Recently we catered a dinner at the Sanford Winery in the West Barrel Room. The dinner was for the musical group Camarata Pacifica and the dinner was preceded by a wine tasting and a concert, all overlooking the winery estate.
The Camarata Pacifica is a musical ensemble dedicated to performing modern and classic chamber music. Camerata Pacifica programs revolve around a core of principal musicians: Adrian Spence, Nicholas Daniel, Jose Franch-Ballester, John Steinmetz, Richard Yongjae O’Neill, Ani Aznavoorian, Ji Hye Jung, and Warren Jones. These artists bring incredible depth, skill and passion to their work, energizing and re-energizing both standard and new repertoire.
The principals are joined for most programs by a stellar roster of guest artists from all over the world. Many of these guests have been with Camerata Pacifica for years, but each season brings new faces as well.
The performers used the "kitchen" area for their green room and the violinist Teresa Sanislav asked if I minded her warming up amongst the wine barrels. Unknow to me at the time, she is one of the stars in the Southern California musical world. I half jokingly requested a Bach Partita. Moments later between barrels of pinot noir the haunting phrases echoed around the cavernous room.
At a recent performance of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Teresa was action concert mistress. Great talent!
The dinner went off flawlessly. Like music, timing was critical as the first course was a risotto and like soufflés, it does not like to linger. We had a choice of main course. The Salmon Soufflé “Auberge de l’Isle” hales from the Auberge d'Lill in France and is one of their classics. The dish is basically a salmon fillet topped with a mousseline and sauced with a lobster bisque. The Pavé of Beef Le Gavroche is a riff on a dish we did at Le Gavroche in London. The original recipe hailed from chef Carême and used a ribeye steak. I used boneless shortribs instead. Dinner finished with my pastry-chef wife's Dutch Apple Pie with a streusel topping. The winery did a great job paring the wines with the dinner. Given the location of the dinner in the barrel room, we were in no danger of running out of wine!