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Langley chefs present feast for WAIF

The Langley Chef’s Dinner at Prima Bistro included about 70 guests who sat down to a feast which included this duck ragu with potato gnocchi by chef Donna Leahy, among other delights.   - Photos courtesy of John Cannon
The Langley Chef’s Dinner at Prima Bistro included about 70 guests who sat down to a feast which included this duck ragu with potato gnocchi by chef Donna Leahy, among other delights.
— image credit: Photos courtesy of John Cannon

Local gourmands and gourmets came together recently for some homeless furry friends.

The Langley Chef’s Dinner is a benefit for the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation that happens a couple of times per year.

This time around, eight Langley chefs prepared a six-course feast at Prima Bistro on Dec. 14, hosted by the bistro’s owners, Jenn and Sieb Jurriaans.

WAIF volunteer and benefit organizer John Cannon was giddy with the lingering memory of the feast.

“You could feel a high level of excitement walking into the restaurant,” Cannon said.

“Nearly 70 foodies enjoyed a truly gourmet feast by chefs who were, it seemed, trying to outdo each other.”

Chef Jess Dowdell of Mukilteo Coffee Roasters created the first course — date-stuffed prawns wrapped in prosciutto with a cilantro pesto accompanied by a glass of Whidbey Island Siegerrebe.

Next, chef Des Rock of Useless Bay Coffee Co. treated guests to a squash soup followed by a panzanella salad with sage-and-walnut dressing. The wine was a Whidbey Island Pinot Grigio.

The third course was presented by the Inn at Langley’s chef Matt Costello, who served a roasted black cod, oxtail and wild rice, “dry” pomegranate risotto and Brussels sprouts with a Ca ‘Del Solo Sangiovese wine.

Donna Leahy of Chef’s Pantry made a duck ragu with potato gnocchi, brown butter and white truffle which was served with a Louise Changarnier 2007 Pinot Noir.

(Cannon exclaimed rather enthusiastically about the duck, calling it “off-the-charts good.”)

For the cheese course, Dave and Dawn Noble of Fireseed Catering wowed everyone with homemade cracker, quince membrillo, and Rivers Edge chevre accompanied by an Amontillado Sherry.

Finally, host Sieb Jurrians capped off the meal with Napoleon of candy cap mushroom ice cream with bitter caramel sauce and truffled sea salt served with Warre’s Ottima 10-year Tawny Port.

A bonus sweet, compliments of Mona Newbauer of Island Angel Chocolates, tickled the last taste buds with a cranberry pistachio truffle.

The chefs involved donated 100 percent of the food, beverages and time to the event, including the Jurriaanses who additionally donated the use of the restaurant and their paid service staff.

At the end of the evening, Don Rowan, WAIF board chairman, thanked the chefs for their large-hearted generosity, Cannon said.

WAIF will receive all of the $4,500 raised, which the foundation intends to use to help pay for “pet of the week” ads and the popular Seniors for Seniors program, in which adoption fees are waived for animals 8 years and older who are adopted by animal lovers 65 and older.

It was easy to round up a crowd of people who care about animals, but the food helps, too.

“South Enders love their food,” Cannon said.

“There is such a large group of people interested in food. Everyone’s been asking about the next chef’s dinner. It will be in the spring,” he said.

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