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Chefs Trade Talents for a Kitchen

March 05, 1992|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH

Update on feeding the hungry: In August, we reported on a group of restaurateurs who had formed an advisory board to work with SOS (Share Our Selves), the Costa Mesa group that fights hunger and homelessness. Spearheading the restaurateurs' efforts was Hal Rosoff, owner of the Back Bay Rowing and Running Club in South Coast Plaza and Meyerhof's in Irvine. Recently, Rosoff reported that the board has had an "enormous, heartwarming welling up of interest and support" from restaurant owners who want to donate excess food. The board is currently working with SOS on the design of the kitchen it plans to build to handle donations. The two groups will team together to raise money for that kitchen by presenting a benefit on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Center in Costa Mesa.

The five-course celebrity chef dinner will be coordinated by Michael Kang of Five Feet in Laguna Beach and Five Feet Too in Newport Beach, along with Rosoff. Cooking together for the first time will be Hans Prager (The Ritz, Newport Beach), Alan Greeley (Golden Truffle, Costa Mesa), Christian Rassinoux (Ritz-Carlton hotel, Dana Point), Jean-Pierre Lemanissier (Antoine, Le Meridien Hotel, Newport Beach), Roseanne Ruiz (Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Center), John McLaughlin (JW's, Anaheim Marriott), Ted Gray (in-house chef at Newport Meat Co. and formerly of the Wine Cellar, Hyatt Newporter), and David Wilhelm, assisted by John Sharpe (Bistro 201, Irvine). The Robert Mondavi Food and Wine Center will donate its facility, staff and a selection of wines. All profits from the event will go toward feeding the hungry; the goal is to raise $50,000. Tickets are $149.95. For general information, call Bernie Schneider at (714) 760-1121; for tickets call Linda Schilling at (714) 261-6178.

Celebrities from show biz, sports and Orange County businesses will switch careers for a day and become chefs, waiters, wine stewards and singing troubadours at Prego on Sunday at 11 a.m. To benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Assn. and to celebrate Prego's sixth anniversary, the stars will prepare 15 salads and antipasti, two pastas and a dessert bar. Entrees will include grilled marinated chicken, marinated pork loin roast and Italian sausages. Proceeds from tickets, priced at $75, will go to diabetes research. Among the celebrities taking part will be TV soap opera star Corey Young (formerly Dr. Walt Benson on "General Hospital"), former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich. Representing the restaurant industry will be chef Jean Pierre Lemanissier of Antoine, Le Meridien Hotel; Hans Prager of the Ritz and Timothy Plum of Mon Chateau. Comedian Joey Bishop will emcee. Reservations: (714) 553-1333. Prego is located at 18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine.

Koto, missing from the Orange County restaurant landscape for 16 months during its rebuilding, reopened last week in Irvine. Modern in its black-and-white motif, elegant with marble, tile and hardwoods, the restaurant looks out on serene Japanese gardens, a waterfall and koi pond. Your options here are the sushi bar, cocktail lounge, 100-seat dining room and banquet rooms. Across the lake, a separate, Japanese-style pavilion (tatami room) serves groups of up to 20. The menu is new, the price range at lunch $7 to $10; at dinner, $14 to $50. Multi-course dinners in the pavilion, by reservation only for parties of six or more, are $70 and $100. The restaurant is managed by Sushi World Inc., which operates 35 restaurants in Japan. The property is still owned by MTK Corp. Koto is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday till 11 p.m., Sunday till 10 p.m. Reservations: (714) 752-7151. 4300 Von Karman Ave., Irvine.

When August Rossi sold Chantal restaurant in Los Angeles in 1982, he vowed, "I'm not going to die watching TV," and promptly opened Papa Rossi, the Italian favorite in Tustin. Indeed, when Rossi suffered a fatal aneurysm a month ago, he was not watching TV, but had just come home from a busy afternoon in the restaurant. His daughter, Ritz Morrow, who's worked at Papa Rossi from the beginning, promises that the restaurant will go on, just as her father would wish. "Everybody knows their jobs, and we have a wonderful crew that worked with Papa for so many years," she said. The restaurant is at 1866 N. Tustin Ave., (714) 998-9500.

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