Giving BC a touch of class

Amber T. Troupe
April 13, 2011
Filed under Features

The Bakersfield College wine and food festival held its fourth annual event to showcase BC’s culinary students as well as provide a serene social environment for wine tasters.

Adriana Selenas and Genie Navarro are employed at the BC Foundation and are both a part of the Kern County Latina Leaders. That is how they heard about the gathering.

“This is our first time attending this and the food is wonderful with a wide selection of wines from across California. It is turning out to be a very low-key social environment,” Selenas said.

Navarro discussed how she enjoyed it and would bring more people to next year’s event.

“I will definitely tell more people about [the event] and encourage them to attend. I would attend again. I like the way they have it set up. We took a break from tasting the wines for food and then we’re going to go back again,” Navarro stated.

This year’s decor had to be altered due to the threat of rain. The festivities are usually held outdoors in front of the gym, but this year the festival occupied the huddle area in the gym where the food was spread out in an organized manner.

Guests were charged an entrance fee of $50 in advance and $60 at the door. This included unlimited food and wine tasting as well as light entertainment from the BC Jazz Ensemble. The BC cheerleading squad, in full cheerleading attire, escorted the guests from their vehicles to the door.

Mike Stepanovich, the executive director of the BC Foundation, was the organizer of this event. He had contacts from previously hosting the wine tasting event at Cal State Bakersfield that he brought over to BC.

Stepanovich explained how many state wineries were present at the event’s fourth annual expo.

“There is a total of 61 wineries from all across California in attendance tonight,” Stepanovich stated.

The majority of the wineries present are long-time attendees like Hope Valley Wine, who has volunteered for this wine tasting ceremony every year the event has been held at BC.

Kristen Lane has been working for Hope Valley Wines for the six years and this would make it her third time attending the wine and food festival.

“I have been volunteering for this tasting event since it began. I come from Porterville to showcase the wine we have. The wines are already here and they just send me over here to offer the wine at our booth,” Lane said.

This year’s attendance equaled up to 400 people compared to last year’s roster of a little over 500 guests. Hannah Egland the donor relations’ coordinator at BC was at the forefront of creating this gala.

“Mike Stepanovich has all the winery contacts from before, but I handle all the organizing and preparing for this event,” Egland explained.

“It started out as just a wine tasting fundraiser and it expanded to become this large wine and food festival which gives our culinary students a chance to advertise their skills,” said Egland.

Jana Fidler-Wiggers, the culinary arts department’s teacher’s assistant has been catering this event since its conception.

“We all coordinate the menu and set up together myself, chef Davis and chef Coil. Each year finger foods are the choice and the culinary cooks are required to do this event as part of their grade.”

The event lasted past the scheduled time at 7 p.m., as guests were still socializing and enjoying the events’ calm environment, wine and finger foods.

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