Chef Edward "Zock" Clahan, Los Angeles author of "Dining With Zock: A Complete Guide to RV/Tailgate Cooking," will prepare a roadside meal Saturday at Amestoy House Cooking School in Ojai.
Clahan's menu will include a tuna dip, white bread with pearl onions, puttanesca pasta and a filet mignon with blackberries and brandy. Class time is 1 to 4 p.m. Cost is $40, which includes a copy of Clahan's cookbook. Call 646-7970 for reservations.
The "Cooking Al Fresco" class is part of a fall-winter schedule that is vastly different from the program that Amestoy House offered last year in its debut season.
This time around, chefs are mostly local, not the big-name draws for the debut schedule. Because they are less recognizable and don't require travel reimbursement, they're more affordable. Thus, cost of the classes has been reduced, often in half.
Cheryl Amestoy, owner of the school, said the move was part financial, part recognition of local culinary talent.
"There are a lot of good restaurants in Ojai, and their success is because of what chefs they've got," she said. "It's really wonderful to have local people."
The lineup of local instructors includes Christine Hartnett Denney, lunch and dessert chef at Ojai's Ranch House (leading a class Oct. 10) and Patricia Cluche, chef and owner of Ojai's Garden Terrace Restaurant (Nov. 14).
A dash of salt, a touch of vinegar, a mug of Budweiser.
Those just might be the ingredients needed to win the top prize in the Beer Recipe Cooking Contest sponsored by Santa Barbara's 3rd Annual Pacific Coast Beerfest.
Recipe contest organizers are looking for entries that include beer as one of the primary ingredients. Entrees, soups, sauces, hors d'oeuvres, desserts and other dishes are eligible.
Deadline to submit entrees is Monday. The following day a panel of judges will select five finalists whose creations will then be prepared by a leading Santa Barbara chef sometime during the week of Oct. 7. The winner will get the VIP treatment at the Oct. 19 beer festival, at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
Send recipe entries with name, address and telephone number, to Beer Recipe Cooking Contest, P.O. Box 1692, Beverly Hills 90213.
The Beerfest itself will feature more than 200 craft beers from more than 60 breweries, as well as prominent chefs preparing their own beer dishes.
Admission is $10 general, which includes three beer samples and a souvenir glass and program; $7 students with ID; $5 designated drivers and those ages 13-20; $2 for children ages 6-12; and free for children age 5 and younger. For tickets call 583-8700.
For those who like a bite of this and a sip of that, there are a couple of benefit wine and food tastings scheduled Sunday at opposite ends of the county.
First up is the Sunday Afternoon by the Lake, a fund-raiser for the Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Casitas.
About two dozen restaurants and a similar number of wineries-microbreweries will bring samplings of their products. Participating restaurants will include Pierpont Inn, Tower Club, Yasmeen's, Cafe Zack, Roger Keller's Restaurant and Joe Daddy's. Local wine and beer makers on the list include Daume Winery, Leeward Winery, Shields Brewing Company and the Ojai Vineyard.
In addition to the tastings, there will be jazz and blues entertainment and a silent auction. Lake Casitas is at Highway 150 and Santa Ana Road, just outside Ojai. Admission is $45 in advance, $50 at the gate. Call 649-2233.
In Thousand Oaks, Cal Lutheran University will also be hosting a tasting Sunday, this one at the Westlake Inn from 4 to 6 p.m., to benefit campus radio station KCLU-FM.
Times restaurant critic Max Jacobson and KCLU talk-show host Tom Walling (the Food Dude) will host the event, pairing wines and hors d'oeuvres, and explaining their selections. The Westlake Inn is at 31943 W. Agoura Road, Westlake Village. Admission is $35. Call 493-3900.