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July 21, 1994|LEO SMITH

Robert Pugh, chef de cuisine at the Ojai Valley Inn and Country Club, will prepare his vegetable Napoleon with roasted sweet pepper coulis Friday.

So what's new, you ask. Well, when he cooks up the dish this time, it will be for the Southern California regional semifinals of the Evian Healthy Menu Awards. Pugh and two other chefs beat out a field of about 20 from the area, and are bidding to advance to the national level of the competition.

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"(Great Things Are) Cookin' in Ventura," a book of recipes from Ventura, Oxnard and Ojai restaurant chefs, is printed and ready to sell. The collection, compiled by Ventura's Gail Hobbs, features 54 recipes--for appetizers, soups, entrees, dressings and desserts.

Copies are available at The Bean Break on the Ventura Pier, The Book Mall of Ventura, the Ventura Visitor's and Convention Bureau, the Ventura Bookstore, KB Roberts and various restaurants around town.

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Pierpont Inn Executive Chef Louis Ludwig and Rick Longoria, the winemaker at The Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez, will host "A Midsummer Night's Feast" at the inn on Saturday.

Here's a sampling of the menu for the five-course, Pacific Rim dinner. Please try not to drool:

A warm salad of Pacific crab, scallop and mussel packets with fried leeks and supreme carrot reduction infused with chervil, served with a 1991 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay.

A "Pacific Rim Trilogy"--fujian barbque prawn with curried cashews; halibut Oscar tempura with ginger bearnaise and potato parasol, and sweet and sour melon balls and corn kernels, all served with a 1991 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. Dinner and discussion is $65. Call 643-6144 for reservations.

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What did Mabel Chase, owner of Ventura's City Bakery Cafe, bring back from her yearlong trip to Europe? Baking and cooking skills, picked up while studying at the Cordon Bleu, the Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre. At the latter institution, Chase learned how to prepare 20 new cakes. And on July 28, she will teach three of them--a strawberry cake, a chocolate ribbon cake and a striped biscuit cake--to intermediate and advanced bakers, at her cafe. Cost of the 6:30-9:30 p.m. class is $30. Call 643-0861 to reserve a spot.

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