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Cooking demos highlight festival

POSTED May 17, 2011 9:40 p.m.

Tantalizing dessert dishes will be prepared by local chefs in demonstrations during both days at this year’s Oakdale Chocolate Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday. Chefs and bakers from around the area will be offering the how-tos, recipes, and, of course, those mouth-watering samples as they show their skills to attendees.

Chef Dan Quint of the Oakdale Golf and Country Club plans on bringing the establishment’s sous chef, Nick Portanova and hot line chef Cory Treece to assist with his presentation.

Quint, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., said he will narrate as Portanova and Treece prepare a chocolate dipped smoked wild boar bacon dish and a chocolate fettuccini noodle creation with mock chocolate truffle meatballs and a raspberry sauce to simulate a pasta dish.

“The chocolate dipped bacon has been around quite awhile,” said Quint. “We’re adding a twist with the boar bacon because it’s stronger.”

Quint added that both are “unique dishes” and he learned to make the simulated pasta dessert when he was the pastry chef at the renowned Sardine Factory Restaurant in Monterey.

“It will be a high-impact demonstration,” Quint claimed. “The guys will be working as I’m talking. I expect a lot of bantering back and forth.”

Quint’s presentation will be at noon on Sunday.

Bryan Ehrenholm of Pure Joy Bakery and The Lunch Pail Café in Modesto is the defending 2011 American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championships.

Ehrenholm will be preparing and demonstrating his award winner, an English meringue and blueberry creation designed to look like Kate Middleton’s engagement ring.

“It’s like eating divinity with blueberries and whipped cream,” said Ehrenholm.

He started Pure Joy Bakery in Oakdale (at Bloomingcamp Ranch) and moved to Modesto when he opened The Lunch Pail Café.

“We’re a bakery with a café,” he said. “But my roots are in Oakdale.”

Ehrenholm will be doing his preparation and demonstration while his staff gives out samples. He has been in the culinary business for over 30 years, training to be a chef at Columbia College.

Also due on stage during the weekend is Jose Lombrana of Edible Artistry, who can take everyday pieces of fruit and turn them into works of artistic sculptures by slicing, carving, and peeling. He’s made swans out of apples and roses out of watermelons.

In addition to the sculptures, Lombrana will be using skewers to dip pieces of fruit into chocolate as samples for the crowd. Lombrana learned his craft from Chef Melissa Mersaroli from the culinary staff at Modesto’s Institute of Technology. He said Mersaroli did the craft as a hobby and taught the skill to him.

“Since then, I’m getting good,” said Lombrana. “But it takes practice, practice, practice.”

Lombrana said he was also instructed by the Food Network’s Ray Dewey and he’s gradually taken on projects of other types of designs.

The cooking demonstrations will take place at various times on Saturday and Sunday near the gazebo in Wood Park.

Also scheduled to appear are Save Mart Supermarket representatives, Nita Roberts of That Chocolate Shop with Mayor Pat Paul, and Anthony Smith of Smith Food Concepts.

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