Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 13, 2004 · Page 8
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 8

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Page 8
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8 - SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 2004 LOCAL NEWS THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Culinary Continued from Page 1 which would end with a scrumptious meal prepared by Ash and Mendocino College culinary students. "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well," Ash said, quoting Virginia Woolf. "When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat," Ash said, quoting Mark Twain. He also quoted Benjamin Franklin when he said, "Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Celeste Cotarakos, a Mendocino College culinary student, said she will be happy if the culinary program at the college succeeds, and she thinks it will. "I don't think it gets much better than this ... to cook with somebody of this caliber and stand in the presence of the master," Cotarakos said as she took a quick break from the kitchen outside in the sunshine. "What is thrilling for me today is to be standing here next to somebody I have admired for 19 years in our industry," said Jennifer Schmitt, Mendocino College culinary arts coordinator, also outside, though only an aroma's length away from the kitchen. Schmitt explained that the college was executing the day's luncheon, using Ash's recipes. She said Ash and Bridget Harrington, Fetzer Vineyards' executive chef, gave her a list of recipes to decide on a few weeks back, and the college culinary class has been trying them out ever since. "The recipes are so good," Schmitt said rolling her eyes as if in ecstasy. "They are so complete and all the ingredients work ... the flavors work," she said. The flavors, or the six senses of taste, are what Ash talked about during a cooking demonstration given to the students after they returned to the pavilion to tables now set with fresh cut flowers* white linen napkins and silverware. Three glasses were also part of each place setting: one was filled with ice water; the other two remained empty for food and beverage pairings to follow. "In America, we eat in a mindless way," Ash began, as he stood at a stove underneath overhead mirrors so everyone in the room could view the cooking demonstrations he and Harrington would give. "An interesting thing to think about is how we taste food ... In school we were taught that there are four senses of taste. There really are, if you talk to other people in the world, two more senses of taste," he said. Wine Amy Wellnitz/The Dally Journal John Ash with his new book "Cooking One on One." In addition to the basic four - sweet, sour, salty and bitter ~ there are also pepper and Umani, Ash said. Pepper is the fifth sense of taste, he said. "The sixth one is a fascinating one ... the Japanese first described it as 'Umani,'" Ash said, noting Umani refers to the savoriness of food, or the mouthwatering effect it can have. "Any dish, to be interesting to us, must have at least three of those six basic food flavors to work," Ash said, noting his ^grandmother knew this instinctively when she made her apple pies with the traditional sweet filling, but added just a dash of ground white pepper. He said she also added apple vinegar to her pie crust. Ash held the attention of his pupils as he led them from the discussion of the six senses of taste to the health benefits of using healthy oils and different varieties of mushrooms. And then, as he was about to end the conversation and begin cooking, Ash added: "What we are looking for with food and all we do in the kitchen is epiphany ... (When food) is so overwhelming and so joyous you fall to the ground ... You speak in tongues ... because you are so overwhelmed with the (taste of the food)," Ash said. MARCH 2004 Spring & Garden Don't miss the opportunity to target potential customers with this timely and informative section, featuring photos and stories on the home and garden scene. Publishes Sunday, March 28th in The Ukiah Daily Journal Tuesday March 30th in the Journal Sampler And on our Website Space/copy deadline: March 17th 5pm Call your account executive today for more information on this specialized publication. The Ukiah DA1LTOOURNAL 468-3500 Continued from Page 1 market," where the average is "$5 a bottle in supermarkets." When the American market shifted when the tech boom bubble burst, "the Australians were there," Turrentine said. "We didn't want to sacrifice margin and ceded control." Now, international companies are the order of the day, Turrentine explained, with imports undercutting the market share. "All major wine companies have become importers. The home court advantage is now gone...And we're toe to toe with lower land and labor costs (in other countries)," he said. "We compete right here and in the world, and here is the most lucrative market in the world." Once upon a time, retailers had to carry a certain kind of wine, "but now there is not really any must-have brand," Turrentine said, adding that some of the big-box chains like Costco have capitalized on this and "really shifted the control" of the market. "When you join Costco, you're letting Costco limit your choices" for the opportunity to get great deals, he said. "It's a great deal (for wine sellers) if you're in, but if you don't get in, you'll miss the market. And, there's no brand Costco says they have to have. The control is with Costco and they're able to squeeze the margin. It puts pressure on what margins are obtainable." So Turrentine said important areas for the wine industry in California to focus on are controlling costs and improving quality; the capital from the previous boom was spent on production, with "little research on lowering costs The Silicon Valley boom was the largest wealth increase in history, and the demographics matched up with premium wine consumers, We're not likely to see that again,' BILLTURRENTINE or expanding the market." "But California is blessed with great soils, great climate and great minds," he added optimistically. And hope lies in another area of the market as well - the up and coming "Millennial Generation" (age 21-27), is showing "a lot more interest in wine than any young generation ever had," Turrentine said. This is different from Generation X, which some studies have shown to be unenthusiastic about the juice of the vine. The Millennial Generation has shown an interest in wine and in "spending on premium wine," Turrentine said. And again, signs show that the "Harvest of 02" was the bottom point in the four- to five-year "manic-depressive wine cycle," Turrentine said. "In '98 and '99, they kept planting going on late in the cycle, and that will keep the recovery slower...but '03 saw a little start of the recovery in chardonnay and merlot. You would not have seen it with cabernet." Planting when the acreage of a grape variety is low and making contracts for when prices go up is the thing to do for grape growing, Turrentine said. "The irony is, that would even out the cycle if people did that. There wouldn't be boom or bust, as well as deny strategic opportunities. But there's really no danger of that happening, because there's few businesses organized enough to plan eight to 10 years in advance ~ it's hard to believe it would ever be 'that bad' or 'that good.'" With the four-year length of time to bring a new vineyard into production, Turrentine remarked that "few businesses have that lag time," like beer, which could back off on excess barley and hops, for example, in 30-days' tune. "With the wine business, it's four years...And when there's too much, you hope your neighbor pulls his out, but you're not going to pull out yours." And the lower prices recently in the wine section have really not brought in that many new consumers of wine. "Charles Shaw has brought in a few, but mostly it's taken the market from the higher prices," Turrentine said. The organic wine movement is "breaking into the mainstream," he said, "but there's not much on the bulk market right now." He said interest in England "could change that," but a new law requiring processing facilities to be registered organic could be a problem. As for genetically modified wine grapes, Turrentine said he "didn't know the answer. "Certainly there is a core of consumers with a passion for this issue," he said. "(Measure H) has certainly put Mendocino County on the map for them." Make the News a Part of Your Children's Education The Ukiah Your ONLY Local News Source. ^WC'TVMT ^IMPPPpW*•

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