Photo credit: Minaret Photography, Brandon Russell
Maya Weinhart, Executive Director of the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, is thrilled to report a successful Mammoth Food & Wine Experience this past weekend. The second annual fundraising event benefiting the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and Mammoth Schools NOW Foundation saw each aspect of the two-day event’s festivities sold out. “We are still tallying the figures, but we are ahead of last year’s numbers,” stated Weinhart. There were more than 400 people at the Saturday evening Grand Tasting Event in the beautifully decorated tent on the MLF’s grounds across from Cerro Coso College. Guests enjoyed exceptional food prepared by five culinary teams, 120+ wines poured by over 30 wineries, while they listened to music provided by Chamber Music Unbound; participated in an energetic live auction by Tom Cage and Doug Filipponi of Ancient Peaks Winery, and danced to the entertaining Blue Brothers Tribute.
This year there were again five teams preparing the tasty treats for the Great Outdoor Cooking Competition, but the plan was adjusted a bit from last year to make an even greater impact in the area of education. This year there was one team of professional chefs—the “Dream Team” made up of chefs who all got their start at Wolfgang Puck’s Eureka Restaurant. The other four teams consisted of culinary student teams from Le Cordon Bleu Sacramento, Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco (whose student, Simonette Layog-Do, made all the tasty gourmet cookies that were on the dessert plates at the Grand Tasting tables); Le Cordon Bleu Los Angeles (whose team came in second); and Bakersfield College Culinary Program Students, led by Chef Suzanne Davis, who repeated as the People’s Choice Champions with their dish of Shrimp with Mint and Cilantro Pesto.
“This was the biggest event that MLF has ever put on and will certainly grow again next year, commented Weinhart. “We had well over 400 people in the grand tasting and cooking competition and turned away another 50-100 people. The attendees were blown away by the quality of food, wine, seminars and entertainment. We hosted 13-educational seminars and all were sold out. We had a student-chef symposium with about 40 people in attendance and I think it was a real eye opener for the students as to where their careers can go in the future.”
“We extend a huge thank you to all the wineries who poured at the event,” added Weinhart. We had more wineries and more activities this year and the participating wineries stepped up. In addition to the Grand Tasting event many poured at multiple activities; there were five different Friday evening events including the Wine Walk in the Village and the seminars over the two days.”
Congratulations to the grand prize raffle winners, Albert and Lilley Miller, who won a trip to Napa with two nights at the Westin Verasa donated by the Westin Hotel Group, and complimentary wine tastings and tours at: T-Vine Cellars; Outpost Estate Wines; MA(i)SONRY Napa Valley; Regusci’s Historic 1870s Winery; Gundlach Bundschu Winery, and St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery, all coordinated by Chef Richard Haake of Napa who also presented a seminar.
Volunteers, Mammoth Lakes Foundation Scholarship students, guests, supporters, and staff all helped to make the Mammoth Food & Wine Experience a success. It is through the efforts of friends like these, staff, and supporters, that the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and Mammoth NOW Education Foundation are able to continue to support education and the arts.
“We also take this public opportunity to again thank all the sponsors that participated in making the second year of this major a success,” stated Weinhart. “It is through the support of these members of the community, far and wide, that it is possible for us to see a maximum return on this event, still in its infancy. Our sponsors help us continue to grow and expand, engage the larger Mammoth community and provide benefits to arts and education throughout the year.”
All proceeds from the Mammoth Food & Wine Experience support education and the arts through a partnership between the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and the Mammoth Schools NOW Education Foundation; for more information visit www.mammothlakesfoundation.org.