On our way home from San Diego we stopped for lunch at Cafe Champagne, Thornton Winery's five star restaurant. There we met Steve Thornton who introduced us to his new chef, Alfred Fierro Jr. When we learned that Alfred was a graduate of Riverside College Culinary Arts Program our "cup did indeed run over"
For here was a story to be told. For many years this writer has been scholarship chairman for Southern California Restaurant Writers responsible for awarding student scholarships to Community Colleges in the region.
We have known Bagher Moghaddam, Master Chef and director of the Riverside College Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program, for many years and have great respect for his skills and ability in preparing his students in their chosen field. And have awarded some of his students with scholarships.
One of our strongest supporters of the Restaurant Writers Scholarship Program, which is under the name Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund, was Steve Thornton's mother, Sally Thornton who passed away last year.
This background made the luncheon a memorable event as we enjoyed a fresh beet salad followed by sliced filet mignon with an excellent Thornton blended wine of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
This summer, once again and now in its 28th year, the Thornton Jazz Festival is taking place each weekend.
As for Cafe Champagne its reputation as a five star restaurant is secure with much talent in the kitchen, a well trained, talented wait staff and many quality Thornton wines matching interesting menu items.