Valley Focus: Four Course Dinner Fundraiser In Clovis

Calling all foodies! You don't want to miss your chance to enjoy a four-course dinner with delicious wine. The 7th Annual Pulling Strings Wine Pairing Dinner is Friday, August 17, 2018, at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

The event is a fundraiser for UCP of Central California. UCP of Central California board member Keith Allen is a local chef who will lead the team that creates and serves the evening's appetizer, salad, dinner, and dessert. Each course will be paired with a different wine selection. Allen was a guest on Valley Focus hosted by Margot Kim. (Airs July 15) He shared details about the event and the cause.

Pulling Strings

Friday, August 17

6 p.m.

Clovis Veterans Memorial District

808 4th St. Clovis

(559) 221-8272

Margot: I can't believe we're talking about this already, Keith. This time of year has already rolled around.

Keith: Thanks for having me here, Margot. This is like an annual event. I'm like, "Whoo-hoo!" Get to see the old gang.

Margot: Well, Pulling Strings is one of the most, I think, anticipated events in the Valley because it is just so delicious.

Keith: You know, I'm hearing that more and more, and I'm like, "This is fantastic that folks are actually, you know..." Obviously, with the different

channels and different food shows and stuff, it's perking the interest with folks. They're just like, "Oh, my gosh. Let's go spoil ourselves." And it's like, you can come out

and spoil yourselves, at the same time, go help out United Cerebral Palsy.

Margot: Is it challenging to come up with the menu every year? And how do you go about that?

Keith: You know, what's really challenging with it, I usually go through and --I had worked at the old Nicola's years ago.

So every year, it's just like,"Yeah, you know, I'm bona fide. I can go through and serve up the traditional stuffed steak."

So I'll go through, and I do the traditional stuffed steak with that and my own stuffed salmon.

So that way, you kind of have the balance of fish or beef, salad, but then the dessert, so I usually try to change the

desserts up quite a bit. But the tough thing is going through and --The tough one that really --Oh, it's just so difficult.

It's funny how many people are just dying to help me try wine.

( Both laugh )

Margot: I can imagine.

Keith: Just like, "Excuse me,please."
( Both laugh )

Margot: Yeah, and that's the unique experience of it. It's the pairing of the wine and the food, and it's really,

through the course of the dinner, an education almost in what flavors really are harmonized together.

Keith: Yeah, you know, the cool thing about it, too, is that enjoying --You know, I'm kind of an extreme wine-enthusiast, if you will.

You know, it's a great big world out there, and there's --I like to go through and introduce wines outside of --that may be readily available,

that people are used to. There's just --Like I said, the world's a great big place. South Africa, Pinotage. You know, this year, I'm gonna

go through and serve a Pinotage out of South Africa.

Margot: Wow.

Keith: And Grillo out of Sicily that I paired with from, I think, a Catania chardonnay, you know, with the salad -- or, with the salmon with that one.

And, you know, with the desserts, Viognier or something along those lines.

Margot: Well, you're making us hungry already.

( Both laugh )

Keith: I'm thinking. "I should've brought some food," but they would've taken it before I got to it.

Margot: Yeah, it would never have made it in here. So, it's all of the benefits for UCP and the great work that this organization does.

Keith: Well, it's the --Believe it or not, I can't believe where the time's gone, but this is actually now the seventh year doing this, so...

And it's just been growing. It's more of -- not even a fundraiser. It's more of a friend-raiser, you know?

That's the whole thing about it. People can go through and experience -- what a better way? Over food and drink -- to get to

learn about United Cerebral Palsy and making new friends.

Margot: And it's August 17th. And a new location this year --the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

Is it a bigger facility? Because I know it's getting more popular.

Keith: Yes, it is. It's a bigger facility. It's absolutely beautiful, and when I had walked through it, when they gave me the tour, I

just -- I fell in love with the kitchen, obviously. The kitchen's just like -- just went, "That's great."
( Both laugh )

Margot: "This I can do."

Keith: Yes. Yeah. I mean, I can cook, basically, anywhere with anything and create something --a campfire -- doesn't even matter.

But with this one, I thought,"Man, this is -- I'm spoiled."

Margot: And guests are gonna get entertainment -- not to mention, of course, the great food and pairings.

But entertainment, and a silent auction, as well. And some of the most popular items that I've ever seen at a silent auction are the hands-on

artistry of the students at UCP.

Keith: Oh, yes. You know, the student --I mean, that's part of them --with their arts and that they do have the classes at UCP that

they do offer, and the students go through, and they'll create the artwork. And you can also show up and purchase them there, also.

The money goes to them, but the students actually create items for the event. They are out there for the

silent auction. A lot of times, they may be musical instruments. Decoupage, tiles, those types of things, wind chimes, candles --

I mean, you know...It's just absolutely amazing, you know, with what they do. And, you know, the key thing

about it is that they do it just out of love. I mean, you look in their eyes, and, you know...

And I have to say, they're like my best friends. They really are, you know?

I had one student that was there, Ambrosio. He's no longer there. He had passed.

But you know what? That was one thing he had told me. It was just like, "Keith, don't ever forget us."

And I'm just like, "You know, that's a really tough thing to go through."

So that resonates. That really does. It resonates here, more importantly.

Margot: Well, Pulling Strings certainly honors those students,

past and present, and keeps the mission of UCP going.

Keith: It does. Oh, yes, it does.

Margot: All right, Keith, thank you

so much.

Keith: You got it.
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