Brunchers Enjoy A Delicious Fundraiser
Gorgeous Spring weather this past Saturday, bright sunshine and mild temperatures made for a perfect brunch at Zazu Restaurant & Farm. As I pulled off of Guerneville Road and into the dusty driveway at Zazu, I found the last available parking spot next to a smiling couple getting into their car. “How was brunch?”, I asked them. The womans eyes lit up. “Oh, it was fabulous! The bacon pancakes were so good.” She was referring to the bacon-in-the-batter pancakes, one of the creative and locally grown menu items for this fund-raising brunch to benefit The Ceres Project.
Teen Chefs Volunteer, Work With Well Known Chef
Besides the creative menu, this was a unique brunch for the fact that it was prepared and served by volunteer teen chefs of The Ceres Project. This dynamic, local organization provides healthful meals for those facing life-threatening illnesses, while giving the teen chefs an appreciation for volunteerism and the skills to continue on with a culinary career, if they choose. Such is the case with 14 yr. old Xavier. (pictured, below) He was being instructed to pick fresh pea shoots from the lush container gardens just outside the kitchen door at Zazu, while chef Duskie Estes was hurrying off to another part of the garden to find some bronze fennel. Looking very professional with white chef jacket and green apron, Xavier said he plans to continue volunteering with Ceres and move into a culinary career. I asked him if he realized how lucky he is to be learning alongside chef Duskie. “Oh yeah”, he said with a nod and a smile.
A Circle Of Caring
Zazu Restaurant & Farm is just one of our local businesses that support The Ceres Project, a local non-profit that works to restore local and organic food to its place as the foundation of health for people. As a relatively young organization, Ceres has prepared and delivered thousands of delicious, nutritious meals to members of our community battling cancer and other illnesses, while also training young people in the kitchen. Besides learning culinary skills, these young volunteers are enriched with compassion, knowing they’re making a delicious difference with the support of individuals and businesses within the community.
As I dropped off our donation of Redwood Hill Farm fresh chevre, vanilla yogurt and our Green Valley Organics sour cream to be used for the brunch, I noticed how efficient and well-organized the kitchen and dining room were. “We had a rush right at 9 am when we started serving”, Kristie Amezcua mentioned as I surveyed the scene. Kristie donates her time and energy to The Ceres Project in a variety of ways. Today, she’s greeting guests and helping where needed. “Duskie is wonderful, allowing these students to take over her restaurant, and also share her knowledge. Our teen chefs and servers have been practicing for weeks, and today they’re feeling the pride, it’s been a great success.” It’s estimated that 200 people enjoyed this unique brunch, with 100% of the proceeds going to Ceres.
The Ceres Project Executive Director Cathryn Couch was reminding folks of the current online auction to benefit Ceres, among the items to bid on is a Redwood Hill Farm Artisan Cheese Collection and private tour of Redwood Hill Farm with a cheese tasting. Still glowing after the Zazu brunch,the teen chefs are beginning to prepare for their next dining out fundraiser, to be held later this month at Peter Lowell’s in Sebastopol. Stay close for another exciting menu, prepared and served with love!