FOOD CHAINS: Eric Schlosser talks about his new film—and what we have yet to learn about our food -

6b8cb4fc-f171-4513-8323-32db0e8c2de3November 19, 2014 - Despite America’s pervasive obsession with food and the state of our food system, far too little attention is given to the price paid for our food by farmworkers.

FOOD CHAINS, which opens Friday in Salinas and around the country, is the latest film produced by local author Eric Schlosser and actress Eva Longoria. It exposes the human cost of our food and the complicity in this of supermarkets and fast food outlets. It also provides hope for a better way. 

Director Sanjay Rawal includes footage shot in Watsonville and the Salinas Valley, although most of the film focuses on the particularly dire struggle and successful activism of tomato pickers in Florida.

The Salinas opening at Maya Cinemas on Friday night at 7:20pm includes a … Read More

Bill Lee wants YOU to join him at Rocky Point -

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 2.08.50 PMNovember 18, 2014 - Monterey Peninsula restaurant world legend Bill Lee hasn’t even been at the helm of Rocky Point restaurant for two months, but he’s already working hard to make this otherworldly location more accessible—especially for locals.

To get the party started, Lee is waiving the $2000 event fee for the restaurant’s remodeled oceanfront private dining room—which now includes a bar and an adjacent oceanside patio and firepits—for all events for the rest of 2014—including New Years’ Eve, which was still available as of press time.

At the other end of the spectrum, he’s also encouraging walk-ins from folks who just want to enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine and an appetizer while they watch the whales breach.

The first new menu since Lee and chef Herman … Read More

Food Lounge coming to Santa Cruz -

5faff7bc-6c09-47ec-a430-835709a2c701November 18, 2014 - In a bold new move, multi-talented chef Andrea Mollenauer is leaving Front St. Kitchen to open her own food, art and entertainment venue in downtown Santa Cruz called Food Lounge. Mollenauer—owner of Lifestyle Culinary Arts and a popular teacher in the Santa Cruz ROP high school program—has also helped launch many local, artisanal food businesses from Front St. Kitchen, such as Melinda’s Gluten-Free, Cardamom Tuesday, Mortal Dumpling and Mutari Hot Chocolate.

“The new space has a larger kitchen and almost twice as much floor space,” said Mollenauer, who is keeping quiet about the exact location until current tenants move out. “There’s a courtyard and lots of usable event space in the front where we can have pop up dinners, guest chefs and artisan food … Read More

Pastry chefs delight with Edible Art -
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Pastry Chef Ben Spungin of Coastal Luxury Management created this “Box of Chocolate” with Valrhona Dulcey, creme, granola and pear.

 November 18, 2014 - Blurring the lines between art and food, three Monterey Bay area pastry chefs joined forces last week for a spectacular dinner benefiting Monterey’s Youth Arts Collective. Organized by designer Hanni Liliedahl of Monterey’s Lilify, the dinner was focused around the humble, yet beautiful, pear. 

It showcased the culinary and artistic skills of Ben Spungin of the Coastal Luxury Management Group, Ron Mendoza of Aubergine in Carmel, and Yulanda Santos of Sierra Mar restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur.

Enjoy this gallery of photos of their temporal creations…because that’s all that’s left! Photos are courtesy of the talented Eileen Roche Photography.  

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Table settings by

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Teaching farm sprouts in Scotts Valley with a little help from Oprah -

Danica Draper with Utah Tall celeryNovember 18, 2014 - Turning off a bend on Lockhart Gulch Road in Scotts Valley and gazing down at the fertile bowl of land that has become Bee Fruitful Farm, it is very hard to imagine that anything else ever existed here. However, in the 1960s it was a trout hatchery and then gradually, as natural spaces will, evolved into a tangle of overgrowth and wilderness. That all changed in 2002 when Lee and Sue Draper purchased the 7-acres with a hunch that this spot held some diamond-in-the-rough magic.

