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Community is served at SchoolPower’s Chef Challenge!

March 2017

The Lumberyard hosted SchoolPower’s 8th Annual Chef Challenge Monday, March 13th.

The brainchild of Cary and Suzanne Redfearn, the event is a competition with dueling guest “chefs” who choose two different 3-course menus. Net proceeds from the event, approximately $8,000 this year, benefit the schools through SchoolPower. “The level of support from the Redfearns for our schools and community has been exemplary,” enthused Taylor Pillsbury, SchoolPower president. “It’s people like them who make our town so special.”

In years past the competition pitted LBUSD school principals against one another. This year, the competition was expanded to include a City team with Laguna Beach Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse and Laguna Beach Chief of Police Laura Farinella and a Schools team with LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria and Interim Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Jeff Dixon. In another new twist, Taylor Pillsbury and SchoolPower Endowment president, Chris Clark, jumped behind the bar and started the night’s competition off with dueling cocktails.

After the cocktail competition, diners were faced with two exquisite menus and had the delightfully difficult task of choosing the items they liked best: Crab ricotta ravioli or roasted lamb meatball? Pan roasted Arctic Char or grilled filet medallions? Coconut crème brulee or Belgian chocolate tart? The items were so delicious it was extremely difficult to choose. Each team member worked tirelessly serving, clearing and refilling drinks in hopes of swaying the diners to choose their menu items.

At the end of the night the Schools team received the most votes and was awarded the coveted spatula trophy and “crowned” champions. Of course, the night’s real winners were Laguna Beach schools. Superintendent Viloria said, “It was an amazing opportunity to support SchoolPower and the students that attend LBUSD. Special thanks to Lumberyard staff for an amazing meal and service as they ran circles around the four of us. We are so thankful that Chief Farinella and Chief La Tendresse were willing to participate. Their partnership and ongoing support is important to the education of our students.  I am hopeful that even though Jeff Dixon and I won hands down, it won’t scare them away from a potential rematch next year.”

Chief LaTendresse had his own ideas about the evening, saying “I was honored to be able to give back to the community, to SchoolPower, as a member of their Fire Department. This community supports us each and every day which is why I cherish these opportunities to show the appreciation on behalf of all of our Firefighters. It was fun to ‘compete’ with the Police Chief against the schools; frankly I think we worked harder but they got more votes.  I hope we can build from the relationships established that night and continue to serve the students and community. Watch out for next year!”

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