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Chefs have a flair for flavor at extravaganza

Local celebrites break out their best recipes for fundraiser at Blue Goose
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The best chefs in town will be showing off their culinary skills during the Blue Goose Food Extravaganza in Loomis this weekend. Andy Portillo, engineer with the Loomis Fire Protection District, has honed his kitchen skills by cooking for the firefighters at the station. He and fellow fireman Sean Fuller will be representing both the fire district and the Loomis Firefighters Association at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 15, at the extravaganza held at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed. Portillo said the guys call him "the best cook at the station" and he earns the moniker by doing all of the cooking when he works. “I make Mexican food, pastas. They say I can make something out of nothing,” Portillo said. Portillo will be making quesadillas using homemade tortillas from his mother’s recipe. When asked if there were any secret ingredients in mom’s tortilla formula, he said, “Only the love.” Portillo said he’s looking forward to sampling what the other chefs at Food Extravaganza create and getting ideas for future recipes. Portillo said the worst thing about being the firehouse chef is that in the middle of cooking they often get sent out on a call. “I have to stop cooking and be sure everything is turned off before we go. Sometimes we’re gone for hours and the food is ruined. Then we just make a stop at Taco Bell,” he said. “I never leave anything cooking, even in the oven. That would be playing with fire.” The Newcastle Fire Association will also be sending their best firefighter chef, Maxx Zamani, to cook it up at the extravaganza. Zamani said he will be barbecuing about 35 pounds of teriyaki chicken and serving it with rice. He calls the teriyaki marinade recipe Jus-yaki after the Chinese family friend who created it. Cody Smith, an engineer with the Penryn Fire District, said he will be serving chicken ziti, a pasta dish featuring grilled chicken. “It’s kind of an old family recipe,” Smith said. “It’s bigger back East than it is out here. It’s a simple, but delicious recipe.” Smith said this is the third year he will cook for the celebrity chef event and uses the occasion to talk to neighboring firefighters from Loomis and Newcastle. “We can catch up … It’s nice to see the other fire guys, see where their district are at financially and personnel wise, normal firehouse gossip,” Smith said. Dot Shiro is organizing the chefs on behalf of the South Placer Heritage Foundation. She said almost 80 chefs, restaurants and cooks will be presenting appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts for guests to pick and choose from. Other Extravaganza favorites will be smoked ribs cooked by the Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, tri-tip grilled by Joe Bittaker from the Loomis Basin Education Foundation, spanakopita prepared by the Soroptimists and chilis made by John DuPriest and Ron Brown. Shiro said hundreds of guests are expected to attend the edibles event. The Heritage Foundation, she said, hopes to make $15,000 toward the $40,000 cost of new hardwood flooring in the historic fruit shed. The flooring is expected to be installed in June. Tickets for the Blue Goose Food Extravaganza are $25 and can be purchased at Blue Goose Produce, Main Drug or at the door. For more information,call 787-0878 or visit the Web site at soplacerheritage.org. ---------------------------- BLUE GOOSE FOOD EXTRAVAGANZA Formerly called Celebrity Chef What: A dining event featuring 80 local chefs, cooks and caterers When: 5:30 p.m., Saturday May 15, at the Blue Goose Tickets: $25 at Blue Goose Produce and Main Drug, or at the door Sponsored by: South Placer Heritage Foundation benefiting the renovation of the Blue Goose Fruit Shed Information: soplacerheritage.org