Charity never tasted so good

Charity never tasted so good
Heather Mactaggart, left, of Encinitas and Lauren Stockunas sample the madeira braised beef short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, horseradish crème fraiche and almonds gremolata from Poseidon’s Chef Mourad Jamal. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — Fine wines and food fused with philanthropy as culinary masters from more than a dozen local restaurants prepared signature dishes for the 19th annual Meet the Chefs of Del Mar, a fundraiser to benefit Casa de Amparo for abused and neglected children.

One of the youngest tasters is 10-month-old Anna Meredith, the granddaughter of Tracy Tracton, owner of Red Tracton’s. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

One of the youngest tasters is 10-month-old Anna Meredith, the granddaughter of Tracy Tracton, owner of Red Tracton’s. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

The April 26 event, held at Hilton Del Mar, featured samples from nearly every food group by chefs young and seasoned who hail from practically every corner of the world, including San Diego, San Francisco, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Morocco.

Some dishes, such as the tuna and salmon sashimi from Shimbashi Izakaya, required no cooking time.

Others like the smoked confit duck breast by Dolce Pane & Vino’s Anthony Ventura — perhaps the youngest chef at 24 years old, took a bit more effort.

The 20-hour cure, two-hour smoke and six-hour confit was well worth the time. Served with champagne-and-orange-soaked shaved fennel and a vanilla merlot reduction, it was one of the most popular dishes of the day.

Randy Gruber, chef and owner of Americana Restaurant, shows his 11-year-old son, Dylan, how to plate his grilled lamb chops with eggplant salad. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Randy Gruber, chef and owner of Americana Restaurant, shows his 11-year-old son, Dylan, how to plate his grilled lamb chops with eggplant salad. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Other favorites included achiote braised pork from Jake’s Del Mar, seared scallops on an edamame mash white soy emulsion from Harrah’s Resort and Ole Smokey Blackberry Moonshine from Hilton’s Coastal Kitchen.

Additional participating restaurants were Americana, Brigantine, Del Mar Rendezvous, Il Fornaio, Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar, Pacifica Del Mar, Poseidon, Red Tracton’s and Sbicca.

Pamplemousse Grille created the dessert buffet featuring a collection of confections that included crème brulees, dark and white chocolate truffles, fruit tartlets, mousse, cookies and artisan cheeses.

Beer and wine were provided by Stone Brewing Co., Young’s Market and Veedercrest.

Most of the restaurants also donated dinner packages for up to eight people that were sold in a live auction. The highest one, to Dolce Pane & Vino, went for $1,900. In a wine silent auction some bottles sold for more than $1,000.

Another silent auction offered a variety of items, including golf packages, passes to TV’s “Dr. Phil” show, vacation stays and a jersey signed by Antonia Gates of the San Diego Chargers.

About 300 people attended the event, which raises more than $100,000 annually. Attendees, who received a booklet with recipes for many of the dishes, described it as fun, awesome, fabulous and wonderful.

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