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Sold Out Casa Pacifica 5th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Big Weekend
Camarillo, CA June 2nd, 2018 – A Night of Shimmer and Jazz kicked off Casa Pacifica’s big weekend of events. The sold out dinner on Friday, June 1st, served as a lively prelude to the highly anticipated 25th Anniversary Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on Sunday, June 3rd. The Dinner, set in the Festival’s VIP tent, brought together several of Ventura County’s best chefs and wineries to create an unforgettable epicurean event. 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 showcased chefs – all of whom are Yummie Culinary Competition winners from previous Wine, Food & Brew Festivals – cooked up some of their best dishes for more than 250 guests to enjoy. Yummie Top Chef Dinner chefs and the wine and brew makers were a highlight of the event when they joined the guests to share special insights and details of their contributions. Live music by the PackRats was sprinkled throughout the night and kept the atmosphere lively.
A cool but clear evening provided the perfect backdrop as guests started arriving to the Yummie Top Chef Dinner. They were greeted with delicious hors d’oeuvres from Chef Sandra Cordero of Gasolina and Chef Oscar Ledesma of The Little Door. Chef Sandra offered a refreshing strawberry and fennel gazpacho which complemented Chef Oscar’s Country Pate “Duck & Pork Harris Berry Variations” which featured Pickled & Mostarda, Mizuna Lettuce on Rustic Sourdough. Guests also indulged in Twenty88’s delicious Peach Divine Martini featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka and “Best in Fest” winner Topa Topa Brewing Company’s Chief Peak IPA brew.
Yummie Top Chef Dinner hosts Hugh and Keets Cassar of The Cassar Family, gave a warm welcome and led guests in a cheerful toast to Casa Pacifica, generously donated by Ventura Rentals. The much-anticipated unveiling of the showpiece cake created by Paul and Gilbert Delagnes, owners of the Bread Basket Cake Co. was next. The 100 lb, multi-tiered cake featured vibrant trees, a beautiful wine barrel, and most importantly – kids. “That’s why we all do what we do for Casa Pacifica - for the kids,” said Paul Delagnes.
The tasty appetizers led perfectly into the first course, which was a beautifully prepared Duck Confit Crisp presented by Chef Nic Mannocchio of University Auxiliary Services – CSUCI. The dish featured locally picked tiny greens and endive slaw, sweet and savory duck confit, crisp pastry, duck bacon, pickled pears and radish, topped with a pomegranate ginger vinegrette. The confit was paired with Magnavino Cellars’ 2015 Beautiful. Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 created the second course, which was paired with Goldschmidt’s 2016 Singing Tree Chardonnay. The dish featured a perfectly cooked pistachio herb-crusted Chilean seabass, lemongrass beurre blanc, farro wild rice risotto, and roasted seasonal vegetables. Course three highlighted a smoked pork tenderloin and sweet corn griddle cake by Chef Ernest Romero of J Wolf Catering & BBQ. The smoked tenderloin was garnished with a micro greens and goat cheese salad and topped with a blackberry sauce. Cantara Cellar’s Intrepid Syrah perfectly complemented the meaty dish.
A quick intermezzo of lemon sorbet with a ginger mint simple syrup by Chef Nic Manocchio gave guests a refreshing palette cleanser before continuing on their culinary adventure. The fourth course showcased Chef Bernardo Rodriguez of Ojai Beverage Company who created a ribeye dish which paired perfectly with Opolo Vineyard’s Fusion wine. The 30-day dry-aged ribeye sat on a bed of roasted dragon carrots and was topped with a rich chimichurri compound butter. The last of the savory courses, number five, featured beautifully braised short ribs in ragu over gnocchi with Meyer lemon gremolata by long-time Casa Pacifica supporter Chef Jason Collis of Plated Events.
A touching moment of the night was when a Casa Pacifica youth sang “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. The meaningful lyrics coupled with the youth’s story left not a dry eye in the house.
The night ended with a sweet trio of desserts by Chef Alex Montoya of The Cave, Chef Ali Davis of Sugar Lab Bake Shop, and Chef Anastashia Chavez of The 2686 Kitchen. The trio included a Mexican Chocolate Chili Anti-Griddle Frozen Custard Pie with Kahlua Caramel and micro mint from Chef Alex, classic almond shells filled with loquat swiss meringue buttercream and loquat jam by Chef Ali, and a “Beeramisu” by Chef Anastashia. The unique take on classic tiramisu featured layers of genoise cake, mascarpone mousse, coffee stout and beer toffee, all of which featured this year’s Best in Fest winner Topa Topa Brewing Company’s Chief Peak IPA.
The Cassar Family hosted the Dinner for the fifth year running, and were joined by other Yummie Top Chef Dinner sponsors including Ventura Rental Party Center; Wells Fargo; The Tesoro Family; Roz Warner, M.D. & Michael Hogan, M.D.; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner PC; Cohen Begun & Deck, LLP; and Procter & Gamble.
All proceeds from the Yummie Top Chef Dinner 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. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website www.casapacifica.org or call the Development & Public Relations Department at (805) 445-7800.