extra safety precautions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, requiring all attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.

The showcased chefs cooked up some of their best dishes for more than 225 guests to enjoy. Live music by Sound Effect was sprinkled throughout the night and kept the atmosphere lively.

A crisp evening provided the perfect backdrop as guests started arriving to the Yummie Top Chef Dinner. They were greeted with beef papa rellenos by Chef Andres Fernandez of The Copa Cabana and crab and lobster Rangoon by Chef Alex Castillo. The hors d’oeuvres complemented the libations provided by M on High and St~Germain. Pedals & Pints Single Speed American Light Lager, winner of Casa Pacifica’s 2021 “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition was also on hand for guests to enjoy.

The garden area featured a silent auction including golf packages, wine baskets, and fine jewelry. A highlight of the silent auction was the gallery of kids art displayed in the garden – all pieces done by kids at Casa Pacifica. All proceeds from the art went directly to Casa Pacifica’s recreational therapy department.

To kick-off the sit-down portion of the dinner, hosts Hugh and Keets Cassar of The Cassar Family, gave a warm welcome and led guests in a cheerful toast to Casa Pacifica.

The tasty appetizers led perfectly into the first course, which was a beautifully prepared avocado wood-smoked salmon “OPG” salad presented by Chef Nic Manocchio of University Auxiliary Services – CSUCI. The dish featured the specially prepared salmon on a bed of organic petite greens, drizzled with a pink guava vinaigrette, with papaya citrus chutney and plantain croutons. The salmon was paired with Brassfield Sauvignon Blanc. Chef Steven Stroh of Plated Events created the second course, which was paired with Magnavino’s Chardonnay. The dish featured a smoked scallop and beef carpaccio. The third course was prepared by Chef Jeff Downey of The Saticoy Club which featured pan sauteed gnocchi finished in a morel mushroom champagne cream sauce. The third course was paired with Erath’s 2019 Pinot Noir.

A quick intermezzo by Chef Nic Manocchio gave guests a refreshing palette cleanser while participating in a lively live auction and an update from Casa Pacifica CEO Shawna Morris. The live auction gave guests the chance to bid on unique experiences like a private party at the Villa Del Lago estate on Lake Sherwood, an in-home dinner prepared by Chef Nic Manocchio, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Audi FIS Ski World Cup and stay on the beautiful Lake Louise.

The fourth course showcased Chef Alex Montoya of Waterside and Water’s Edge who presented an umami roasted pork medallion with confit parsnip puree, a red wine demi glaze, and alongside a spiced poached pear and micro greens. Ojai Vineyard’s 2017 Rich Barbera complemented the pork medallion flawlessly. The last of the savory courses, number five, was prepared by Chef Abdu Romero of Slate Bistro & Craft Bar and featured a beautiful smoked short rib stuffed crepe, grass-fed grilled filet with black garlic, mushrooms and watercress. This final savory dish was paired with Magnavino’s 2016 Magnitude.

The night ended with a sweet dessert trio by Chefs: Amanda Pritchett of Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters, Chef Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s, and Chef Anastashia Chavez of Milo & Olive. The dessert trio included a chocolate cupcake with strawberry brandy frosting paired with a side car shot of strawberry brandy cold brew by Chef Amanda Pritchett. The second component of the trio was a honey-poached stone fruit with spiced meringue by Chef Julia San Bartolome. The last component was an olive oil cake with fig plum jam by Chef Anastashia Chavez.

The Cassar Family hosted the Dinner for the sixth year running, and were joined by other Yummie Top Chef Dinner sponsors including Epicurean Sponsors: Tim Bradley; Roz Warner, M.D. & Michael Hogan, M.D./Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell; Top Chef Sponsors: PODS; Procter & Gamble; and Ventura Rental Party & Events; and Master Sommelier Sponsors: Susan & Ken Bauer; Finish Line; Montecito Bank & Trust; and S.L.Leonard & Associates, Inc.

All proceeds from the Yummie Top Chef Dinner directly support Casa Pacifica’s vital programs and services serving vulnerable children, youth, and their families.

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Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties and administers a number of community-based programs designed to strengthen families and keep children in their homes and communities. Casa Pacifica is also a foster family agency, which recruits and trains families for potential placement with a foster youth. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website or call the Development & Public Relations Department at (805) 445-7800.