According to Mandy Draper, Sue’s daughter-in-law, Lee “was like an artist, he could see the potential in properties.” The family’s background in real estate didn’t hurt either. So four years later, after tireless work and a whole lot of vision, … Read More

Slow Food International's Terra Madre Biennial

Slow Food International’s Terra Madre Biennial

November 11, 2014 – With a whopping 100,000 members worldwide, Slow Food International holds the largest food event in the world every two years. It’s called Terra Madre and is held in Torino in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. This year delegates came from 175 countries and out of the 20 Californians at the event, five hailed from the Greater Bay Area including three from Slow Food Santa Cruz.

The Slow Food movement conceives itself as the antidote to fast food, with the goal of preserving traditional cuisines and supporting small-scale farming, fishing, ranching, and food artisans who protect the environment and communities.

Santa Cruz’s three delegates were wowed by the event. “I just returned from the culinary adventure of a lifetime—a global … Read More

Tribute set for artist Erik Sensika -

HappyGirlParklette3404November 11, 2014 – Big Sur Artist Erik Seniska, who passed away last week, touched many lives in the local food community.

He designed interiors of the Big Sur Bakery, Carmel Belle and Happy Girl Kitchen—in addition to creating a body of art work by combining found objects.

To pay tribute, friends are organizing a retrospective of his art at the INDY gallery in Sand City on November 21 from 5-9pm. The event will include a tribute dinner with food and drink from a collection of great local restaurants as people gather say goodbye.

Organizers Jordan and Todd Champagne, who own Happy Girl Kitchen and recently worked with the artist to design the parklet in front of their business, are pulling together as many of his works of art as … Read More

Chris Kimball isn’t everything you think he is. . . -

chriskimballNovember 11, 2014 – Persnickety. Nerdish. Opinionated. “America’s Test Kitchen” host Christopher Kimball is some of that. But he’s also charming, well-read, and much more culinarily hip than he makes himself out to be on the PBS series, where he represents Everyman in the kitchen. He asks his colleagues and co-stars questions he thinks viewers would ask if they were learning to cook. He’s bringing a live version of the show to the Sunset Center in Carmel on Wednesday, November 12.

The show is billed as a multimedia, interactive audience experience, with a tasting and some kitchen science experiments. Kimball also disclosed that it would include a clip of the time when he nearly burned down the Today Show kitchen, and the story of colleague Jack Bishop’s hilarious attempt to … Read More

Myka, Wargin Wines head to Carmel Valley -

544700_382495368494428_1058219430_nNovember 11, 2014 – Joining the migration of Santa Cruz County vintners heading south, three partners in the Watsonville Winemakers Studio are opening a tasting room in Carmel Valley.

“Santa Cruz is becoming more of a beer town and sales are really slow, so we’re going where the money is,” said Mica Raas, who owns Myka Cellars. Wargin Wines and Bunter Spring Winery will join him in a small tasting room next door to Talbott Vineyards, which they hope to open by December 1—pending permits. Watsonville’s Windy Oaks Winery recently opened a tasting room in Carmel and Odonata of Santa Cruz purchased the Marilyn Remark Winery on River Road last spring.

Raas, 32, says they plan to keep the Winemaker’s Studio in Watsonville open for the time being and see … Read More

Bonny Doon veteran impresses with own label -

1920517_1408973766027516_1525507702_nNovember 4, 2014 – Ser Wine Company may not be the easiest brand name to understand, but if you speak Spanish you know ser essentially means “to be.” It also means “to possess an intrinsic quality, expressing identity or origin.” That seems to be winemaker Nicole Walsh’s credo, as she seeks to present the very being or soul of each wine she crafts.

Nicole, who just released the first wines under her own label, has been making wine at Bonny Doon Vineyard for the past 14 years and knows a thing or two about taking a contrarian view, as well as perseverance. She hails from Saginaw, Michigan, where she was one of two students in the Viticulture and Enology department at Michigan State University. Graduating with honors in 1998, she … Read More