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From Farm to Bay food and wine classic to benefit Living Coast Discovery Center Press Release | Tue, Jul 02 2013 09:51 PM

The Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium on the southern edge of San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, will host its fourth annual food and wine classic on Aug. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The culinary celebration brings together some of San Diego’s finest names in food, wine, craft beer and spirits to support the center’s coastal wildlife conservation and education programs in its largest fundraiser of the year.

This year’s event has been renamed From Farm to Bay with a special emphasis on the local and sustainable food community in the San Diego region. Acclaimed chef and culinary consultant Andrew Spurgin has joined the event as culinary chair.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to have Andrew involved this year,” Living Coast Discover Center Executive Director Dr. Brian Joseph said. “Thanks to his invaluable expertise, personal relationships and creative insights, our humble event has been transformed in just a few short weeks into something magical. It truly will be one of the best culinary celebrations in San Diego this year and that success will make a big impact on the families — and wildlife — we serve every day in San Diego.”

“Truth be told, I had over-committed in gifting my time to events for 2013, but then I visited the Living Coast Discovery Center,” Spurgin said. “The Eastern Pacific green sea turtles had me at ‘hello.’ This gem on our bay is doing amazing work, not only for our local coastal wildlife, but solid outreach that embraces all, from children to grandparents.”

 Set against the beautiful natural backdrop of San Diego Bay and the Sweetwater Marsh wildlife refuge during sunset, the celebration will feature coastal cuisine with a fun and creative twist. Each From Farm to Bay chef will be asked to draw inspiration for their dish from one of the animals featured in the center’s current seasonal exhibit, Deadly Waters, which includes dangerous and mysterious creatures from around the globe such as red-bellied piranha, California barracuda, alligator snapping turtles, poison dart frogs, Pacific sea nettles, scorpion fish, coconut crabs, mantis shrimp, fuzzy dwarf lionfish, zebra morays and emperor scorpions.

The culinary inspiration may come from the animals’ diets, features, behaviors, country of origin or anything else that the chefs find a connection with, allowing them to have fun and be as creative as they want.

“The theme is fun and playful and really captures the spirit of what makes the Living Coast Discovery Center so special,” said event coordinator Carlee Gerardi of Green with Envy Events. “The evening will have something for everyone — whether you’re a serious foodie or craft beer connoisseur, or if you are passionate about supporting animals, kids or the environment, or even if you simply want to enjoy a warm summer evening with friends on San Diego Bay.”

The Living Coast Discovery Center, formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center, is located along the Chula Vista waterfront. “From Farm to Bay” is the only San Diego food and wine event set within a protected national wildlife refuge, where guests can enjoy a unique, intimate nature and wildlife experience alongside dozens of native species.

Guests will sample from an estimated 30 to 40 hand-selected restaurants, wineries, breweries and spirits, as well as live musical performances on multiple stages (including local American roots band Plow), live and silent auctions, and up-close animal encounters with the Living Coast Discovery Center’s beloved animal residents, including sea turtles, sharks, rays, hawks, eagles and owls.

Tickets are on sale at www.thelivingcoast.org or by calling 409-5900. Tickets are $45 for Living Coast Discovery Center members and $50 for the general public.

Besides Spurgin, other confirmed restaurant partners include Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar and Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge (chef Miguel Valdez), Brooklyn Girl (chef Colin Murray), Kitchen 4140 (chef Kurt Metzger), Sea Rocket Bistro (chef Tommy Fraioli), Via Lago Trattoria by Busalacchi (chef Joe Busalacchi), Sushi on a Roll (chef Jeff Roberto), Terra American Bistro (chef Jeff Rossman), Fish Market/Top of the Market (chef Ivan Flowers), U.S. Olympic Training Center (chef Karl Klein), Chaplos Restaurant (chef Norma Martinez), Isola Pizza Bar (chef Massimo Tenino), Elizabethan Desserts/Betty’s Pie Whole Saloon, Viva Pops, Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, Blind Lady Ale House, Tiger!Tiger!, Isola Pizza Bar, Papa Luna’s Empanadas, Sprouts Farmers Market, El Campanito Farm and La Bella Pizza Garden.

Confirmed beverage partners to date include Grant Grill Mixologist Jeff Josenhans, Blind Tiger Cocktail Company Mixologist Adam Stemmler, Stone Brewery, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, SIP Certified Sustainable Wines, Bay Bridge Brewing Company, Automatic Brewing Company, Manzanita Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, California Fruit Wine Company, 619 Vodka, GI Vodka Group, Trader Joe’s, Hilliard Bruce Winery, Tolosa Winery, Wiens Family Cellars, Quigley Fine Wines, Caffe Calabria and PureFlo Water.

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