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BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Bakersfield is known for many things, including its love of the three F's: fundraisers, food and fun. Indulge those passions next week with a couple of annual events.
Hosting for the fourth year, Bakersfield College Foundation offers its Sterling Silver Dinner. The event is a culinary collaboration between the college's chef's brigade -- headed by chefs Pat Coyle, Suzanne Davis, Ray Ingram and Alex Gomez -- and William Bloxsom-Carter, executive chef of the Playboy Mansion West.
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 29
Where: Guild House, 1905 18th St.
Cost: $100 per person
Sterling Silver Dinner
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28
Where: Bakersfield College, John Collins Campus Center, 1801 Panorama Drive
Cost: $175 per person; $325 per couple; $1,000 for table of six
The event is "an all campus hands-on event," according to Hannah Egland, the foundation's donor relations coordinator.
"Not only is it our students fixing dinner and serving it. BC faculty member Kris Tiner is providing music (with the Kris Tiner Jazz Trio). The student government will provide students to shuttle people to and from the event to their cars. And ag leadership students help set up and tear down."
Dishes, from the opening reception through the five-course meal, are paired with a variety of wines from around the state: Mumm Napa, Ortman Family Wines, Scott Family Estate, Merryvale, Starmont and Ficklin Vineyards. Highlighting a variety of vineyards, which donated or offered the wine at a discounted rate, is a new feature this year.
Also new this year is a photo booth, allowing guests to commemorate the evening.
Speaking of photos, the event's silent auction will feature the works of Californian photographers Casey Christie and Felix Adamo as well as John Harte, BC instructor and former Californian photographer.
Other items up for bid include orchids from BC's horticulture department; a wine tasting in the caves of Eberly Winery in Paso Robles; and a Valentine's Day package set to include dinner at the Bell Tower Club, vehicle rental from Motor City Buick GMC (an event silver sponsor, along with the family of Don and Diane Lake) and possibly a night's stay at the Padre Hotel.
A signature item being auctioned again this year is a private dinner for 10, held at a location, usually a home, selected by the auction winner.
The menu is planned by chef Coyle with wines selected by foundation executive director Mike Stepanovich.
Tempting guests to bid on the dinner, the night's menu includes starters such as roasted New Zealand lamb chop "lollipops" with lemongrass-mint glaze, Dungeness crab cake bouchÃ©e with creme fraiche and Tobiko caviar and Cambozola cheese tartlet with tomato chutney and garlic flower.
The five-course meal features pan-seared Norwegian ocean trout on a bed of risotto; osso bucco "Milanese"; cheese course with Shaft's aged bleu vein cheese, toasted Marcona almonds, and wine-infused fruit; and "a study in chocolate": flourless espresso chocolate torte, hazelnut-Gianduja tartlet, and white chocolate coeur a la creme.
To expedite service, the guest limit will cap at around 150 (120 people attended last year).
As of Wednesday, Egland said that there were at least 50 seats left, but potential guests should call soon.
The Guild House is also keeping things intimate for its Affaire Extraordinaire. The thrice-annual event plays up the community's bounty with its Taste of Kern County theme.
"We're going all local, trying to focus on local companies that people know," said Robin Starr, publicity chairwoman and past Guild House president.
To that end, the menu features local items such as almonds, pistachios, citrus fruit, baby carrots, potatoes and Pyrenees bread, some donated by "friends of the Guild House."
Guests will be greeted with champagne, then seated at tables decorated with grapes and Wasco roses (along with pickled tongue and Dewar's chews).
The menu consists of a Guild House-style Basque soup, Pyrenees herbed garlic bread, citrus medley salad with pistachios, beef tenderloin with a Gorgonzola sauce with fanned baked potatoes and baby carrots, finished off with chocolate chip ice cream cake, featuring Dewar's ice cream sprinkled with almonds.
(Although Kern County is also well-known for tomatoes and melons, organizers kept those off the menu as the fruits aren't in season.)
The $100 dinner, which benefits the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic, is a bargain for a good cause, Starr said.
"It includes dinner, wine, tax and gratuity. Everything is included. That's what I like about these dinners. Compare that to other places in town. I think that's a pretty good deal."
A choice of red or white wine will be offered, although Starr said she was still trying to source local wines.
"I'm looking for Kern County wines. I know there are a lot of people in Kern County who drink wine."
Starr encourages football fans to take advantage of the event, thoughtfully planned the week before the Super Bowl.
For those who can't make the event, there will be another fundraiser on April 22 to close out the fiscal year.
Starr said those interested in attending should call the Guild House at 325-5478 for reservations. Pair of sumptuous fundraisers are musts on culinary calendar