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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 

Local Chef, Teresa Fanucchi and the Immaculate Heart Center

are highlighted in the Los Angeles Times.

People visit retreats for many reasons, seeking guidance, rest or refuge from a hectic life. Whatever it is they are hungering for, all of the guests at the Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal in Montecito at least go away well-fed, thanks to the highly lauded meals of Teresa Fanucchi.

Her recipes, and the dramatic history of the group that employs her, the Los Angeles-based Immaculate Heart Community, inspired "A Place at the Table," a cookbook published last year by Elevated Lab Press. This spiral-bound gem offers seasonal meal plans and some 90 recipes, many based on vegetables, fruit and herbs from the gardens and orchards on the property.

...Since her days as a holistic culinary student at Bauman College in Northern California, Fanucchi has been interested in what she calls the spirituality of cooking. She is mindful of the labor and energy involved in growing ingredients before they reach her hands: "I try to bring an awareness and a respect for that in my cooking."

....The daughter of a pistachio farmer, Fanucchi, 41, grew up in Bakersfield, and meals often came from the family gardens. You could say she has returned to her roots, with produce growing just steps away from her current work kitchen.

"It's really lovely. When it's that close and that fresh, there's such a beauty in the simplicity of the food," she says.

A case in point is her watermelon salad, where three ingredients — olive oil, lime juice and fresh mint — enliven the fruit in a surprising way. - Latte Times

You can purchase "A Place at the Table" for $35 at www.immaculateheartcenter.org/

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