Big Weekend for Foodies and Winos, Moving Up-Meanwhile, Down in the Valley, Expanding Horizons
Thursday, February 21, 2002
Photo: The Carmel Valley Village Improvement Committee was the recipient of nearly $16,000 from Walter Georis of Georis Winery.
BIG WEEKEND FOR FOODIES AND WINOS The annual Masters of Food and Wine event takes place at The Highlands Inn the Feb. 21-24. Heavy Hitters from the restaurant world and its sister, the wine world, will transform The Highlands into the pinnacled pleasure palace of the palisades. Luminaries like Julian Serrano, Mark Miller, Claudia Fleming, Patrick O''Connell, Eric Ripert and others will be chopping, dicing and spicing throughout the weekend, trying to outshine each other with inspired culinary creations. And, to wash all that swill down, the poor attendees will have to swallow the likes of Salon Champagne, Chapoutier''s Rhone Valley wines and the legendary Vega Sicilia Unico from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, plus a host of others. If that''s not daunting enough, some unfortunate diners will have to struggle through the Friday night dinner at the James House where the accompanying wines for the eight course meal will be selected from the Grand Award list of Pacific''s Edge Restaurant. Pity the souls condemned to endure such sufferings.
MOVING UP Another master of food and wine, Jeffrey Jake, was recently promoted to Executive Chef at The Lodge (that''s in Pebble Beach for those of you who are new to the area). He had already been kind of running things when Beat Giger, the former Executive was moved up to Director of Large Events.
He is responsible for Club XIX, Stillwater, The Tap Room, The Terrace Grill, plus all corporate functions and banquets, Casa Palmero, The Beach and Tennis Club and every hotdog and pretzel that is consumed at those major functions such as the AT&T Pro Am and the Concours d''Elegance. All told, we are looking at around $32 million per year in food with his signature on it. That is huge.
By the way, he happens to be a wonderful guy as well. Dorothy Maras-Ildiz, Director of Operations for the Old Bath House, where Jake was chef back in the mid-''90s, calls him "the largest unsung talent on the Peninsula. He is well respected by his staff (a rarity in the hotel world), a genuinely nice guy with a butt-load of integrity and if given the chance, he can cook circles around anyone in the business."
At the executive committee meeting when the GM surprised Jeff, presenting him with his newly embroidered chef''s coats, his kitchen staff showed up wearing their aprons tied backwards, hanging from their necks like capes. Why? Because they call Jeff Jake "Superman."
MEANWHILE, DOWN IN THE VALLEY One "super" happening occurred recently when Walter Georis of Georis Winery presented a check for $15,913.39 to the Carmel Valley Village Improvement Committee, a group of Carmel Valley citizens devoted to improving the quality of life for Carmel Valleyites. The money was raised at an auction during the Carmel Valley Wine Festival this past year with 100% of the proceeds donated.
Speaking of Carmel Valley wines, Chateau Christina Pinot Noir was chosen to represent Monterey County after three weeks of blind tastings at a national wine symposium hosted by the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. Chateau Christina, along with Talbott wines are being showcased at area restaurants including Piatti''s, Grasings, The Chop House, Bahama Billy''s, Tarpys, Rio Grill, Montrio and The Whaling Station. The wines are also available at fine retail outlets.
While we''re out in the Valley, Rich Tanguay, the winemaker at Heller Estate will be hosting an event, Feb. 23-24. Older vintages of Cabernets and Chardonnays will be available for tasting along with barrel samples of the new vintages. He''s cooking something called saganaki, a Greek style fondue, to enjoy along with the wines. Guess what? It''s free. Now the folks that don''t have tickets to the Masters can have some fun too. Call for details: 659-2690.
EXPANDING HORIZONS Starting March 1, Fourth Avenue Pasta House in Carmel, will add lunch daily to its repertoire. The lunch prices will be extremely reasonable ($5.95 gets you pasta entrées plus soup or salad) so those on a budget should be thrilled.
Bill and Sue Karaki, owners of Taste Café & Bistro in PG are thrilled with the addition of a full bar and a larger space to expand their already hopping joint. They''ve added Friday and Saturday night live jazz as well. With the likes of Alberto''s, Fifi''s, The Korean Grill and Taste, that little area of PG on Forest Avenue by Safeway has become a hot corner for foodies.
--Raymond Napolitano (email@example.com)