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October 06, 1994|LEO SMITH

Sixteen chefs were on hand at The Tower Club in Oxnard last week for the first dinner presentation of the new Central Coast Culinaire Assn.

Tower Club Executive Chef Francois Millet and his staff prepared the elaborate four-course meal, while the other chefs, more than half of them from Ventura County, chatted with the guests--explaining and critiquing the food, offering cooking advice and sharing their own cooking techniques.

Millet's menu began with a parfait of yellow fin tuna with avocado mousse and grilled shitake mushrooms, followed by lasagna croustillante de grenouilles (frogs' legs) with black trumpet mushrooms and sauce cerfeuil . The main course consisted of crisp roasted Guinea hen with chanterelles and pearl onions, sweet peas puree and shallot sauce. And for dessert it was tropical fruit strudel with ginger orange sauce.

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In July, it was announced that Chef Gerard Thompson of the Stonehouse Restaurant in Montecito had been invited to prepare a five-course meal at New York's prestigious James Beard House.

Assuming all went as planned, Thompson did his thing last night, and with a little help from a Ventura County food source. The bread for the evening was prepared by Thierry Liot, of the wholesale Les Bles D'Or Bakery in Ojai.

Liot came over from France about four years ago and since then has hooked up with about 25 top restaurants in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, baking about 20 varieties of bread.

And for this special affair? "I am going to make a focaccia bread, a potato-sage bread and a farmer bread," he said last week. "The farmer bread is an old-fashioned bread with a mix of whole-wheat and white flour. It's very crunchy and very light too."

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It's getting to be nail-biting time for those involved with the $10,000 "5th Annual Quaker Oatmeal Recipe Contest." Recipes must be postmarked by Oct. 29.

Judges will be looking for original recipes for cookies, desserts and breads/muffins. Recipes should contain no more than 10 ingredients (not counting salt and water) and must contain at least one cup of uncooked, whole Quaker oats or two cups for cookies.

Send the recipe, with proof of purchase, to Quaker Oatmeal Recipe Contest, P.O. Box 530, Barrington, IL, 60011.

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