For the second year in a row, tickets are sold out to the annual A Taste of Rim Country fund-raiser Saturday, March 8 at the Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road.
Guests will sample appetizers and desserts from area chefs, enjoy a complimentary wine-tasting table and bid on unique donated items in a silent auction, while listening to deejay Fred Carpenter’s playlist.
The following chefs will participate: the Cedar Ridge Restaurant at Mazatzal Casino, Cocktail Cheesecakes, Dimi Espresso Cafe, Miss Fitz’s 260 Cafe, the Payson High School Culinary Club (with the assistance of Gerardo Moceri), the Payson Senior Center, the Pinon Cafe (formerly the Knotty Pine), The Randall House, Rim Country Health and Retirement, and Sweet Shoppe.
Follow and ‘like’ the Library Friends of Payson’s Facebook page for profiles of each chef, updated daily. Here are the final profiles of Taste of Rim participants, Cedar Ridge Restaurant and the PHS Culinary Club.
Cedar Ridge Restaurant
Despite very different backgrounds as “foodies,” the cooking team of the Cedar Ridge Restaurant has come together to create a close-knit family.
Joss Smith has worked in virtually every capacity of food service at the casino over the past six years.
Steven King brought decades of culinary experience under many different chefs — “I steal from the best,” he said.
Elle Waterman, a recent graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, le Cordon Bleu Program, is a recent addition to the Cedar Ridge staff as pastry chef. Elle was a member of the PHS Culinary Club that won the Taste of Rim Best of the Best trophy a few years ago.
The Cedar Ridge Restaurant offers a full menu, plus a daily soup/salad bar, and special buffets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
King creates a nightly special entrée, using cuisines from around the world.
“Some of the best dishes are created from just a few ingredients,” said Smith. The secret is in how it is prepared, he added.
The financial support of the casino allows the food services to offer the lowest price in town for their house specialty, slow-roasted prime rib.
Waterman has created a Cupcake Flavor of the Month program, with a Key Lime Pie as the March selection. Last October, she made more than a thousand cupcakes for the Players Club to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the casino’s presence in Payson.
The newest addition to the casino is the Coffee Korner, which Smith manages, serving up Peet’s Coffee products and muffins, pies and cinnamon rolls in a cozy atmosphere, with comfortable couches and chairs. The Coffee Korner is found just inside the main entrance of the casino on the left and is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily.
The team is considering a Mediterranean menu for the Taste of Rim, offering both an appetizer and a dessert. The Cedar Ridge Restaurant is one of the Library Friends’ most loyal supporters, participating in every Taste of Rim event, dating back to 2000.
PHS Culinary Club
For more than 40 years, PHS has had a foods program, but it wasn’t until 2005 that Devon Wells created the PHS Culinary Club, in which students learn every aspect of the culinary arts, from meal planning, to purchasing, to food preparation, to presentation. The club is the beginning of many careers in the culinary arts; nearly a third of the students in the club go on to formal culinary schools, and three-quarters of them already work outside school hours in the food preparation business. They prepare almost everything from scratch daily, including cutting their meat products, and cleaning and boning fish.
Periodically, the members prepare lunches for the high school and also cater private and community events.
Members of the Culinary Club are competing for a C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) scholarship, which provides assistance to high school students planning on a career in the culinary arts. Two PHS students received substantial awards just last year. In April, the club members will be competing in the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), a three-level team competition to be held in Tucson.
At the Taste of Rim Country fund-raiser, the club will share a table with Gerardo Moceri of Gerardo’s Firewood Cafe. Moceri mentors the young people both at the event and in his business, holding special classes and demonstrations at the school several times each year. The PHS Culinary Club has participated in many of the Taste of Rim Country fund-raisers, and has even won the Best of the Best trophy.
About the event
The event is hosted by the Library Friends of Payson, Inc.,
with the assistance of the following sponsors: Gold Level Sponsor ($500): William and Ellen Olsen; Silver Level Sponsors ($250): George Henry’s Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, LLC, Pioneer Title Agency, The Computer Guys USA and an anonymous donor; Bronze Level Sponsors ($100): Denise Blanchette (in memory of Chuck Blanchette), Chris Smith Investments, Su Connell and Stan Garner, Edward Jones, Messinger Payson Funeral Home, Sami Frazier, Joanne Ivins, Lowery’s Window and Door, Payson Pet Care PC, Mattress Experts, Karen Thornton, Tom Russell and Associates, Linda and Kenny Evans and Judy Kettner.
The silent auction features jewelry, gift certificates, fine art, and other very special items from the following individuals and local businesses. The Beverage House donated wine and Safeway provided a gift certificate.
All proceeds from A Taste of Rim Country benefit the LFOP General Fund, which provides equipment and supplies for library programs and books.
The Library Friends of Payson, Inc., is a 501(3)c private, non-profit corporation, with 90 percent of donations going directly to assist the library compared to the 65 percent standard set by the Better Business Bureau for charitable organizations. All officers and board members are unpaid volunteers.