Tuesday, March 11, 2014

San Diego Celebrity Chefs Holding Chefs Table to Raise Funds for Neighborhood House Association

No procrastinating--it's time to get your tickets for a very cool and unusual event being held on March 23 to raise funds for the Neighborhood House Association and help them celebrate 100 years of service.

This Sunday afternoon event at the NHA Central Kitchen, Javier Plascenaia (Mision 19), Bernard Guillas (The Marine Room), Andrew Spurgin (Andrew Spurgin Bespoke Event Styling & Menu Design), Deborah Scott (Cohn Restaurant Group), and Chad White (Plancha Baja Med) will each teach a healthy cooking class, demonstrating some stunning recipes.

Along with these chefs and their businesses, there will be a host of restaurants and caterers creating even more dishes to sample. They include:

Bub's @ The Ballpark
Crown Point Catering
Culinary Concepts
Felix's BBQ with Soul
Festivities Catering and Special Events
The Blind Burro
The Wild Thyme Company

Luis Gonzalez, NHA's director of community affairs, says that the upcoming NHA Chef Table and Demonstration is one of five different events celebrating this centennial. "The agency provides services to approximately 24,000 families each year and relies on fundraising efforts to help cover a close to $700,000 deficit for its social service programs," he explains.

In fact, NHA helps thousands of individuals and families through a network of 12 programs in more than 120 locations around San Diego County.

Funds from this event will support the agency mission and its services, but it will also highlight the organization's award-winning child nutrition and education program. What award? Well, the agency has been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Let's Move Initiative for its efforts in fighting childhood obesity and its approach to building healthy families. In fact, the event will feature menu items from the NHA Nutrition Program.

"I'm doing this event because I was completely blown away by the fact that they feed so many underprivileged children and seniors on a daily basis--4,000 to 6,000 a day Monday through Friday--staggering!," says Spurgin. "And, yet, they've been totally under the radar. We're hoping to give them a little assist."

General admission tickets are $55 and limited VIP tickets that give holders valet parking, time with the chefs, special gifts, and early access to food stations are $100. You can purchase them online on the organization's website.

Chef's Table will be held at the NHA Central Kitchen at 1029 Hancock St. in central San Diego. VIP admission begins at 1 p.m. General admission begins at 2 p.m. and the event will take place until 6 p.m.

Want a taste of what's to come? Here's what Andrew Spurgin will be creating at the event:

Photo courtesy of Andrew Spurgin

Cauliflower Soup, Sheep Milk Yogurt, and Upland Cress
Andrew Spurgin
(printable recipe)

Serves four


Parmesan Crumb
¼ stick of organic butter
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup great quality Parmesan, medium grated
Maldon sea salt

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted until golden
2 heads organic cauliflower
White pepper
Maldon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 6-ounce container Bellwether Farms sheep’s milk plain yogurt*
Chile flakes
1 lemon
1 bunch of upland cress
 Extra virgin olive oil


Parmesan Crumb 
• Melt butter in sauté pan
• Add panko, stir, and toast until golden
• Remove from heat and gently fold in Parmesan
• Taste; you may need a touch of sea salt

• Turn oven to broil
• In a large pot bring salted water to a boil
• You’ll need 14 each ¼” thick slices of cauliflower, approximately 1” in diameter. Lightly toss with olive oil and sea salt, pop under broiler until deep brown and slightly caramelized. Reserve.
• Remove stalk from cauliflowers. Cut the rest of the florets apart and place in boiling water. Cook until just soft but cooked thoroughly through. Remove (keep the water). Important: you want just enough water to cover the cauliflower.
• Place HOT cooked cauliflower in blender and add just enough HOT cooking water to make into a soup consistency. Blend until ultra smooth. Taste, season with sea salt, nutmeg and white pepper, blend, taste, and adjust as desired.

In warmed soup plates pour cauliflower soup, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and stir in. Top with a layer of the sheep’s milk yogurt to cover (you MAY need to thin slightly with milk for correct consistency). Sprinkle with Parmesan crumb. Arrange three toasted cauliflower slices in center of the plate, garnish with some of the pine nuts, just a few chile flakes and a sprig of watercress, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and serve. Great with a slice of grilled bread!

This soup can also be chilled and assembled for a summer’s nosh.

*Available at Whole Foods

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