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Monday, September 15, 2014

Girls Inc of Alameda County Fundraiser Dinner

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:04 PM

click to enlarge Chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros's lamb birria. - SAMANTHA GREENLEE
  • Samantha Greenlee
  • Chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros's lamb birria.

Girls Inc. is a nonprofit that helps girls in underserved, high-risk communities  by providing developmental programs in various areas such as leadership, health and fitness, academic achievement, positive risk-taking, and more. Last Saturday, the nonprofit’s Alameda County chapter hosted a fundraiser event called Taste.

More than 400 people attended a four-course dinner prepared by an all-star lineup of inspiring East Bay female chefs that included Kim Alter from the Daniel Patterson Group, Dominca Rice-Cisneros from Cosecha, Preeti Mistry from Juhu Beach Club, Sophina Uong from Picán, and ten others. 

The chefs formed three “teams” and dished out three different four-course dinners, creating a sort of tasting menu from the East Bay's finest female chefs. I was seated at a table in the “Team Rice” section, and it was delicious. The dinner started with a duo of smoked chicken and pork rillettes from Lungomare’s Tracey Belock, which came with two pieces of crispy, crunchy chicken chicharrones that played the role of a crostini and was a much-welcomed substitute. 

The next dish was an albacore escabeche from Sarah Kirnon of Miss Ollie’s, a Caribbean soul restaurant in Oakland. Albacore was gently poached in olive oil and topped in an acidic dressing that helped balanced the richness. The addition of pickled vegetables and crunchy fried plantain chips added the perfect textural contrast to the soft fish. The main course (and my favorite of the night) was the Jalisco-style lamb birria from Chef Rice herself. It was slowly braised in a spicy, smoky guajillo- and ancho- chile based broth until fork-tender. The addition of chickpeas added a bit of density to the dish. The meal ended with a fruit-forward coconut cake from Katherine Toy of Flora, which was served with pineapple curd and candied orange zest. 

In all, the event raised over $300,000, all of which went towards supporting the programs of Girls Inc of Alameda County. Doing good certainly can taste good.
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Omar Mamoon

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