Thursday, March 26, 1998
For an incredible ticket price of only five bucks, the first annual Culinary Classic will be staged in a day-long extravaganza at the new Salinas Rodeo/Sports Complex on April 25th. The event is being sponsored by the Entre Nous Society, a group of women with quite a track record for brainstorming solutions to charitable causes.
"We''re a lot of gals who are farmers'' wives; ag-women who regularly devote time to pursuing culinary entertainment and sponsoring charitable events," says coordinator Claudia Smith. Their predecessors were known as the Canteen Corps back during WWII, a kitchen contingent that thought nothing of whipping up a meal for 600, if need be. This year''s Culinary Classic honors the memory of Joan Treganza by benefitting Shelter Plus in Salinas and King City, family help centers that Treganza helped found in her work with Entre Nous prior to her death last year.
It''s a full line-up of entertainment with wine tastings offered by Chalone, Monterey Vineyard, Paraiso Springs, Morgan, Jekel, Smith and Hook, Scheid, and Cloninger as well as the International Olive Oil Company, with fantasy table-scapes on display by local florists and designers. And nine local chefs will be doing their stuff in half-hour cooking demonstrations.
All considered, it''s a resounding bang for the buck. "At that price, we''ll be mobbed," laughs David Beck, executive chef of Carmel''s Il Fornaio. "I better order a lot of artichokes!" Beckwith will demonstrate techniques in preparing fresh artichokes for stuffing with a savory mixture, to become carciofini alle acciughe.
Kurt Grasing of Grasing''s in Carmel will demystify risotto and Henry Gong of Star Market in Salinas will share his love of Pacific Rim foods, exhibiting California-style Vietnamese spring rolls, filled with crab, avocado and shrimp to go with Thai melon salsa.
Salinas'' Peninsula Pastries chef and owner Catherine Tighe will share the limelight as she rolls up a variety of truffles to dip in tempered chocolate. Gourmet box lunches and other savories will be available to enjoy while learning tricks of the trade from these (and several more) kitchen pros.
And in the same vein, Right on, Rio! Rio Grill has a lot to celebrate this year. Their 15th anniversary rolls around this November (a testimony to the tenacious Scorpio character) with all sorts of festivities in the works. They''re also celebrating the fact that they raised a record-breaking $13,000 with the 8th Annual Rio Resolution Run on Jan. 1 to benefit the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Center. More proof that this is a restaurant group with a conscience, they''ll be working with the budding young artists at Monterey Art Careers Academy at Monterey High School on a special joint venture--designing and creating a kids'' menu for the restaurant.
How about a great glass of Jouillian Vineyards cab to go along with a beautiful, porcini-crusted Chateau sirloin steak? Join Tarpy''s Chef Michael Kimmel and Ridge Watson, head winemaker for Jouillian in a 4-course winemaker''s dinner. Tarpy''s Roadhouse, 2999 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Monterey. Tuesday, March 31st, 6:30pm, $59, 647-1444.