Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, photo by Coast Photography.

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, photo by Coast Photography.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

If your ideal weekend involves food, wine and philanthropy in a beautiful setting, then the 4th Annual Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend April 7-9 at the Bacara Resort & Spa is the spring event for you.

Sponsored by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, this three-day weekend features a dazzling array of culinary celebrities and wine wunderkinds and pays tribute to the late Julia Child. Among the featured rock stars are wine pioneer Richard SanfordChef Nancy Silverton, and Child’s Great-Nephew, author Alex Prud’homme.

Some of the weekend highlights include:

Richard Sanford hosts a "Celebration of Santa Rita Hills" dinner as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Richard Sanford hosts a “Celebration of Santa Rita Hills” dinner as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

“Celebration of the Santa Rita Hills” Dinner on Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
This year’s Grand Dinner features wine pioneer Richard Sanford as the guide for a “Celebration of the Santa Rita Hills.” The evening traces the evolution of this unique Santa Barbara appellation, founded by Sanford, as eight wines from four Santa Rita Hills wineries will be paired with a special four-course menu created by Bacara’s Executive Chef Vincent Lesage.

Featured Wineries & Guests include hosts Thekla and Richard Sanford, along with Jeanette and Nick de Luca, from Alma Rosa Winery; Diana and Rick Longoria, from Longoria Winery; Sonja Magdevski and Greg Brewer, from Brewer Clifton and Diatom Wineries; and Justin Willett and Mandy Willett, from Tyler Winery.

Santa Barbara Vintners’ Wine Reception with Chef Nancy Silverton on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m.
Join celebrated Los Angeles chef and multiple James Beard Award-winner, Nancy Silverton, and the Santa Barbara Vintners Association for a magical evening of tastes and sips. The Bacara’s ocean view Angel Oak restaurant makes a glorious setting for this extensive wine tasting reception featuring local wines and a specially curated menu by the talented Chef Silverton.

Scratch Kitchen's Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee will do a cooking demonstration as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Scratch Kitchen’s Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee will do a cooking demonstration as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Cooking Demonstration with Scratch Bar & Kitchen on Saturday, April 8 at 10:15 a.m.
Join the husband and wife duo behind the new Scratch Bar Montecito coming to Montecito Inn later this year, Executive Chefs and Owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee. Experience how their collaboration in the kitchen has inspired the menu for their award winning restaurant and sample a preview of their latest Santa Barbara installment. Philip was named “Best Young Chef in America” by San Pellegrino and holds the record with The Food Network for Most Consecutive Wins, beating out the competition on Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen. A few of Margarita’s accolades include Zagat’s “30 Under 30” and being nominated for the Young Gun award.

Craft Brewer’s Garden on Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m.

The Bacara’s lush Ocean Lawn hosts tastings of craft cider, mead, beer, kombucha, spirits and cocktails—all produced locally. With your tasting you’ll have the opportunity to meet the talented brewers and mixologists to discover what makes their delicious libations unique. In between sips, savor bites of the specially-made culinary pairings. To complete the experience, live music by Rent Party Blues will entertain and enchant.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, click here.

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking.  Headquartered here in Santa Barbara, the Foundation is a nonprofit which makes grants to support research in culinary history, scholarships for professional culinary training, internships in food writing as well as professional development and food literacy programs.

Hope to see you there! Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 31, 2017.

CALM’s 22nd Annual Celebrity Author’s Luncheon

CALM-logoCALM’s (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) 22nd Annual Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon last weekend was, as always, a rousing success, thanks in large part to the dynamic duo of Sharon Bifano and Stephanie Ortale, who have co-chaired the event every year since its inception in 1987.

Board president Meredith Scott gave a lovely tribute to retiring executive director Anna M. Kokotovic, PhD. That, along with a moving video presentation produced by Surf Media Communications, brought the work that CALM does in the community to the forefront of the luncheon–to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse by providing comprehensive, services for children and their families–inspiring the approximately 500 supporters at the luncheon to dig deep into their pockets to help abused children.

Retired KEYT anchor Debby Davison and Borders Books’ Kate Schwab interviewed an interesting panel of authors: Lisa See (Peony in Love), Andrew Klavan (Damnation Street), Deborah Rodriguez (Kabul Beauty School) and Gary David Goldberg (Sit, Ubu, Sit).

See’s book follows the lives of two young Chinese women in remote 19th century China. Her comparison of the tortures of female foot binding to the “plastic boobs” of today’s women (“they’re both painful things done to women as status symbols for men”) had the mostly female crowd in stitches.

When asked about the vivid characters he creates, Klavan said, “I really enjoy the fact that people are immensely different.” Another vivid character was Rodriguez herself, a hairdresser from Michigan who went to Afghanistan as a relief worker and ended up training Afghan women to do modern beauty treatments. “I mean Taliban are but this perm was really bad too,” said Rodriguez, describing the woman who inspired her to start the Kabul Beauty School.

“I couldn’t believe that you could make a living doing what I got to do,” said (Family Ties and (Spin City creator Goldberg, who spoke about writing a memoir about his life as a television writer/producer.

They joined the ranks of more than 70 authors interviewed over the years, including Sue Grafton, Jane Russell, Barnaby Conrad, Michael Crichton, Julia Child, Ray Bradbury, Fanny Flagg, Maria Shriver and Jonathan Winters.

In addition to purchasing books by the interviewed authors (with a portion of the proceeds going to CALM), authors Mindy Bingham, Polly Bookwalter, Joe Bruzzese, Jack Canfield, Kathryn Cushman, William Davis, Karen Finell, David Gersh, Beverly Jackson, Susan Jorgensen, Jennie Nash, Katie Nuanes, Sissy Taran and Flavia Weedn were also on hand to sign books and donate part of the proceeds to CALM.

For more information about CALM, visit

Originally published in Noozhawk on March 12, 2008.