What began as an experiment 28 years ago has now turned into an annual celebration of the best and most unique foods and homes in Malibu. The 28th Annual Cook’s Tour is all set for May 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kay Gabbard, Director of Malibu Methodist Nursery School, organizes the event each year with the help of both current and former parents of the school. Proceeds help fund the Malibu Methodist Nursery School.
“Our goal has always been to create a diverse and safe play and learning environment for preschool age children and their families,” Gabbard said. “And the Cook’s Tour helps us to make that goal a reality.”
The tour began 28 years ago when a Malibu Methodist Nursery School parent went on a home tour in Venice and decided Malibu should have a similar tour featuring Malibu homes with fabulous kitchens, as well as local chefs and restaurants.
Guests purchase a ticket, or “passport,” and pick it up from the Malibu Methodist Nursery School in the morning. They then travel from home to home in their own cars and learn about the unique history of the home, while sampling local foods.
Although the specific identity of each home is kept secret until the day of the event, the four homes selected for this year are different in architecture and in ambiance and décor, Gabbard said. They are full of interesting art, photography, unique furniture pieces, natural gardens and each has its own story of why the homeowners chose what they chose.
One of the home’s featured this year is a certified wildlife habitat providing water, shelter and food for native species, including bees, hummingbirds and foxes and also features a bubbling koi pond.
The Cook’s Tour also features a home remodeled by local and renowned architect Ed Niles. Another home is a newly remodeled California classic decorated by a local decorator in calming and light filled spaces. The fourth home featured is a home full of historical photos and memorabilia that will bring back emotional memories to all who are able to view it, Gabbard said.
“The tour homes sometimes belong to current or alumni school parents,” Gabbard said. “Sometimes they belong to neighbors or people who have gone on our tour and volunteer their homes. Sometimes local Realtors help us find interesting homes.”
Antonio Alessi, owner of Tra di Noi and the soon-to-open Mangia at the Trancas Country Market, will be one of the chefs at this year’s event, offering Italian food sampling. All three of his children went to Malibu Methodist.
“The way they have it structured with the passports and all,” Alessi said, “people who participate in the event can enjoy a fantastic full day in Malibu, visiting four spectacular homes and sampling four different styles of food from Malibu restaurants and caterers.”
This will be Alessi’s eighth year participating in the tour.
“It’s a spectacular event, none like it,” Alessi said. “The 300-400 guests are all very excited and almost all repeat and look forward to it each year.”
Michelle Jackson, owner of Michelle’s Malibu Meals, will be making a salad at one of the homes this year. Michelle’s catering business specializes in healthy, seasonal and organic items. Her father owned Alice’s on the Malibu Pier, where Jackson spent most of her time helping out.
Jackson recently returned from a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where she taught cooking classes to street children as part of an organization called Made in the Streets. Jackson’s son is an alumnus of Malibu Methodist.
“I think it’s always nice to have things that are tradition in a community,” Jackson said. “I love Malibu Methodist and think it’s a wonderful nursery school.”
“We appreciate the energy and support that the local community gives our event to benefit our children and thank the endless number of folks who have made it happen for the last 27 years,” Gabbard said.
Tickets can be purchased at www.malibucookstour.org for $65 each. Tickets with maps can be picked up at the Malibu Methodist Nursery School between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on May 10 at 30128 Morning View Drive. Please contact 310.457.5144 for more information.