Laurie Jervis: The Santa Barbara dining experience returns this month with events across the city | Living & Lifestyle – Advice Eating

Famed French chef Julia Child was loved – and loved – by her Santa Barbara community.

She became an unofficial ambassador for the city, promoting its chefs and winemakers. As a tribute to Child, the community is once again celebrating her legacy with the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Postponed in 2020 and restricted in 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event returns in-person May 16-22 with multiple events at multiple Santa Barbara venues.

Coinciding with SBCE is Santa Barbara’s Restaurant Week, special screenings, cooking classes, wine and food pairings and more.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

On May 20 at 7:00 pm, Oscar-nominated directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen will host a screening of the documentary “Julia” at the Garvin Theater on the Santa Barbara City College campus.

Legendary chef Julia Child is the inspiration behind this month's culinary event in Santa Barbara.
Click to enlarge

Legendary chef Julia Child is the inspiration behind this month’s culinary event in Santa Barbara. (Photo courtesy)

The demonstration will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Todd Schulkin, executive director of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts and host of the Inside Julia’s Kitchen podcast.

Directors Cohen and West are known for documenting the lives of groundbreaking women, like their Oscar-nominated film RBG.

Held over several days, The Taste of Santa Barbara will focus on the city’s restaurants and wineries, highlighting 10 of the county’s dining destinations.

All participating restaurants offer fixed price menus for US$30, US$40 or US$50. A list of participating restaurants can be found here:

A panel entitled “Rebuilding Our Food System” will be held at the Garvin Theater on May 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guests are invited to learn from local, national and global leaders addressing the most pressing food-related challenges and how local and community-led collective action is building a more sustainable, resilient food system in Santa Barbara and beyond can build.

Join Shakira Miracle, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network; US Congressman Salud Carbajal; Danielle Kidney Mountain, President of Food Tank; and a panel of regional food system changemakers.

The panelists are Sarah Koyo, Chumash and Tohono O’odham; Songkeeper from Šmuwič; Stefan Selbert, Superintendent, Las Cumbres Ranch; Melissa Sorongon, owner/farmer, Piedrasassi Wine & Bread; and Jessica Vieira, Senior Director of Sustainability, Apeel Sciences

The Taste of Santa Barbara will be held on May 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The event will feature interactive tastings and panel discussions with 15 wineries from across Santa Barbara County. Light snacks are also provided.

Santa Ynez Valley restaurant owners are celebrated at Burbank Fundraiser

The founders of two popular Santa Ynez Valley restaurants will be Honorary Chairs of CA Winemasters at their 33rd annual Burbank culinary extravaganza.

Now based primarily in Santa Ynez, Mike and Kathie Gordon founded SY Kitchen in Santa Ynez and more recently Nella Kitchen & Bar in Los Olivos. They are co-founders of Toscana in Brentwood, which opened its doors more than three decades ago.

The Gordons are recognized for more than 30 years in the California restaurant business and celebrated at the Winemaster’s annual wine and food event. The evening will benefit an organization dear to the couple, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14 and will be held at Warner Bros. Studios, Gate 7, Forest Lawn Drive, Burbank. Featuring more than 50 international chefs, 75 of California’s wineries and hundreds of silent and live auction items.

Kathie and Mike Gordon, owners of SY Kitchen and Nella Kitchen, will be honored by CA Winemasters at an annual event in Burbank this month.
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Kathie and Mike Gordon, owners of SY Kitchen and Nella Kitchen, will be honored by CA Winemasters at an annual event in Burbank this month. (Photo courtesy)

All of Toscana Restaurant Group’s chefs will offer some of their most popular specialties, as will long-time “family member” Roberto Facciolla, General Manager and Partner of Toscana and Bar Toscana.

In addition to Facciolla, participating chefs include Michele Lisi, Nerano & BG Lounge; Luca Crestanelli, SY Kitchen and Nella Kitchen & Bar; Justino Quirino, Bar Toscana; and Miquel Martinez, Tuscany Brentwood.

Over the past few years, the event has raised more than $34 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, whose mission is to cure CF and enable all people living with the disease to live fuller lives, by funding research and drug development and promoting specialized care.

In the mid-1980s, Mike Gordon received a life-changing birthday present: a day with the legendary Wolfgang Puck, who taught Gordon how to find the freshest ingredients at farmers’ markets and create recipes that take diners to the next level. Armed with a notepad and camera, the Gordons rented a villa in Greve in Chianti, Italy, and immersed themselves in the Tuscan way of life.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, Mike amassed the skills and connections he had honed as an entertainment business executive, while Kathie, an award-winning author and veteran landscape architect, immersed himself in the rigors of restaurant development at UCLA and the endurance she has as a marathon runner won to lay the foundations necessary to make her dream come true.

The Gordons teamed up with their dear friend Doc Severinsen and in 1989 Toscana opened on a corner in Brentwood where a pharmacy once stood.

Recognizing the importance of education and gap funding, Mike Gordon also co-founded the Gordon-Brown Fellowship. He has partnered with educator Maynard Brown to start a nonprofit organization that provides college financial aid, mentorship, and internships to high school graduates in downtown Los Angeles.

– Laurie Jervis tweets at @lauriejervis and accessible via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are their own.

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