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This past weekend I was lucky enough to be a part of a wonderful event on a private beach just north of Santa Cruz. I along with my good friend Kim Alter of Haven Restaurant in Jack London Square co-cheffed at Outstanding in the Field. The event took place at Secret Cove Beach just north of Santa Cruz. It is a fun event for us because we are asked to cook over only an open flame, without running water or electricity. It is quite a challenge and one that completely removes us from our comfort zones. 

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The guests arrived and were served a few passed appetizer while they sipped some tasty wines from Mick Unti of Unti vineyards. There were 160 guests all together and they were seated one, long, beautiful table just along the waters edge. Among them were Mary and Brian, Alicia and Marissa (of The Makery and The Botanist), and some of Brian’s family.

We started with a corn and tomato salad. The corn was taken off the cob, juiced, and cooked until it thickened slightly. Resting on the corn were sliced cherry and heirloom variety tomatoes dressed lightly in a balsamic vinaigrette. It was topped with smoked ricotta cheese, basil and almond pesto, and pumpernickel croutons.

Second course was charred watermelon and Monterey squid with shiso and watermelon vinaigrette.

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The entree was some beautifully grilled salmon from just south of Santa Cruz. It sat upon some potatoes from Roscoe Zuckerman’s farm that were roasted over the fire and dressed with a miso garlic butter.

For dessert, bay leaf mousse with macerated cherries and strawberries and black pepper shortbread.

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We had a great time and can’t wait to do another dinner next year, just make sure you are able to join us!

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