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S E C T I O N 2 & New restaurants, recipe ideas, and profiles of local chefs. ■ November 4, 2009 AL SO INSIDE C O M M UN I Y 24 |RE A L E S TAT E 25 |CL AS S I F I E D S 29 Chefs For A Night Will prepare great meal for money: Woodside High staff By Dave Boyce | Almanac Staff Writer H ad it been fluent in the banter of the kitchen, a fly on the wall of Woodside resident Leslie Ballinger’s kitchen would have remarked on the collegiality among the chef-like humans arrayed around the freestanding counter, their heads bent and their hands engaged as they quietly discussed meal preparation. Such subdued tones would have bewildered the fly. This was a cooking competition! Where was the elbowing? Why were sauce pots not being hoarded? Instead, a kind of grace prevailed among the two men and four women teamed three-on-three to vie for the good opinions of 11 guests — five couples plus one — who had gathered on Friday, Sept. 18, for a singular meal at two tables set up in Ms. Ballinger’s living room. On the evening’s menu: appetizers consisting of two varieties of empanada and three of bruschetta; an entree of barbecued jerk chicken with coconut rice and a Middle Eastern salad; an entree of pan-fried herbed salmon fillet with mashed potatoes, baby carrots and steamed summer squash; plus luxurious desserts. Easy to say, but try making it when your day job involves not cuisine, but education, and your expectant diners have paid $335 each. They pulled it off in style, and Woodside High School was $3,500 richer: The meal had been bid for and purchased at the annual Woodside High School Foundation auction. The cook-off pitted high school administrators against teachers. The guests enjoyed an extraordinary meal — this reporter can vouch for that — and the chefs earned rewards that were less tangible, as is often the case with educators. Photos by Dave Boyce David Reilly, top, principal of Woodside High School, raised money for the school by standing in as chef for 11 paying guests at the Woodside home of Leslie and Douglas Ballinger. The tropical meal, above, joined barbecued jerk chicken and pineapple with a Shirazi tomato-and-cucumber salad in red cabbage leaf and coconut rice on banana leaf. WHIP THOSE POTATOES The administrative team of Woodside High School Principal David Reilly, his wife Sandy Reilly, and Instructional Vice Principal Diane Mazzei had an arguably easier time of it preparing bruschetta than their opponents had with their empanadas, though both are peasant-style dishes. Bruschetta is as simple as a baguette sliced, toasted, blessed with olive oil and/or garlic, and finished with a combination of toppings, which is where the inspiration comes in. The toppings experienced that night were prosciutto and fig on cream cheese; brie with apple slices; and gorgonzola See CHEFS FOR A NIGHT, page 22 November 4, 2009 ■ The Almanac ■ 21


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