Make the McKenzie Connection!

“Invitation dinner” served in Leaburg

Leaburg invitation dinner

LEABURG: A new “restaurant” opened Sunday, featuring the culinary talents of Chef Carl Olson (formerly of the Holiday Farm Resort). A roomful of people enjoyed a salmon dinner, flavored throughout, from salad to dessert, with products from Walterville’s McKenzie River Lavender Farm.This eatery appeared in the 1910 historic house just west of the Ken Scott River Run Gallery in Leaburg. Scott is the owner of several buildings fronting a portion of the McKenzie Highway, as well as the back gardens, and has suggested the complex be recreated as the “McKenzie Cultural Center.”



Such a center could be the site of a museum, a visitor information site, a McKenzie Artist Showcase, a seminar/teaching facility, or other community functions.

The first venture was an “invitation dinner,” a concept that originated in Oregon, and has spread across the country. The dinners are held on private properties, a chef is featured, diners usually share communal tables, and there is a suggested donation for the evening (in this case $30-$35). Alcohol is not served, but guests may bring a bottle of wine. Each of the “Evening With Chef Olson” dinners will feature a theme, entertainment, a celebrity guest, or other attraction.

Carol Tannenbaum, owner of the McKenzie River Lavender Farm, told the group about her growing operation, the different types of plants and their properties, as well as the medicinal uses of lavender. She is a member of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce - more information about her farm can be found on the Chamber website.

Kimlyn Esser, interim Chamber President, took the opportunity to encourage other dinner guests to also become members, so that they, too, could benefit from similar exposure.

The next dinner is scheduled for December 2nd, beginning at 5 p.m. People who’d like to be put on the invitation list may write to [email protected]. The menu will include lamb shank, with a white bean ragout, which is a Chef Olson specialty. Theme and entertainment are still being developed.


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