Malibu Seen

Jennifer Naylor is having a berry merry time with her hot, haute helpers at Cal Spirit.


By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

What better way to spend a splendid summer’s day than on the grounds of the glorious Ken Roberts estate with Wolfgang Puck and a contingent of top tastemakers? Hundreds of finicky eaters jumped on that delicious invite and merrily made their way to the top of Mandeville Canyon for an all-out grazing extravaganza.

It was a scorcher to be sure that left those without parasols or wide-brimmed hats scurrying in search of shade. Despite the strong rays, guests were determined to stay focused on the task at hand-feasting on fare prepared by the city’s finest chefs.

Granita’s Jennifer Naylor looked picture perfect, dolled up in a gingham headscarf, white tank and lobster red sunburn, which matched her beautifully berried menu. Naylor created a sensational summer sampler of cold strawberry soup with crème fraiche and black pepper strawberry chips, classic strawberry shortcake, and lavender skewered grilled strawberries with vanilla ice cream and aged balsamic. For Puck fans, it was paradise.

“If you like Wolfgang, you’re in the right place,” she proclaimed, “just keep walking.”

Next to Granita’s staging area, Chinois on Main’s Luis Diaz was serving up a storm with tangy Thai snapper, spicy poached shrimp and a delectable lamb coated in a ginger bread crust.

“Look at all this food,” exclaimed Spago’s dessert diva Sherry Yard. “It’s all so beautiful.” Well, it didn’t taste bad either.

A few paces down from Chinois, Vert was offering up a French onion soup that took you straight to a Left Bank bistro, grilled bell pepper crostini and sirloin burgers topped with gorgonzola.

Other kitchen artists taking part included Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu, Suzanne Goin of Lucques, Bill Braken of the Belvedere, Josh Citrin of Melisse and Josie Le Balch of Josie. At center stage, a ’60s-style surf band strummed away with an acoustical version of “Boys of Summer,” while California wine makers served their best Cabs, Merlots and Chardonnays.

All this food, wine and song were for a very good cause of course. It was all part of the America Cancer Society’s annual California Spirit outdoor celebration. Wolfgang Puck, business partner Barbara Lazaroff and Paramount chief Sherry Lansing started the event back when Ronald Reagan was president, and over the course of 19 years, have raised millions for cancer research, prevention and patient services. Playa Vista Chief Steve Soboroff was this year’s big honoree. The fabulous food feast pulled in another $800,000 for life-saving ACS programs.