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Guests Sip, Savor at Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Fork & Cork Classic

Fundraiser honors Brook and Jasper Eiler of Harvest Santa Barbara, Archie McLaren of Central Coast Wine Classic and Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County found a new home this year when it presented the fourth annual Fork & Cork Classic on May 7 at The Fess Parker in Santa Barbara.

A May rainstorm resulted in moving the wine and food tasting event to the indoor ballroom from the outdoor rotunda, but the nearly 400 guests hardly seemed to notice as they happily sampled wine, beer, coffee and tasty food from a variety of the area’s best culinary artists and vintners and breweries.

Proceeds supported the work of the Foodbank and its mission to end hunger and transform the health of the community through healthy meals and nutritional education.

“The Foodbank provides nutritional support for one in four Santa Barbara County residents each year, and the annual Fork & Cork Classic is an important event that helps us do that,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank.

“Attendees enjoy premium wines and gourmet dishes with the knowledge that the proceeds go toward feeding the hungry in our community.”

Incoming board president Vibeke Weiland told Noozhawk, “It is not just about providing the calories. We are dedicated to providing nutritious, fresh and wholesome food for the hungry.”

This year, the Fork & Cork Classic honored Brook and Jasper Eiler, owners of Harvest Santa Barbara; Archie McLaren, founder of the Central Coast Wine Classic; and Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections for the contributions they have made toward advancing their respective crafts, as well as their efforts to support the local community, including the Foodbank.

Through the Central Coast Wine Classic, McLaren, its founder and chairman, has shared the region’s wine with a world audience. The event has raised more than $2.5 million to benefit nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, including the Foodbank.

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO Erik Talkin with incoming board president Vibeke Weiland.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO Erik Talkin with incoming board president Vibeke Weiland. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Foster of Jessica Foster Confections is a longstanding Foodbank supporter who donates her chocolates and other creations to the Foodbank and many other nonprofit organizations.

“I am just so thrilled and humbled by this award,” she told Noozhawk.

The Eilers are produce distributors from Harvest Santa Barbara who work with Central Coast farmers to provide local, sustainably grown produce to everyone from restaurant chefs to children eating lunch in school cafeterias. Their donation of healthy produce to the Foodbank is shared with the less fortunate throughout Santa Barbara County.

Participating caterers, chefs, restaurants, wineries and beverage vendors included Wildwood Kitchen, Bar 29, Finch & Fork, Outpost at The Goodland, Santa Barbara Creamery, Caribbean Coffee Co., The Fess Parker, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Jessica Foster Confections, Chef Edi Robertson, The Lark, Scratch Bar & Kitchen, Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, Island Brewing Co., Bragg Live Food Products, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, Kitá Wines, Sanger Family of Wines, Beckmen Vineyards, Turiya Wines, Falcone Family Vineyards, Ascendant Spirits, Teeccino Brewing Co., DV8 Cellars LLC, Presqu’ile Winery, Whitcraft Winery, Nielson Wines, Cambria Winery and Grassini Family Vineyards.

Kita Wine representatives Tara Gomez, left, and Mireia Taribo.
Kita Wine representatives Tara Gomez, left, and Mireia Taribo. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Sponsors of the fourth annual Fork & Cork Classic included Platinum Spoon: Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and Cox Communications.

Gold Spoon sponsors were Frank Schipper Construction, NightOut, Eric Roland Photography, Water With Life, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits and The Good Lion.

Silver Spoon sponsors were Zeeblu, Arlington Financial Advisors, Green Hills Software, FastSpring, Samy’s Camera, Courtland-Dane Management Group, Cultivate Events, V3 Printing and Bill’s Copy Shop.

Volunteer committee members included Erwin Villegas, event co-chairman; Kristin Van Ramshorst, event co-chairwoman and online promotions chairwoman; Bradley Martin, marketing chairman; Michael Blackwell, restaurants co-chairman; Mossin Sugich, restaurants co-chairman; Todd Atkins, wineries co-chairman and other beverages; Irene Hoffman, design chairwoman; Leslie Velez, Foodbank, staff sponsorship; Quinsi Newell, community engagement chairwoman; Catherine Wastweet, wineries co-chairwoman; David Moorman, emcee and entertainment chairman; Kelly Johnson, volunteer chairwoman; Ursula Santana, silent auction co-chairwoman; Yuki York, silent auction co-chair; and Kris Albert, entertainment. The duo Erisy Watt provided lively musical entertainment.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provides nourishment and education through its programs and a network of more than 300 member nonprofit partners. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank, and nearly 35 percent are children.

Last year, the Foodbank distributed 10 million pounds of food — half of which was fresh produce.

Click here for more information about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, or call 805.967.5741. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Kitty Graae, left, with honoree Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections. Click to view larger
Kitty Graae, left, with honoree Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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