People doing very good things

Kudos to chefs teaching kids, people making postcard art, philanthropic teens and Tin Roof deliciousness

Savannah Berg’s lovely watercolor postcard of a heart.

Savannah Berg’s lovely watercolor postcard of a heart.

Photos by christine g.k. lapado-breglia

Catching up with Chef Richie and Chef Alex
As part of local K-8 public charter school Sherwood Montessori’s ongoing community-service mission (à la Maria Montessori, creator of the Montessori method of education), the school’s cooking and gardening teacher, chef Richie Hirshen, and his “longtime assistant/super-volunteer” (as Hirshen put it in an email), chef Alex Cilensek, hosted a group from nearby Rose Scott Open-Structure School on Oct. 2 for a “kitchen-garden clinic.”

Nine Rose Scott students, and four adults, including school director Cindy Carlson, planted swiss chard seeds in the school garden, made a pizza from scratch with organic whole-wheat dough and fresh tomato-basil sauce, ate Massa Organics brown rice cooked in the school’s new solar oven, and drank strawberry-banana smoothies made with organic apple juice.

“The kids stretched the dough, spread the sauce, topped the pizza with mozzarella and Sherwood-made ricotta, cut the fruit, pushed the blender buttons and ate to their hearts’ delight,” said Hirshen. “A lovely time in the neighborhood.”

More catching up
I would be remiss if I did not provide news of the recent Write Away: Postcards with a Purpose show that was held at 1078 Gallery Oct. 3-5. According to exhibition co-organizer Erin Wade, a total of 168 artfully decorated postcards, submitted by people of all ages, graced the gallery’s walls. Wade, a local artist who teaches at Butte College, also had her Introduction to Digital Photography students submit entries: a striking bunch of mini-artworks created in part by computer-generating random images onto the cards.

Claudia Dussault-Howell’s intricate mosaic postcard made with dyed bits of eggshell features an adorable pen-and-ink/watercolor inset of birds laughing.

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Every postcard, in fact, was a mini-artwork. It was a delight to study each one, from the simple-yet-striking watercolor of a heart (pictured) by young Savannah Berg to the impressive, obviously time-consuming card created by Claudia Dussault-Howell from tiny pieces of dyed eggshell, watercolor paint, and pen and ink (also pictured).

Local watercolorist Amber Palmer weighed in with a photographic card of a painting of a chili pepper; line-drawing artist extraordinaire John V. McMackin offered “Daffodil Memory,” depicting a meadow-like scene; Ryan Voigtman made a striking card featuring a thought-provoking image of a hooded individual; and Zoe Karch—who played Lumière in the Blue Room Young Company’s recent (fabulous) production of Beauty and the Beast Jr.—and her mom, Sharon DeMeyer, each entered postcards as well.

Some (myself included) entered a series of cards: Peter Hogue’s expressive series of five cards, Russ Burnham’s moody red-hued series, and local artist X13’s cool Chico-comic series.

The show was wonderful. I hope 1078 makes it an annual event.

Nominate a philanthropic teen
I received a press release from the The Helen Diller Family Foundation announcing it is accepting nominations, through Jan. 5, for the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Up to 10 Jewish teenagers who show “exceptional leadership and visionary actions that are helping to repair the world”—five from California and five from other states—will be awarded $36,000 each, the press release said.

Go to to learn more and fill out a nomination form.

A perfect pairing:
A couple of madeleines and a cup of hot coconut-oolong tea from Tin Roof Bakery & Café (627 Broadway).