Lumberyard Chef Challenge serves up support for SchoolPower

On January 29 at the Lumberyard restaurant, Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) principals dueled as guest “chefs” for the Lumberyard Chef Challenge benefiting SchoolPower. Served three-course meals and signature cocktails, the full-house crowd of SchoolPower supporters agreed that this Monday evening was equally hilarious and heart-warming.

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Photos by Candice Dartez, Candice Dartez Photography

Lumberyard Owner Cary Redfearn mingles with Suzanne Redfearn and friends at the 12th Annual Lumberyard Chef Challenge benefiting SchoolPower

This beloved event is made possible by the owners of Lumberyard, Suzanne and Cary Redfearn, who generously donate their restaurant, including all food and staff. SchoolPower coordinates the fundraising by inviting parents, friends and community supporters to buy tickets to attend the three-course meal. According to Cary, “We were so fortunate to have our kids attend school in Laguna and receive such a fabulous education. Chef Challenge is our way of giving back. We opened Lumberyard to be a community restaurant, and this event so epitomizes that goal.”

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Top of the World Principal Meghan Schooler, Thurston Principal Joe Vidal, Laguna Beach High School Principal Dr. Jason Allemann and El Morro Principal Dr. Julie Hatchel

To compete in the Chef Challenge, the four Laguna principals select entrees and sides, then serve guests (although the dishes are actually conceived and prepared by Chef Primo and the Lumberyard staff). This year the LBHS-El Morro Elementary School principal duo of Dr. Jason Allemann and Dr. Julie Hatchel took home the coveted Golden Spatula award with their entree of grilled New York steak with a mustard demi-glace, warm pee-wee potato salad and shaved asparagus. The team narrowly edged out the delicious pan-roasted halibut with lobster risotto devised by Thurston Middle School’s Joe Vidal and Top of the World Elementary’s Megan Schooler.

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Lumberyard Restaurant fills with SchoolPower supporters for the 12th Annual Lumberyard Chef Challenge benefiting SchoolPower

“SchoolPower’s Lumberyard Chef Challenge event is an amazing opportunity for our greater community to come together for a fun and competitive night for a great cause. It is an honor to be a small part of raising funds for the students, teachers and programs of LBUSD,” said repeat winner Dr. Jason Alleman, principal of Laguna Beach High School. “And it’s always a pleasure to connect with parents in this festive environment.”

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Guest bartenders and SchoolPower trustees Shaun and Katie MacGillivray

Guests also sampled signature cocktail concoctions handcrafted at the bar by SchoolPower Trustees Katie and Shaun MacGillivray. Shaun’s Stay Classy Skinny Margarita barely beat out Katie’s Skinny Beach cocktail. “It was our first-time tending bar together and we had a blast,” said Katie. “But I have to say that our drinks were much better with help from Lumberyard pros Jeannie Simmons and Amber Nyson.”

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El Morro Principal Dr. Julie Hatchel and Laguna Beach High School Principal Dr. Jason Allemann are named as the winners and presented with the “Golden Spatula”

Dr. Julie Hatchel, principal of El Morro Elementary noted that “we appreciate the partnership of SchoolPower, Lumberyard and LBUSD working together to support our students. We principals look forward to this annual event where we can serve our community in a creative way with food, fun, and lots of energy!”

The event raised $12,000 to support SchoolPower’s Grant Program, administration of the After School Program and family support services offered through the Family Resource Center.

Learn more about SchoolPower at www.lbschoolpower.org.



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