Naturally Healthy Holiday Dinner Fundraiser & Gala REVIEW!

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.