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A Backlot Festival of Wine and Food Will Benefit Meals on Wheels

September 08, 1988|BETSY BALSLEY | Times Food Editor

It may not be the usual Universal Studios' show for visiting tourists, but the famous movie backlot will offer an attraction that's sure to draw the crowds on Saturday, Sept. 17. That's when Wolfgang Puck of Spago and Chinois on Main restaurants and actor Vincent Price host the Sixth Annual American Wine and Food Festival to benefit the Los Angeles chapters of Meals on Wheels.

Puck has corralled 19 of America's best-known chefs, including such culinary luminaries as Paul Prudhomme of K Paul's in New Orleans, Bradley Ogden from Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco, Dean Fearing from the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and Mark Miller from the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, N.M., to prepare some fabulous foods for attendees to sample. In addition, 52 wineries will provide a mind-boggling array of wines for sampling.

Hope to Raise $250,000

The festival organizer, the Wolfgang Puck Charitable Foundation, hopes to raise $250,000 at the event to provide well over 100,000 meals to the disabled and elderly in the Los Angeles area.

Sponsors for the gala--the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Piper Sonoma Sparkling Wine, Beefeater Gin, Avery Services Corp., Rykoff-Sexton, Inc. Westwood Marquis Hotel and Gardens, Brita Water Filter Systems, Cutty Sark Scots Whisky, B & B Liqueur, Cointreau America Inc., Finlandia Vodka, Citicorp Diners Club Inc., Home Express and the Universal City Studios Rental Division Group--have provided the funds necessary to stage the event so all monies raised through ticket donations will benefit the Meals on Wheels groups.

Tickets for the festival, which begin at 6 p.m., are available through the Foundation at $150 per person or $1,500 for a reserved table for 10.

Reservations are necessary as no tickets will be available at the door. For reservations and additional information, phone (213) 652-3706.

Here are several of the recipes that will be served the night of the festival:


2 chayote squash

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 halibut fillets, about 4 ounces each

Salt, pepper


1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups rich fish stock

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

3 cloves garlic, roasted and pureed

1 serrano chile, seeded and diced


1/2 cup cooked black beans

2 tablespoons diced red pepper

Chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Peel chayote and cut into thin strips. Blanch chayote "noodles" 2 minutes, then refresh in ice water. In large skillet, combine oils. Heat until lightly smoking. Season halibut with salt and pepper to taste and coat lightly with flour. Saute halibut 3 minutes on each side in hot oil or until golden brown. Remove halibut from skillet and keep warm.

Deglaze skillet with wine and reduce by half. Add fish stock and reduce again by half. Add whipping cream, roast garlic puree and serrano chile and reduce once more by half. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add black beans, diced red pepper and 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro.

In small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter, add shallot and cook 1 minute. Add chayote, 1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and toss gently until heated through. Place chayote on a warm platter and place halibut on top. Spoon sauce over fish. Makes 4 servings.


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 (750-milliliter) bottle Cabernet Sauvignon

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup chicken stock


Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped ginger root

3 tablespoons chopped black peppercorns

4 Alaskan king salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each

Olive oil

Celery Puree

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in saute pan until foamy. Add shallot, garlic and tomato and saute several minutes or until shallot is translucent. Add wine and vinegar and continue cooking over medium heat until reduced by half. Add chicken stock and reduce again by half. Finish sauce by swirling in remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce has desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Mix ginger root and peppercorns. Season salmon with salt and coat with ginger-pepper mixture. Sprinkle with olive oil and grill or saute salmon until medium done. Divide sauce among four warm dinner plates. Spoon equal amounts of Celery Puree into center of plates. Place salmon on top. Makes 4 servings.

Celery Puree

1 medium potato, peeled

1 celery root, peeled

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons butter

Salt, pepper

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