Dinner Benefits P/S Fuel Break Effort

The chefs and helpers who staged a delicious fund-raiser at the Fossil Creek Creamery Saturday to raise money for fire protection included Susie Watson of Rim Country Jams, Jason Raducha of Noble Breads, Ray Stephens and Julie La Magna from Urban Survival, Rim Club chef Mark Hamilton, Culinary Concepts chef Akos Szabo and chef Tracy Dempsey.

The chefs and helpers who staged a delicious fund-raiser at the Fossil Creek Creamery Saturday to raise money for fire protection included Susie Watson of Rim Country Jams, Jason Raducha of Noble Breads, Ray Stephens and Julie La Magna from Urban Survival, Rim Club chef Mark Hamilton, Culinary Concepts chef Akos Szabo and chef Tracy Dempsey. Photo by Pete Aleshire. |

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Sometimes, helping a worthy cause just melts in your mouth.

Delicious. No other word for it.

Leastwise, that was the consensus on Saturday as about 130 people savored the best efforts of some of Rim Country’s top chefs, all to raise money for the Pine/Strawberry Fuel Reduction Program.

The Fossil Creek Creamery hosted the third annual event intended to both raise money and raise awareness.

The volunteer group has raised thousands of dollars and donated thousands of hours of effort to creating a network of firebreaks and trails to protect the Pine/Strawberry communities from wildfires.

Once one of the most endangered communities in the country, the completion by the Forest Service of a series of cleared buffer zones has reduced the danger facing Pine and Strawberry significantly. The volunteer group continues to raise money to complete trails that will serve as firebreaks and convince people to thin their properties and firewise their homes.

But on Saturday night, the group celebrated its success with gourmet food, a crisp sunset on the brink of fall and Dixieland Jazz played by Dr Jass and the Heartbeats.

The food wowed the sold-out crowd.

The menu led off with black pepper and Fossil Creek goat cheese biscotti prepared by Susie Watson with Rim Country Jams.

On the tables, guests had bread baskets loaded with artisan hearth-baked country loaf made by Jason Raducha of Noble Breads.

After those preliminaries, the “ahhhs” and “hmmmms” grew in volume.

Ray Stephens and Julie La Magna from Urban Survival offered a delectable Cajun shrimp salad with petit field greens, organic rice, English peas and pickled local watermelon vinaigrette.

Next, Rim Club chef Mark Hamilton served up cedar plank salmon, roasted with mushroom balsamic vinaigrette.

But one entrée wasn’t enough.

So Culinary Concepts chef Akos Szabo followed up with Wilson Farm “Slow Ham” — a shredded pork with salsa Verde, Fossil Creek goat cheese gnocchi, Urban Survival “chow chow” and City Center Farm micro purple kale.

Chef Tracy Dempsey finished off the sated crowd with Fossil Creek goat cheese panna cotta, with mixed berry compote and lavender biscotti.

No doubt about it: Doing good never tasted so sweet.

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