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That's Entertainment : Watch TV chef Alton Brown dive with sharks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium next Saturday!

Dish

Alton Brown at the Aquarium, biodynamics at Bonny Doon and wine-tasting with Tabitha Stroup and Melissa Schilling of Praise Cheeses Pass the Wine.

By Amber Turpin


POLITICAL PLEASURES
If there is one food and wine event worth doling out some cash for, it is surely the Cooking for Solutions gala held within the magical after-hours halls of the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Friday, May 16. Celebrity chefs from around the world and more than 55 vintners offer a mind-blowing array of comestibles, all sustainably sourced with a shared philosophy of protecting the health of our planet. All proceeds go to the aquarium's nonprofit Seafood Watch program, which brought us the widely respected seafood pocket guide (now available for cell phones and PDAs at www.seafoodwatch.org). The gala is close to being sold out, but this year's Celebrity Chef Ambassador, Alton Brown (best known for his show Good Eats and as commentator/judge on Iron Chef America), will be on hand Saturday for cooking demonstrations and a dive in the giant kelp tank. Among the other guest chefs is Darina Allen, the Julia Child of Ireland and a leader in the Slow Food movement. (www.cookingforsolutions.org or 866.963.9645)

'IT'S HAPPENING IN SOLEDAD!'
"So what's with the cow horn?" Finally, someone asked the question we all wanted to know. Twelve wine club members gathered on April 24 at the Bonny Doon Winery on Ingalls Street to learn all about the biodynamic Ca del Solo label and to taste nine samples that prove the winemaking shift has been a success. Associate Winemaker Nicole Walsh, who also manages the 95 producing acres at the Soledad site that is the source of Ca del Solo, led us through the reasoning behind biodynamics with convincing fervor. A stamp of approval from Demeter, the only third-party certifier of Rudolf Steiner's holistic farming approach, means the entire vineyard is considered a single living organism connected to the natural rhythms of seasonal and planetary influences. Back to the cow horn: basically, manure buried in a horn over the winter becomes an extremely fertile soil preparation. The proof is in the riesling. (www.bonnydoonvineyard.com)

FINAL EXAM
For students enrolled in Cabrillo's California Sippin' class, preparation for finals involved hitting the bottle instead of the books. The last session, on April 23, tested the attendees' palates in a challenging culmination of the three-week class aptly co-taught by Tabitha Stroup and Melissa Schilling. Nine bottles hidden in brown paper bags were poured and pondered. The tasting was supplemented by various snacks put together by Stroup. Furrowed brows, stumped silences, deep sighs and triumphant exclamations ensued. When Cabrillo's out you can find the two teachers offering the multithemed "Hallelujah Club" cheese and wine class every last Friday of the month at the Culinary Center on Front Street. Their summer Cabrillo Extension courses will continue with "Deciphering Wine Lists" and the fascinating "Oenomusiphilia" class, a complete sensory palate self-evaluation, this time focusing on movie soundtracks. "It's correlating the vibe you get from a movie and the vibe you get from a wine," says Schilling. www.cabrillo-extension.org, www.praisecheesespassthewine.com


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