A Glimpse into Glen Ellen
This year’s Parade Grand Marshal was musician Johnn “King Daddy” Murphy. He and his band EZ Kewl played afterward on the stage by the Post Office.
A lot of fun events involving Glen Ellen villagers have happened since my last column. Here are highlights from two of them.
First and foremost, we must offer huge kudos to our Glen Ellen Fire Department who once again - for the fifth time in the last six years - won the Water Fight at the Vintage Festival in Sonoma on the very hot (over 100º) last weekend in September. The department had their A team on the line for the epic battle to win it all against Sonoma Valley Fire Department's #1 team. Our crew from Glen Ellen consisted of Matt Ammorino, Nils Derrickson, Robert Giles, Jim Kracke, Chris Landry, Keenan Lee, Dan Pierce and Will Powers. Capt. Jim Kracke told me, “The nucleus of this team has remained the same over all these years and it's all about the teamwork.” He likened their efforts to their responses to emergencies - not just one person responds to the fire at your house or the car wreck or the medical emergency, but a whole, well-synchronized team does. I cannot say enough about our local fire departments in Glen Ellen and Kenwood and beyond. I have gotten to know them all a little better while my youngest son, Freddie, has been able to be involved with GEFD (soon to be a Kenwood Fire Explorer Scout; he is counting the days until he turns 14 on Dec. 2!), and I have become more and more impressed by the courage and dedication they exhibit every single day. Thank you, each and every one, for all you do, and congratulations on your well deserved victory!
Speaking of Jim Kracke, I have a little side note about him that illustrates just the kind of community spirit I wrote about above. He coached my oldest son one year in Wine Country Youth Baseball in Kenwood, and did a fabulous job. Those kids had so much fun and had a winning season (even though we didn't keep score). When KC moved on to Valley of the Moon Little League for his first year there, he was “drafted” to a team that had no coach. The President of the League at that time, Bill Jackson, called to tell us what team he was on but that there was no coach and asked if I had any ideas. The next day I ran into Jim at the market, told him the predicament, pleaded a little bit, and next thing I knew he was our coach with the only caveat being that he could have his nephew Garrett Kracke on the team. That was one of the best years of Little League baseball we have experienced!
The 20th annual Glen Ellen Village Fair has now passed and I have to say that it seemed to be very successful. The wrap-up meeting will be held the first Wednesday in November (time and place to be determined, email me for more information) and that will be the time to step up to help coordinate the Fair in future years. This Fair is a tradition that should not die, but the core group - led by Maryann Carr, Steve Perry and many others - feel it is time for them to turn the reins over to other enthusiastic people. They have gone out with a bang! As Maryann said, despite a few little glitches here and there, everything ran very smoothly and it was thrilling to see the hordes of people enjoying the fabulous weather, music, and vendors that lined the section of Arnold Drive between Warm Springs and London Ranch roads.
I was able to get out and walk around for a bit after the Rustic Chef contest, thanks to my friends Jane Breen and Edwin Porcayo who manned my gravlaks booth. Besides all the usual, we were happy to have Harvey Cohen and his gourmet mini donuts join us this year. If you have not had the opportunity to see or hear Harvey at work, please check him out at one of the many events he appears at…the story of his donut machine is very cool, as is watching the process!
Again, despite a few glitches, the Rustic Chef contest was met with enthusiasm and interest. Marina Abbott worked very hard on coordinating all aspects of the contest, and Janie Soto was there for support and a lot of work the day of and before. Our auspicious judging panel consisted of Kathleen Hill, the intrepid food writer at the Sonoma Index Tribune, Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection who brought some of her Delice de la Vallee to add to the chefs' pantry, and renowned and beloved Glen Ellen chef Charles Holmes. With Marcy Smothers as emcee, even though we were without a PA system (one of those aforementioned glitches), it could have been aired on Food Network.
There were just two chefs competing this year…John Abel of Roessler Estates who was a competitor and winner last year, and Edwin Porcayo. Edwin is only 20 years old, and will be starting the culinary program at SRJC next semester. He has been an apprentice at a local kitchen for the last couple of months and will be one to watch in the Sonoma County culinary world a few years from now. John is a talented and seasoned chef, with a fabulous, relaxed attitude and a charming personality, plus he also brought lots of good wine that he shared. My kind of guy!
The protein the chefs were given to work with was ground pork and the mandatory secret ingredient was “gjetost” - a caramelized brown Norwegian goat cheese from the region in Norway, where my family is from. As I mentioned before, there was also a pantry of items for them to work with including fabulous fruits and vegetables from Marina's and Janie's gardens, as well as some more exotic ingredients and some basics. Both chefs utilized everything they were asked to and both created mouth-watering and delicious sandwiches (with sides) from their grills. The judges were very thorough and contemplative and had a difficult time deciding, but the end result is that Edwin took home the Rustic Chef perpetual trophy created by Fire Chief Peter Van Fleet last year! With his mother Concha and brother Henry looking on, Edwin was thrilled and excited by his first foray into the world of culinary competition.
Beyond that, I have no idea who won the quilt, I just know it wasn't me. And I hope you all got your 20th Anniversary T-shirts. If not, you can probably still order some from A Lasting Impression.
Oh, and of course, there were those concerts going on over at B. R. Cohn, which I heard were absolutely incredible with lots of money being donated to local charities, thanks to the generosity of Bruce and his family.
If you have any news about the villagers in Glen Ellen, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Skål!
Send your news of Glen Ellen to Kristi Hallamore Jeppesen at email@example.com.