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Colusa County Fair Demonstration Stage a Success

Chef Doug Baird (Colusa Casino Resort) prepares inside out roll using CalRose rice.
Chef Doug Baird (Colusa Casino Resort) prepares inside out roll using CalRose rice.

It was nearly 110 degrees at the Colusa County Fair on Saturday, June 8 but the chefs who had signed up for the Colusa County Commodity Stage demonstration kept on cooking and the crowds kept coming.

The Stage, originated three years ago as the Premier Mushroom Demonstration Stage and chefs from area restaurants prepared only dishes containing mushrooms. Premier was the sole sponsor of the stage.

This year the menu was open to any product grown or produced in Colusa County and several other area companies joined in to sponsor the venue. Sponsors in addition to Premier Mushrooms Inc. this year were Central Valley Gas Storage, Colusa Casino Resort, O’Connell Ranch/Barb’s Produce, Jeffreys Ranch Pecans, and Bernice Dommer.

Left to right Chef Doug Baird (Colusa Casino Resort) Kelly Johnson with best of show winning Almond New York Cheesecake, judge Bonnie Erhke, David Ferraiuolo with his 1st place bowtie pasta dish and judge Mary Lytle.
Left to right Chef Doug Baird (Colusa Casino Resort) Kelly Johnson with best of show winning Almond New York Cheesecake, judge Bonnie Erhke, David Ferraiuolo with his 1st place bowtie pasta dish and judge Mary Lytle.

The stage opened Friday night with the 3rd annual Colusa County Fair Commodity Cook-off. Chef Doug Baird from the Casino Resort’s Wintun Dinnerhouse assisted by Bonnie Erhke and Mary Lytle judged the event.

Kelly Johnson took home a $100 first place in the dessert category for her Almond New York Cheesecake. The dessert also earned her the best in show category and $250.

David Ferraiuolo won $100 first place for his bowtie pasta and sausage dish in the main dish category.

Following the cook-off Chef Baird presented a sushi and inside out roll demonstration using Ahi tuna and crab and locally grown Cal Rose Rice.

The chefs on the stage on Saturday included David Ferraiuolo, Nancy Newlin of Colusa Legal Support Services, Chef Jeff Battles from Cool Hand Luke’s in Yuba City, and Chefs Ross Montegno and Tom Indrieri from Tommy’s Market Street Grill.

Ferraiuolo cooked up squash patties; Newlin demonstrated making crepes/Swedish pancakes using both savory chicken and mushroom filling and a sweeter dessert version as well. Battles prepared his restaurant’s signature skirt steak with sautéed vegetables and Premier Mushrooms. Montegno prepared mushroom and mint soup and a warm salad also using a combination of mushroom varieties from Premier Mushrooms. Indrieri followed Montegno with a variety of Artisan pizzas he is now offering at the Market Street Grill

On Sunday Theresa Bright took the stage for Jeffreys Ranch Pecans making pecan caramel rolls, Chefs Sara Barro and Robert Reed represented Steelhead Lodge Bar & Grill making pork loin with Asian pear chutney featuring Barb’s Produce pears. Mary Ellen Moore was the final chef on Sunday preparing stuffed Premier Mushrooms crimini mushrooms.

“This has grown into a very popular event at the fair,” said Bernice Dommer. “The area chefs are very generous with their time and their talents, and the fair patrons certainly enjoy tasting the results of their efforts,” she said.

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