It was an afternoon for foodies, families, and fun! Sunny skies, fresh mountain air, and guests with joie de vivre were a terrific combo for the first summer Sunday after Memorial Day.
The 33rd Annual Picnic des Chefs, benefiting the Concern Foundation for Cancer Research and Hope Program at Children’s Hospital, was held at Vasa Park in the Agoura Hills. The theme: Taste of the Club Culinaire. Knowing we weren’t very far from Malibu made this even more special!
Like many great culinary traditions, picnicking comes to us from the French, who were having “pique-niques” at least as far back as 1692. Originally, a picnic was an outdoor potluck, an informal feast to which each guest brought a dish.
Most sophisticated food and wine tastings exclude the little ones. Not this one. The kid-friendly environment provided a moon-bounce paradise with heated swimming pool, rock climbing wall, drawing competition, and games. Adults could take a shot as petanque, soccer, volleyball, and badminton. Many preferred tasting the cuisine paired with French wines and even hit the dance floor.
Chef Bruno Morin (from Chef Privee) whipped up his Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast cooked in Rotisol with Mesclun salad. Another chef, Olivier Rousselle (Luxe Hotel) presented Moroccan Lamb Slides with Salade Mechouia (tomato and roasted pepper salad). Chef Kimmy Tang (9021 Pho) made crispy fish with French Spicy Aioli and Vietnamese House Chicken Salad.
Other chefs included: Paul Rosenbluh (Firefly Bistro), Alain Gilot (Four Seasons Pastry), Agnes Martinez (French Market Café), Berty Siegels (Chef Privee), Josie LeBalch (Josie Restaurant), Michel Blanchet (Michel Cordon Bleu), Sebastien Espinasse (Fabrique Delices), Marius Blin (Sofitel), Yvan Valentin (Sweet Temptations), Thomas Sandi (Tartine O Chocolat), Florent Marneau (Marche Moderne), and Xiomara Ardolina (Xiomara).
There was a silent auction and a raffle, with la crème de la crème, two round trip tickets from Air Tahiti Nui to either Paris or Tahiti, three nights at Villa Deevena in Playa Negra, Costa Rica, and dinners at Bistro de la Gare, Le Cordon Bleu, Church and State, Le Petit Chateau, La Chene and 9021 Pho, Jazz Brunch at Luxe Hotel, as well as wine tastings, cooking lessons, and even a massage at Sofitel.
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. He work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, as well as on broadcasts and the web. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.