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Tre Lune chef Soemi Caramel and manager Leslee Garafalo.

Gail Arnold

Tre Lune chef Soemi Caramel and manager Leslee Garafalo.


Inside Wine Holds Superb Wine & Food Pairing Event

Net Proceeds Go to the Museum of Natural History


On April 8, about 150 food and wine aficionados gathered in the Fleischmann Auditorium at the Museum of Natural History for a superb food and wine pairing event. The event was hosted by the Meetup group Inside Wine Santa Barbara, whose hardworking and generous organizers donated the net proceeds to the museum. It featured food from 11 area purveyors paired with wine from one of 11 regional wineries. There were also interesting talks by several notable winemakers and chefs.

Guests feasted on heavenly pairings such as Chef Michael Hutchings’ slow-braised salmon fillet with thyme and celery essence and pinot noir risotto paired with Alma Rosa’s old vine Mount Eden Clone Pinot Noir. Other standouts included Les Marchands’ smoked halibut with beet and chorizo paired with Babcock Winery’s oaked Simpatico Sauvignon Blanc; Santa Barbara Yacht Club’s (SBYC) foie gras mousse with rhubarb compote paired with Claiborne & Churchill’s gewürztraminer; and the SBYC’s scallop brulée with English pea purée paired with El Lugar’s dry riesling.

While the afternoon would have been complete with just the decadent food and wine pairings, the event also offered interesting talks throughout the afternoon by winemakers and chefs, including such legendary figures as winemakers Richard Sanford and Fred Brander and culinary wizard, chef Michael Hutchings.

Inside Wine was co-founded by Tama Takahashi and Lila Brown. The two wine industry women met at SBCC’s School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management and decided to combine their interests in food and wine by starting the Meetup group. While Brown has moved out of the area, Takahashi remains at the helm of Inside Wine, whose membership has swelled to 1,237. She is a writer and editor and is just finishing a cookbook for The Lark restaurant. She also works as the food editor for Touring & Tasting Magazine.

Takahashi decided to make the event a fundraiser for the Museum of Natural History because she considers the museum such a great asset to the community. She has witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm and joy that children experience when they come to the museum and learn how the natural world works so wanted to raise funds for this valuable museum.

Inside Wine Santa Barbara hosts 6-10 events per year, each with an educational component. Recent events have included a vineyard tour and lunch with winemaker Bryan Babcock of Babcock Winery and Vineyards and a gourmet dinner and tasting at Sagebrush Annie’s Restaurant and Winery in Maricopa. Membership in Inside Wine is free and open to anyone age 21 or over.

Takahashi worked on this event alongside co-chairs Hana-Lee Sedwick and Carla Romero. All the wineries and food purveyors donated their products and time. For more information about Inside Wine Santa Barbara, go to meetup.com/Inside-Wine-Santa-Barbara/.

The Museum of Natural History’s main campus is at 2559 Puesta del Sol in Mission Canyon. The Museum also includes the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf. For more information about the museum, go to sbnature.org.

Send event invites to Gail at society@independent.com.

By Gail Arnold

Event co-chair Hana-Lee Sedgwick, co-founder Tama Takahashi, and event co-chair Carla Romero.

By Gail Arnold

Kate Winter and chef Weston Richards from Les Marchands.

By Gail Arnold

Debi Helm and Geoff Hasler.

By Gail Arnold

Amanda Tempest and Tiffany Hampton with sponsor Touring & Tasting magazine.

By Gail Arnold

Sonja Nelson and winemaker Fred Brander.

By Gail Arnold

Chef Michael Hutchings, Michael Wilk, and Jenny Kearns.

By Gail Arnold

Guests enjoy sampling the food and wine pairings.

By Gail Arnold

Guests enjoy sampling the food and wine pairings.

By Gail Arnold

Tre Lune chef Soemi Caramel and manager Leslee Garafalo.



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