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The Valley Line: Gumbo and bluegrass on the menu

August 24, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Chef Claud Beltran, of Noir Food & Wine Restaurant and Claud & Co. Catering, and Bill Martone president and CEO of Hathaway-Sycamores recently sponsored the first Gumbo Fest. (Photos courtesy of the Hathaway-Sycamores and the Noir Restaurant)
Chef Claud Beltran, of Noir Food & Wine Restaurant…

We are about to say adieu to the month of August and I did enjoy the lovely and unusual cool mornings we had. Obviously Mother Nature was giving us a fragrant little surprise, as the lawn and foliage around my house were wet with dew, filling the air with a heady sweetness.

The back-to-school madness has begun for some La Cañada families and is about to begin for others. Car pools are beginning to form, heralding the beginning of another school year.

It has been a very long time since I was ferrying kids to and fro, but I look back on those days with a certain amount of nostalgia, even though some of them were rather frantic. Unfortunately, my grandchildren live too far away for me to re-enter the car pool lines. Heather’s children, Catherine and Ryan, are in Palo Alto and Christopher’s kids — Aidan, Lucan and Morgan— are in England.

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Happy back-to-school, everyone!

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Here is a mouth-watering item for you to peruse and to make plans for next year. Chef Claud Beltran knows a thing or two about Louisiana-style crustaceans. He recently gathered a joyful group of foodies and musicians to celebrate what he called “Mumbo Gumbo Fest.”

This fabulous all-you-can-eat feast, which drew more than 250 guests, was a first large-scale eating frenzy event set behind the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. Chef Beltran is the executive chef and co-owner of Noir Food & Wine Restaurant/Claud & Co. Catering. A portion of the proceeds went to Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, founded a century ago.

Hathaway-Sycamores is one of the largest nonprofit, private children’s mental health and welfare agencies in Los Angeles County. Over the years there have been numerous La Cañada Flintridge community members who have been volunteers with the agency and also have served on its board of directors.

Getting back to the tasty tidbits that Chef Beltran was serving up: For several years he has been hosting a similar gumbo fest for close friends, and of course it was a huge hit. This year he decided to expand the guest list and invite any and all who wanted to partake of fabulous food, and to also make a difference in the lives of the children at Hathaway-Sycamores.

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