Chefs Culinary Creations Star of Slow Food Festival

The night before the June 21st Slow Food Festival hometown Chefs Shirley Lira will be peeling 76 tomatoes and a “crate” of cucumbers while nearby her husband, Jim Lira, will be shucking 100 ears of corn and seasoning 300 lamb ribs. Chef Robb “Rossi” of Pangaea Two Brews restaurant in Sacramento will be preparing 25 pounds of dry heirloom beans and hometown Chef Jenan Afaneh will be assembling 300 lamb and chicken kabobs. And that’s only a peek into the culinary activity prior to the festival.

Top row left to right: Chefs Wendy Adair, Jenan Afanch, Rachel Barrows and Jim Baumann Second row: Chefs Janet Blegan, George Burkhardt, Lous Bynoe and Sandi Jardine Third row: Chefs Jim Lira, Shirley Lira, Wendy Manfredonia and Sandra McCosker Bottom row: Gerald Norman, Beverly Ohanesian, Robb “Rossi” and Kathy Threlfall Not pictured: Chef Edwards and Trudy King

Top row left to right: Chefs Wendy Adair, Jenan Afanch, Rachel Barrows and Jim Baumann
Second row: Chefs Janet Blegan, George Burkhardt, Lous Bynoe and Sandi Jardine
Third row: Chefs Jim Lira, Shirley Lira, Wendy Manfredonia and Sandra McCosker
Bottom row: Gerald Norman, Beverly Ohanesian, Robb “Rossi” and Kathy Threlfall
Not pictured: Chef Edwards and Trudy King

The Slow Food Festival on June 21st is all about great, wholesome food from local providers and the cooks, hometown and professional, are definitely going to deliver. (And the wine will be excellent and plentiful too!)

Chef George Burkhardt’s appetizer will be lamb tacos with a feta, mint tzatziki sauce and a tomato cucumber relish. Chef Burkhardt trained at the Culinary Arts Institute of America and has, among others, worked at Domaine Chandon restaurant. He recently joined the kitchen at Sir Flairs Bar and Grill (formerly the Nines) in Trilogy. The Slow Food movement resonates with George, who participates in the event to meet people with similar ideas.

Hometown Chef Shirley Lira’s creation will be Spanish influenced gazpacho made with tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, green onions, garlic and a variety of spices then chilled for a refreshing cold soup. Shirley likes the Slow Food message, which is to break the fast food habit and emphasizes food cooked traditionally from scratch and enjoyed with family and friends.

Hometown Chef Jenan Afaneh will be hand assembling colorful lamb and chicken kabobs with a delicious Middle Eastern herb marinade and tender crisp vegetables. Jenan is a “slow foodie” because she likes knowing where her food comes from and how it is grown or raised. Jenan says, “kabob skewers, anyway you look at it, is food on stick – plain and simple. However, getting the skewers to be ‘perfect’ isn’t that easy!”

Hometown Chef Trudy King’s appetizer offering will be Zucchini Bites made with healthy fresh-from-the-garden zucchini, cheese and spices.

Hometown Chef Wendy Adair is still tinkering with her recipe for White Bean Crostini. Look for a heavenly melding of cannellini beans, basil and tomatoes with oodles of garlic on fresh toasted baguette.

Hometown Chef Kathy Threlfall will be throwing everything but the “kitchen sink” into her delicious and healthy kale salad and topping it off with a savory dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard.

Since 1991, Chef Louis Bynoe has specialized in the authentic tastes of the West Indies. Chef Bynoe’s entree will be Jamaican Curry Goat, a favorite of customers of his Breadfruit Tree Restaurant in Stockton.

Hometown Chef Gerald Norman has been a Slow Food Festival contributor since its conception. He’ll be bringing back his crowd favorite, barbequed beef brisket.

Twenty-five pounds of dried beans poses no threat to hometown Chef Rachel Barrows. Rachel will be slow cooking healthy and protein packed rosemary cannellini beans. Rachel and her husband Andy are active community volunteers who like the Slow Food message of healthy eating.

Chef Edwards of Chef Edwards Bar-B-Que will return again this year with his signature Piggly Wiggly Sliders.

Hometown Chef Wendy Manfredonia’s entree will be Chicken Vesuvio, an Italian-American specialty dish that originated in her hometown of Chicago. It is a mouthwatering savory marriage of chicken, potatoes, artichokes, wine, fresh herbs and butter. Wendy is new to Rio Vista and she’s excited to be involved in her new community. According to Wendy, “Farm to table cooking with the freshest ingredients makes every dish better! Slow Food rules over Fast Food!”

Chef Jim Baumann, former chef at The Point Restaurant in Rio Vista is well known in the area. Jim will be preparing a delicious endive salad and lamb appetizer. Jim’s expertise and culinary creativity is a great addition to the festival. When asked to prepare an amazing salad and appetizers for hundreds of people, his response was, “Sure, I’ll do it!”

Hometown Chef Beverly Ohanesian loves to cook “for masses of people.” In fact, Beverly was an early innovator with a catering truck in Fresno well before they became the rage. Her creations are rice pilaf and Armenian yalanchi – grape leaves stuffed with a delicious blend of rice, parsley, lemon and onions.

Hometown Chef Sandi Jardine brings her gluten free expertise to the Slow Food Festival, creating various gluten free desserts, summer salad, and BLT quinoa cup appetizers.

Speaking of “grand finales”… hometown Chefs Sandra McCosker and Janet Blegan will be offering the quintessential taste of summer – strawberry shortcakes.

Bon Appetit! Come to the Slow Food Festival on June 21st and enjoy the culinary contributions from this dynamic group of hometown and professional chefs. And don’t forget, fine wine, great entertainment, art, local food producers and vendors, and more.

Tickets for the Slow Food Festival are $25.00 and are available from the Slow Food Rio Vista web site at http://www.slowfoodriovista.org, online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/620291 or in town at Books Rio V, This N That, Pets 4 All, Galleria Bra Room and Brand You.

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