by Chuck Lowery, Deputy Mayor of Oceanside, California
As an elected official, I’m invited to many such fundraising events and the most unpredictable part of the whole evening is the meal. I always request in advance a “vegan” dinner. It fits right in with the gluten-free, vegetarian, wheat-free, you name it, meals. The chefs simply plan one meal that fits all categories and it’s usually very good… if they remember to make it.
The VEI Gala/Fundraiser completely removed that problem by publishing their menu weeks ahead. Take a look at the offering here on the menu link.
I counted four trained chefs in the kitchen and noticed eight others helping with check-in, prep, serving and cleanup. The shopping had been done in advance so when they started working at 7:00AM for the evening dinner, they were ready. Every menu item featured it’s French name, reflecting the skill set of the Euro-trained Executive Chef. As the appetizers rolled out of the kitchen, I brought up the menu on my phone to review. Needless to say, the meal was exquisite. Two appetizers, a bisque, four courses including green rolls, cauliflower au gratin, marinated tempeh, and glazed millet loaf. Two desserts, which I squirreled away for the next day.
One friend stated… clearly… "This is the best food I’ve ever eaten!” I agreed with her.
Several guests anticipate similar, though less extravagant, meals at the upcoming Summer Retreat 2017, Camp Sylvester at Pinecrest Lake. I will be among them.
Meanwhile, my personal cooking has been more inspired since the gala. I learned to use the same ingredients as always (fresh, organic, local, farm-to-market) in a somewhat revitalized way. More fun choosing, cutting, cooking veggies. More variety of whole grains (millet, brown-red-black rice, oats.) More patience eating my meal. Talk about a win-win.
I look forward to the next VEI Gala/Fundraiser but can’t imagine how the menu can get any better. Kudos to all involved for making this event such a success.