Friday, May 17, 2024

The TOSB Soirée


I profiled three of the chefs taking parting the Taste of Santa Barbara Soirée for the Independent. I will include the first paragraph of each quickie, but if you want to read the whole thing, you can do so at the Indy's site.

Sandra Adu Zelli

Those attending the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience Taste of Santa Barbara Soirée will be able to indulge in three desserts prepared by Chef Sandra Adu Zelli, owner of Gipsy Hill Bakery. One of them, the decadent chocolate cake known as Reine de Saba, Zelli has been baking for almost two decades. The funny thing is, when she started, she didn’t know it was famously associated with Julia Child.

Sergei Simonov

A flair for the dramatic is simply part of Chef Sergei Simonov’s skill set, as anyone who saw him manipulate his way through Netflix’s Pressure Cooker series — Lord of the Flies meets TV cooking competition — knows. So it’s little surprise that, for the Santa Barbara Soirée, he will be live-cooking paella de mariscos, a signature dish during his run as Loquita’s executive chef. Guests can expect sizzle and fire in addition to grilled bay scallops, Prince Edward Island mussels, wild jumbo gulf prawns, black garlic sofrito, shiso, and saffron aioli.

Alex Bollinger

Turns out you can go home again — twice — if you’re Executive Chef Alex Bollinger at El Encanto. The Santa Barbara native had a plan early on; he remembers writing in his 6th-grade yearbook that in 10 years, he would be in Europe training to be a professional chef. He ended up traveling the world, cooking under esteemed chefs from Charlie Palmer to Tyler Florence, only to return to be the opening chef at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Angel Oak. From there, he ran F&B for the Alida Hotel resort in Savannah, Georgia, until El Encanto called him home a second time.

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