Wine and Dine
The rotunda at the Hilton was jammed when the 38th Taste of the Town threw its 10th annual Connoisseurs’ Circle gala, co-chaired by Lori Farnsworth and John O’Neill, for 213 foodies and wine lovers 48 hours before its popular Riviera epicurean festival with a tidal wave of restaurateurs, caterers, winemakers, and breweries serving samples of their wares.
Between them the two events were expected to raise around $190,000 for the Arthritis Foundation.
A number of awards were also handed out with Vintner of the Year going to Courtney Foley of the Foley Food and Wine Society, the Culinary Lead Chef honor to Mossin Sugich, the Hilton’s executive chef, and the inaugural Arthur Kvass Legend award – named in honor of Kvass, who died earlier this year one month shy of his 100th birthday – which went to Cottage Health.
After feasting on a summer peach appetizer of Devonshire cream, candied pistachio, truffle honey and prosciutto de Parma, the gourmands dined on sea urchin bisque with black garlic creme fraiche, Sumac roasted New York strip loin, wrapping the meal with strawberry panna cotta with rosewater whipped cream.
An auction with gavel guru Mark Drilling followed, with a Sunset Kidd wine cruise, a Santa Barbara Zoo penguin encounter ,a Riviera dream dinner at the home of bon vivant Christopher Lancashire and fashion designer Catherine Gee with local chefs Josh Brown, David Rosner, Steven Giles and O’Neill, founder and owner of Elements, and a painting of Miramar Beach by local artist Chris Potter.
Among the guests enjoying the culinary cavalcade were Michael Wiesbrock, Chris and Mindy Denson, Richard Yates, Tina Takaya, George Leis, Renaud Gonthier, Amye Leong, Bob Price, Dario Furlati, Lisa Parsons, and Bonnie Carroll.