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Publication Date: Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Come into their kitchens: Six Atherton homes featured in Dames' kitchen tour Come into their kitchens: Six Atherton homes featured in Dames' kitchen tour (March 05, 2003)

By Jane Knoerle
Almanac Staff Writer

Members of the Atherton Dames are going all out to raise funds for the restoration of Holbrook-Palmer Park's 1870 water tower. Their triple-threat benefit kicks off with a celebrity chef wine reception March 21 in the Atherton Appliance showroom kitchens.

On Friday, April 4, six Atherton kitchens will be on tour, ranging from one in a palatial three-story European-style mansion to a cozy kitchen in the home of a Cordon Bleu-trained cook.

The kitchens and dining rooms will be accessorized by Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Polo Ralph Lauren, Cornelia Park, Smith & Hawkins, Julie's Gifts, Colli Umbri, Home & Garden and more. There will be a chef in each kitchen preparing culinary specialties for sampling. Add gorgeous flower arrangements, music, and a light buffet and boutique at Holbrook-Palmer Park for a real crowd-pleaser.

There's more. The Dames will also have their new cookbook, "A Taste of Atherton," for sale. More than 450 recipes are printed in the cookbook, including those from members, chefs, governors, senators, and Olive Holbrook Palmer's personal cookbook. (Mrs. Holbrook Palmer willed her family estate, "Elmwood," now Holbrook-Palmer Park, to the town of Atherton in 1958.)

Dames vice president Joan Addicott, kitchen tour chairman, grew up in Atherton. "I remember playing in the park as a child," she says. Since returning to Atherton from Atlanta three years ago with her husband, Michael, she's taken on many jobs in the Dames, including co-chairing last year's fashion show, putting on a new residents night, and working on children's events.

"I have a lifetime of doing volunteer work," says Mrs. Addicott, who has two small children, Alec, 6, and Emily, 4. She has been involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, and La Leche League, and has volunteered at Phillips Brooks, her children's school.

Celebrity chef wine reception

Mrs. Addicott is finalizing plans for the celebrity chef wine reception, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Atherton Appliance showroom kitchens and new wine cellar, located at 695 Veterans Blvd. in Redwood City.

She has tentatively lined up chefs from Spago, the Village Pub, Marche, Olivio's, CreoLa, California Cafe, Buck's, the Duck Club, Nouveau Trattoria, Pasta?, Buca Restaurant and Fine Catering -- and private chef Anton Seckler -- to demonstrate their skills and prepare goodies to sample.

One of the chefs, Justin Perez of Buca Restaurant in Campbell, was invited by the James Beard Foundation to prepare dinner at the James Beard House in New York City January 31.

Tickets for the wine reception are $50 per person and may be purchased by calling 1-866-548-8687 or 568-6926, or online at

Kitchens on tour

Several chefs appearing at the wine reception will also be on hand April 4 in the kitchens on tour. Patricia Bainter, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu cooking academy in London, will be in her own Lloyden Park kitchen serving chocolate truffle samples.

Ms. Bainter is the chief chocolatier of her new business, Le Trufflier, which specializes in authentic chocolate truffles, not those golf ball size chocolate confections found at the mall. She first sold the candy at the Junior League holiday boutique last November.

Beautifully packaged in the European style (the boxes are from Holland), the truffles come in many flavors, including tangerine and ginger, espresso, tiramisu, and peppermint. The peanut butter and jelly truffle is made with a peanut butter ganache and a dollop of raspberry jam.

Ms. Bainter's kitchen is tailored to the needs of a professional. It is divided into three areas -- one a pastry center with marble counter tops and shelves to hold baking utensils. The six-burner Gaggenau stove is in the center. A large granite-topped center island with a stainless steel sink is used for vegetable preparation. To one side is an oversized farmhouse sink from Rohl of London.

Among the other tour kitchens the Almanac visited is one at the home of Jenny Redo and Kevin Brown. The couple live in a Mediterranean-style villa with their two small children. Mr. Brown loves to cook in his state-of-the-art kitchen and entertain in their ruby-red dining room. The round dining table makes for easy conversation and leisurely dining.

The kitchen cabinets have an antiqued French vanilla finish, granite counter tops and tumbled marble backsplash. An oversized center island has a limestone counter top and sage green shelves. The kitchen has a recessed ceiling, indirect lighting, a walk-in pantry, four-burner commercial range plus grill and griddle, two dishwashers and a three-compartment sink.

Meg and David Fried's arched two-story kitchen has a garden theme that blends with the pool and garden outside its windows. Wallpaper patterned with botanical fruits accents the white cabinets and green counter tops. A brass chandelier and wood floors add warmth to the room. The front of the refrigerator is covered with a fruit and flower market mural.

Another mural-covered refrigerator is a conversation piece in a new custom-designed Atherton home. The bookcase mural lists authors and titles from the owner's friends and relatives. The home will be decorated by Cornelia Park for the April 4 tour.

Sam Benzacar is a medical doctor who loves building houses, such as the new three-story European-style mansion featured on the Atherton kitchen tour. The 13,000-square-foot house has a spacious kitchen with Viking dishwasher and stove, Subzero refrigerator, glass-fronted cabinets, granite counter tops, tile backsplash, and terrazzo and wood floor. The bright kitchen with lemon yellow walls opens onto an herb garden and there is a walk-in chef's pantry. The two-room wine cellar will also be open to visitors.

The Atherton Kitchen Tour will feature six homes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 4. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. For tickets, visit or call 1-866-KitTour or 568-6926. The day of the event, tickets may be purchased at Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave., Atherton.


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