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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | TIDBITS

Chef's Class to Cater to Cheese Lovers : Santa Barbara's Andy Lo Russo will 'Romance the Ricotta' at Amestoy House culinary school in Ojai.

February 08, 1996|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For those who love--really love--cheese, Chef Andy Lo Russo's "Romancing the Ricotta" demonstration and lunch at Ojai's Amestoy House Cooking School on Sunday could be just the Valentine's week treat.

Lo Russo will show how to prepare ricotta Rossini, dolce con ricotta, penne pasta Tetrazzini, ricotta garlic bread and other ricotta dishes. Guests will get to taste his creations for lunch. The Santa Barbara chef is known for his "Sing & Cook Italian" collection of Italian and Sicilian recipes, accompanied by an audiotape of Lo Russo singing popular Italian songs.

Lo Russo kicks off a new series of chef presentations at the Amestoy House, an upper Ojai residence owned by Joe and Cheryl Amestoy. The 100-plus-year-old home, formerly a schoolhouse and a repertory theater, has a large kitchen set up within a dining area able to accommodate 35 people for a sit-down class and meal.

"We're getting a wide variety of professional chefs to come here," said Joe Amestoy. "An interest of ours is to emphasize a healthy and gourmet aspect, not just one or the other."

Sunday's program will begin at 1 p.m. Cost is $45 per person. Call 646-7970 for reservations.

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The 2 West Coffee Co. in Ventura will begin showing films Tuesday through Thursday nights, and Sunday afternoons this month. Though he has yet to finalize a schedule, owner Dave Paglia, said the film selections will be classical and eclectic.

"They will range from Fellini to Steve McQueen to Charlie Chaplin to Fred Astaire," said Paglia.

He said his intent is to attract folks familiar with the films, as well as those unfamiliar with the big-screen names of bygone eras.

"I just want to offer a little bit of history and culture, to educate people on what brought us to where we are today in pop culture," he said. The coffeehouse is at 2 W. Main St.

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If there's a Ronald McDonald, there must be a Mimi.

The Mimi's Cafe chain of French/American-style restaurants, which most recently opened an establishment in Thousand Oaks, is conducting a search for a spokeswoman to serve as Mimi at new store openings, food festivals and other public events throughout Southern California.

Though Mimi is pictured on the restaurant's menus as a slim woman with dark hair, big black eyes, a very flowery hat and white gloves, it will be more personality than appearance that will distinguish one Mimi wannabe from the rest of the Mimi pack.

"It will be someone who is loyal, committed to the job, somebody who has a really good presence, somebody who will take a liking to the public," said Jeanne Hemphill, marketing director for the 21-restaurant California chain.

Founded in 1978 by Thomas Simms and his father Arthur Simms, the restaurant chain is named after a woman that the elder Simms met and fell in love with in Paris during World War II. Their relationship was cut short by the war.

Mimi's is accepting applications through Monday. Send a head shot or other portrait photo, a resume and a letter detailing community and charitable work to: Search for Mimi, c/o Frank Groff Public Relations, 249 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1010, Long Beach 90802. Entries must be postmarked by Monday.

The winning Mimi will receive $1,000 and a one-year personal-appearance contract.

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