Kids’ food, all grown up

The menu sounded kid-friendly but the dishes were decidedly grown up at a recent fundraiser for the South Whidbey Children’s Center in Langley.

Chef Gordon Stewart created this version of macaroni and cheese using spiral pasta

The menu sounded kid-friendly but the dishes were decidedly grown up at a recent fundraiser for the South Whidbey Children’s Center in Langley.

Approximately 125 folks gathered at Fireseed Catering in Clinton for the gala Chefs’ Dinner, which shined the spotlight on seven South Whidbey chefs, who chose the children’s center as this year’s dinner beneficiary. It was up to them to put an adult spin on classic dishes like Jello salad, macaroni and cheese, fish sticks and more.

“This is the first time in two years we’ve done the chefs’ dinner,” said Jenn Jurriaans, chairman of the SWCC board of directors and co-owner of Prima Bistro in Langley. “Really, it’s a lot of just eating and fun.”

As the champagne flowed and soft jazz from Whidbey’s own Trio Nouveau filled the hall with music, an appetizing spin on tomato soup and grilled cheese, courtesy of Dave Noble from Fireseed, was served. Then came a “Jello salad” cooked up by Des Rock at Langley’s Useless Bay Coffee Company, but this dish featured pears poached in Syrah wine and spices, then suspended in a soft gelée and topped with a bleu cheese mousse and an endive leaf.

Next up was “Happy goat macaroni and cheese.”

“I used a Chevre goat cheese and some smoked Gouda, along with bacon and a balsamic reduction,” explained Chef Gordon Stewart of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill in Freeland. “It’s topped with a pea vine and, because I’m a very pretty guy, a very pretty flower.”

Applause greeted the following courses, the next being a mixture of asparagus and sugar snap peas with a fava bean and tarragon dressing, served with a yellow pea hummus, courtesy of Chef Jess Dowdell.

“These kids are going to lead the world someday, so here’s to our future,” she said.

Chef Patrick Boin of The Braeburn in Langley had a surprising interpretation of fish sticks, serving a slice of grilled Copper River salmon atop a bed of thin carrot chips and barley with a Crème fraiche tarter sauce.

A hot dog and potato salad was the next childhood favorite to get a culinary makeover by Chef Sieb Jurriaans of Prima Bistro.

“It’s a venison hot dog with truffle potato salad on a handmade bun, served with spicy ketchup and Dijon mayonnaise,” he told the crowd.

Fireseed’s Dawn Noble finished off the night with ice cream sandwiches featuring a variety of homemade cookies and Whidbey Island Ice Cream.

The food may have taken center stage at the June 11 event, but the real star of the evening was the South Whidbey Children’s Center, which has provided early childhood learning in Langley for more than 30 years.

“More than 4,000 families have come through our door over the past 30 years,” said SWCC Executive Director Kris Barker. “We’re proud to be part of the Whidbey Island community.

“For every dollar spent on early learning, $16 is saved down the line in future expenses,” she continued. “So every dollar spent tonight is a dollar well spent.”

Denise Perkins, whose two children attended SWCC, said it wasn’t just a childcare center, it was her children’s second home.

“It was such a wonderful support for me,” she said. “The support I got can never be repaid, so this is kind of like a pay-it-forward thing.”

“I couldn’t have gone to work if it hadn’t been for the center,” said Sharon Boyle, who went on to give her opinion of the event. “I thought the evening was really fun and very different. The food was really interesting.”

“I thought the take on kids’ food was really good,” agreed Ron Kasprisin, who busied himself throughout the evening building a structure from the wooden toys on the table.

Organizers were pleased with the event.

“It was great,” said Jurriaans. “I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

More in Life

Origins of fairgrounds’ story pole is a mystery

South Whidbey historian on the case to uncover true carver

Blues, berries, fun and fundraising at Saturday festival

Mutiny Bay Blues Farm hosts Commons Cafe event

Annual street dance, live bands set for Saturday

Langley’s new annual dancing-in-the-street summertime tradition is back for the third year,… Continue reading

New public art debuts in Langley

Steel and glass shape pieces chosen by arts commission

Denis Zimmermann and his wife, Cheryl, run Langley’s new ramen restaurant, Ultra House, which opened in May 2018. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times.
Langley restaurant owner is recreating his childhood with new ramen house

Denis Zimmer-mann said he’s not re-inventing the wheel with his ramen restaurant… Continue reading

A 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by Roy Deaver of Clinton, was chosen as Best of Show in the Cool Bayview Nights car show Saturday.
Rain doesn’t dampen the fun at Cool Bayview Nights car show

Attendees selected the mildly modified and rebuilt 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by… Continue reading

Shakespeare Festival plays emotional range

Female directors, perspective at the forefront

Expanding knowledge

Whidbey Institute adds more lodging, plans open house

Congolese Festival is a chance to celebrate, educate

Last event before Northwest Cultural Center relocates

Shhh…it’s a surprise party for old-timer Bill Lanning

Friends, customers invited to celebrate former owner of Bill’s Feed Tack

Mucking about for clams

‘Digging for Dinner’ a popular Sound Water activity

Scorch is a play about gender identification showing at Outcast’s black box theater on the Island County fairgrounds June 13-17. It’s a one-person play, performed by Carmen Berkeley. Director and co-producer Ty Molbak went to middle school in Langley was was active in Whidbey Children’s Theater. Both will be seniors at Rutgers University in the fall. One scene in the play “Scorch” portrays the main character looking into mirrors and wondering what others see.
‘Scorch’ looks at first love and ‘gender fraud’

Irish play revolves around one character’s confusion