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Sold Out Casa Pacifica 5th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Big Weekend

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Contact: Anna Couslon
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Sold Out Casa Pacifica 5th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Big Weekend

Camarillo, CA – ‘An Elegant Evening in the Garden’ kicked off Casa Pacifica’s big weekend of events. The sold out dinner on Friday, May 31st, served as a lively prelude to the highly anticipated 26th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on Sunday, June 2nd. The Dinner, set in the Festival’s VIP tent, 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 showcased chefs cooked up some of their best dishes for more than 225 guests to enjoy. Yummie Top Chef Dinner chefs and Mark and Nicole Valdivia from The Cave, exclusive providers of the Dinner’s wine, were a highlight of the event when they joined the guests to share special insights and details of their contributions. Live music by Jack Benny 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 delicious lamb tartare hors d’oeuvres from Chef Tim Kilcoyne of World Central Kitchen.  The hors d’oeuvres complemented the libations provided by The Cave. The cocktails were poured out of The Cave’s recently debuted vintage-inspired Rocks & Drams trailer: a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Mule and a Blood Orange Spritz both featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s SLOambic Wild Ale, winner of Casa Pacifica’s 2019 “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition was also on tap for guests to enjoy.

The garden area featured a silent auction including a gallery of kids art – 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 appetizer led perfectly into the first course, which was a beautifully prepared Jasmine Brined Jidori Chicken presented by Chef Nic Mannocchio of University Auxiliary Services – CSUCI. The dish featured a sesame sticky rice crisp and lotus root slaw, ginger avocado coulis, and a sambal yuzu balsamic glaze. The Chicken was paired with J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc. Chef Ricardo T. Carreto of Water’s Edge created the second course, which was paired with Sbragia’s Home Ranch Chardonnay. The dish featured a perfectly Pan Seared Diver Scallop laid over a crispy seasonal polenta cake finished with a refreshing chimichurri sauce.

A quick intermezzo of lemon sorbet with a key lime and mint simple syrup by Chef Nic Manocchio gave guests a refreshing palette cleanser while participating in a lively live auction and listening to an update on Casa Pacifica given by Casa Pacifica CEO Dr. Steve Elson. The live auction gave guests the chance to bid on unique experiences like a Staples Center luxury suite, in-home dinners prepared by professional chefs, and the opportunity to the Rocks & Drams cocktail trailer come to your at-home party.

The third course was prepared by Chef Jason Collis of Plated Events by Chef Jason which highlighted a delicious Cioppino with a crushed garlic spread topped crustini. Curran’s Grenache Rose perfectly complemented the savory dish. The fourth course showcased Chef Alex Montoya of Fluid State Beer Garden who presented a honey-sesame peppered pork medallion, Shishito risotto, charred cherry gastrique, scallions, and microgreens. Ventura Wine Company’s Pinot Noir complemented the pork medallion flawlessly. The last of the savory courses, number five, featured a beautiful Beef Wellington by 3-time champion and reigning Yummie Culinary Competition winner Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 Bistro. The Beef Wellington featured a perfect piece of Filet Mignon and mushrooms wrapped in a puff pastry and baked, topped with a tri-color creamy peppercorn sauce, celery root mashed, and seasonal vegetables. This final savory dish was paired with Robert Mondavi’s Maestro Red.

The night ended with a sweet dessert duo; one dish by Chef Amanda Pritchett of Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters and another by the team of Chef Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s and Chef Anastashia Chavez of The 2686 Kitchen & Ojai Beverage Company. The dessert duo included a Gluten-Free chocolate cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. The other part of the duo, by Chef Amanda Pritchett and Chef Anastashia Chavez featured an herbed cornmeal cake made with the 2019 “Best in Fest” beer, Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s SLOambic Wild Ale and citrus fruit caramel.

The Cassar Family hosted the Dinner for the sixth year running, and were joined by other Yummie Top Chef Dinner sponsors including Ventura Rental Party & Events; Roz Warner, M.D. & Michael Hogan, M.D.; Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell, Timothy Bradley & Kelli Stephens; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner PC; PODS; and Procter & Gamble.

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.