For the second year, Chef Claud Beltran of The Eatery leads a group of local chefs in creating a menu consisting of local and seasonal dishes at “The Feast at Baldwin Ranch” to be held on the Meadowbrook Lawn at the Arboretum on September 28th.
The chefs will include Sushi Chef Ota-San of Japon Bistro in Pasadena, Paul Ragan of AltaEats in Pasadena, Sean Lowenthal of the Little Beast in Eagle Rock, and Britanny Turnquist of the Poppy Cake Baking Company. Steve Riboli owner of the San Antonio Winery will offer wine pairings for each course.
Last year, the event hosted 140 guests and this year, proceeds will again benefit the Arboretum’s youth education programs, in which over 16,000 school children participated in 2013.
To wet the appetite, Chef Sean Lowenthal has contributed this week’s recipe of the week—a sumptuous-looking Sweet Corn Curried Soup.
And to further entertain, Chef Beltran has fond memories of the Arboretum and he’s kindly shared them with us, in his own words:
The Arboretum Experience As a Kid
As a lucky kid in the summer of 1973, we lived three blocks from the Arboretum. I had no idea at the time about exotic plants and landscapes, or who Lucky Baldwin was. I knew that the Arboretum was a jungle with a lake, lots of trees to get lost in, a little Mexican-type town and house as we knew it, and miles to run and hide in.
My adventure, trauma, learning lesson began one day in late summer of ’73, when as the youngest of the brigade, we rode our bikes past the then under-construction 210 freeway (we later threw our bikes over the fence and rode on the freeway) and entered our wonderland adventure park—no Disneyland for us; we had the Arboretum.
I was the youngest, and as usually happens to the youngest of the group, I had to do all the dangerous things first—or in regard to this particular day, the dumb and stealing things first. My challenge was to capture and return with a duckling. I’m not sure why, but this was the challenge for the day (and not jumping over cactus, so I was pretty happy). After capturing the small screaming animal, of course it made sense to bring it home and hide it from my parents.
It did not make it more than twenty-four hours before my mother heard it early in the morning as it looked for its mother. After a few minutes of interrogation, I fessed up to the crime. The other kids were already outside getting into mischief as they saw me drive away with the small duck in a box, and they knew I was in trouble. We were heading back to the Arboretum. My mother pulled up to those triangle steps and instructed me to go to the front desk and tell them what I had done and return the bird.
It was the walk of shame that day.
Since then, every time I have returned to the Arboretum for a visit, or nowadays to do a cooking class or cater for the Pasadena Pops, I think about the day I walked the steps of shame to tell somebody I had stolen their animal.
Outside of helping myself that day to the canard du jour and having to fess up to my crime, the Arboretum still remains a place of adventure and (now) a place of peace for me—a place were I may sit on a bench and enjoy the beauty.
I hope the Feast at Baldwin Ranch will help the Arboretum continue to be a place where kids on a field trip or kids with parents can come to explore and they’ll think it’s a place of adventure. Learning about food and sustainability and plants and how things grow is an important part of childhood. By uniting five local chefs for an evening of food and wine, we hope to raise funds to keep and enhance these programs for kids and cooking programs for adults alike. I hope for The Feast to be a continuous effort with another of these dinners in the spring and then again in the summer and fall.
I’m just afraid to serve duck as my first course!
The Arboretum honors Wells Fargo for their longstanding commitment to children’s education.
Menu from last year’s event: