Chocolate Mousse and Kitchen Organization: Guest Chef Shares Culinary Advice as Seniors Prepare for March 9 Maitri Fundraiser Dinner

Recently, the twelfth grade culinary studies class at Mount Madonna School (MMS) had the “sweet treat” of preparing and sampling chocolate mousse under the guidance of guest chef David Jackman. Jackman is the owner of Chocolate the Restaurant in Santa Cruz.

“David had a lot of really great advice for how to keep our event well organized,” commented senior John Dias. “The knowledge he shared with us was clear and concise, and he encouraged us to prepare for the unexpected. Hearing this from an experienced person was awesome.”

“His knowledge on the subject of dinner hosting was quite insightful and extensive,” said classmate Samith Lakka. “David had an answer to any question we asked, and was very respectful when answering. It was clear he has been in the industry for quite some time.”

Beyond tips and techniques for melting dark chocolate and beating egg whites, Jackman emphasized the importance of Mise en Place or “everything in its place,” an invaluable lesson as the students prepare to host their fundraiser Maitri Dinner party in a couple weeks.

“It was really fun to learn new cooking skills that we can apply to our upcoming event,” said senior Priyanka Bharghavan. “We learned how to best organize our kitchen in order to make cooking easy and stress free.”

Tickets for the Maitri Dinner, planned for Saturday, March 9 from 5:00-9:00pm at the Corralitos Women’s Club are $50 and include live entertainment, appetizers, dinner and wine. To purchase tickets, contact any senior student or call Ariel at (831) 724-4489.

Under the guidance of teacher Sara Sobkoviak, students are planning the dinner and will be preparing and serving the meal.

For appetizers, the students will offer roasted broccoli and garlic with ricotta on crisp naan with hot honey; potato aloo tikki with tamarind chutney; and dates stuffed with goat cheese and spiced candied walnuts and pecans.

For the entrée/buffet there will be kale and arugula with julienne carrot, beet and cabbage salad and a lime/cilantro vinaigrette; creamy Indian butter chicken with ginger, tomatoes and chiles; and roasted harvest vegetables, cumin seeds with slivered toasted almonds served with mint yogurt; and aromatic Basmati rice.

To top it off, diners can choose from Black China Bakery
chocolate cake; harvest berry crumble; Penny Ice Creamery vanilla ice cream; and Julie’s Redwood Chai.

“We have many farms supporting us and making donations to our kitchen for this meal,” acknowledged Sobkoviak gratefully. “Thank you to Crystal Bay Farms, Live Earth Farm, Corralitos Market, Penny Ice Creamery, SunRidge Farms, Black China Bakery, Julie’s Flower Power Tea and the many parents and friends who have contributed.”

The event will also include a raffle and silent auction with amazing and fun prizes (attendance isn’t necessary to win raffle prizes). The students will donate proceeds from the event to four organizations they will be visiting during their learning journey to India this spring: the Sri Ram Ashram, Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, and the Tibetan Nuns Project.

Among the silent auctions items that will be offered are:

  • A seven-day summer stay at Kirkwood Mountain resort
  • Club Cruz volleyball training session
  • Gift cards to Pizza One, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant, The Hideout, Palapas, Aptos St. BBQ, and the Crow’s Nest
  • A two-night staycation in the redwoods, in a vintage-modernized cabin in Felton
  • Framed vintage Asian painting
  • Group surf lessons by Club Ed surf club
  • Family photography session by Santella Photography
  • Three tickets to Willy Wonka at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco
  • A two-volume book on American women in science
  • Women’s Roles in 19th Century America by Tiffany Wayne, Ph.D.
  • Dog walking, washing and photography

The junior class, who are preparing for their own learning journey to South Africa this summer, are offering childcare for the event. It’s $20 per child, with one sitter for every three kids. There will be a pasta dinner available for the kids. All proceeds will benefit South African charities. Teacher Lisa Catterall has graciously opened her home for the evening. There will be a shuttle to and from the dinner for the children. Please contact juniors Paola or Ceci if you have any questions, or call (831) 254-4411 to reserve a spot.

“Having someone like Chef David Jackman with his experience and knowledge in the food and service industry bring another perspective into the classroom was exciting and inspiring,” observed Sobkoviak. “As we prepare for our upcoming Maitri Fundraiser Dinner, this was an important step in giving the students a few more tools centered on organization, time management and creativity. This dinner will be a capstone in their culinary studies journey as they are preparing absolutely every part of the dinner from making connections with our local business, site preparation and strategies, menu planning, recipe testing and conversions, service management and over all execution of the dinner from start to finish. I’m so proud of how far these students have come and seeing them take ownership and feel pride in their work is incredible.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.