Pouring for Prosperity
Locals converge at culinary event
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 19:05
The fifth annual Food and Wine Event offered a tasteful experience for students, faculty and community members in the Gymnasium on Sunday.
Supporting the culinary arts department, more than 40 Bay Area restaurants and wineries provided samples of their signature dishes to people who came to the event.
“It’s great to see people of all ages coming and the food is great,” nurse practitioner Janet Elder said. “There were so many different choices. After two glasses of wine, you’d forget all the names but they’re all so good.”
Interim President Dan Henry enjoyed mussels from The Powder Keg, shrimp cakes from Yankee Pier and the tostaditas from La Revolucion.
“I heard about (the event) from other people. This is my first time coming,” Henry said. “The food and wine are great. It’s fun to see people from the college in a fun, casual setting.”
Proceeds go to benefit the culinary arts scholarship program, aiding students to study abroad in Italy for the summer.
“We’re trying to change their lives. Some students haven’t even been to San Francisco or ridden on BART,” culinary arts department Chairperson Nader Sharkes said. “By taking them abroad, it’ll hopefully touch them.”
With the amount of help from the community, the culinary arts department was able to earn an estimate of $40,000 from the event.
Silent and live auctions and a “tree of abundance” were also held during the event to fundraise for the scholarship.
“The tree of abundance is where we get people to donate. They pay $25 and they pick a number off the tree and there’s a corresponding bag to come with it,” culinary student Tonja Patrick said.
Each bag contained different sets of donated items. Most bags had a bottle of wine, a cookbook, sauces and sausages.
The auctions had items including gift baskets, table sets, tours of wineries, a sushi class and a dinner made for 10 people cooked by Sharkes and his students.
Community member Rachele Sullivan won the bid for the “Table by the Sea” dinnerware, cake and a wine glass from the live auction.
Sullivan said it was nice to see the multiple exhibitors supporting the school and she enjoyed being able to taste what they had to offer.
“For the price you pay, it’s really worth your time and money,” she said.
A majority of the items in the auctions, food and wine were all donations from people, local restaurants and wineries.
Steve Sterling, vice president of marketing and sales for Esterlina Vineyards, said the event had great energy. With the culinary students participating, the vendors tried getting them excited to go into the industry.
“They’re the future of the culinary arts,” Sterling said.
Culinary students provided assistance to the vendors as people explored the variety of food offered.
“They were all really gracious. I didn’t even ask for help, but they came to help me out,” Sterling Albert Winery Sales Manager Richard Turner said.
Culinary students were sent out to ask local restaurants and wineries to participate.
Sterling Albert Winery was one of the many new vendors to be involved.
Culinary student Jason Walter said the event helps the students build connections with different restaurants, businesses and wineries in the industry.
“It’s good to get to know other restaurant owners,” Patrick said. “Turnover rate is high so it’s good to get your name out there and to build a reputation.”
Sharkes said the department sent emails, made phone calls and sent out students to venues asking for donations while seeking new vendors.
They also have an advisory committee who participated and helped them with the wineries.
They were fortunate enough to get Bay Area restaurant critic Narsai David and CBS 5 morning anchor Frank Mallicort to come to the event. By having them there, it gives credibility to the event, he said.
“Having restaurants and wineries come out to help out our students shows the community really supports the school and the culinary arts program,” former college president McKinley Williams said.
“(The students) make the school proud. This is one of the best events in the county. It’s great for the school to be sponsoring it.”