Sequoia Productions

November 02, 2006 20:30 ET

Cheryl Cecchetto, L.A.'s Top Event Planner, Celebrates Thanksgiving With Family, Food and Passion

LOS ANGELES, CA--(CCNMatthews - November 02, 2006) - Cheryl Cecchetto, Los Angeles' preeminent event planner and owner of Sequoia Productions, is best known for planning the Oscar Governors' Balls and other notable events. When not in the office, she enjoys celebrating holidays with her family. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. "I love Thanksgiving! It's about family and coming together to cook and give thanks," explained Cecchetto. She and her husband, Michael, daughter Mia and son Milan, celebrate the holiday with their own special traditions. The Cecchetto-Michauds participate in a food drive for the needy each Thanksgiving. Cheryl and her children shop for food. As a family they spend the day creating box dinners. After preparation is done, they go through the streets of Los Angeles and give the dinners to people who would not otherwise have a Thanksgiving dinner. For them it is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday together and give to those who are less fortunate.

Going beyond her charitable efforts, Cheryl and her business partner, Gary Levitt, have infused years of culinary experience to create innovative ideas that serve as the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving tradition. Cheryl recommends, "substituting sweet potato pie for pumpkin pie. You can also set your own traditions. I serve Cioppino as the first course, and I always serve my mother's delicious turkey stuffing. If you are in need of a new beverage, a recipe for Sangria made with cinnamon, apples and Patron can be your signature drink for the day." Gary suggests making a pumpkin soup that can be served in mini carved out pumpkins. Cecchetto recommends, "However you approach creating your Thanksgiving feast, you can always spice it up by adding different recipes to the menu." The following is list of some very successful culinary creations.

Cheryl's Cioppino

Part 1
3/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
2 or 3 Bunches of green onion, including top
3 Green peppers, seeded and diced
4 - 6 Whole large garlic cloves, crushed
1 Bunch chopped Italian parsley

Saute the above ingredients for 20 minutes.

Part 2
1 can Tomato puree (8 oz.)
2 cans Tomato sauce (16 oz.)
16 oz. White dry wine
8 oz. Water
8 oz. Clam juice
4 Bay lay
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Pepper/Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
Optional 1/2 tsp Italian course crushed chilis
Fresh basil


20 Shrimp
20 Clams
20 Mussels - Scrub and discard any open mussels - debeard
1 lb. King crab/cut in 1" pieces
20 Scallops
2 cups Squid, cut up
1 lb. Monk

Begin by sauteing Part 1 slowly.
Wait 20 minutes and add the garlic to the liquid portion.
Then add Part 2 to Part 1. Cook for 1 hour on low boil.


Put in mussels and clams to start for 10 minutes. (If either of these don't open by the time the fish is cooked, throw out.)

Add all other fish except shrimp for 5 minutes. Turn off, let cool and put in fridge overnight. Heat up slowly adding shrimp.

Cheryl's Mother's Very Simple Turkey Stuffing

Saute chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and parsley in oil and butter (use your Cuisinart!). Make a lot of the above, enough to make 3 cups after cooked. Saute slowly, 10-15 minutes. Add a dash of salt, pepper, thyme, and sage but not too much. You can always add more when you add the bread.

Cut old-fashioned white bread or hallah into 1/2" cubes. Dry out in the oven.

Start mixing bread into your saute mixture and add chicken broth to keep it moist. Taste as you go along. This is how our parents cooked! Add more salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. The stuffing should end up in clumps but shouldn't be wet. Now you're ready to stuff your turkey!

Gary's Pumpkin Soup

6 Tablespoons of butter
2 large onions
1 pound canned pumpkin puree'
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup cream
Saute' onions in butter until soft and slightly caramelized.
Mix in pumpkin puree', chicken broth, salt, and spices.
Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer, until heated through. Stir
Puree' the mixture in blender until smooth.
Return to soup pot and add cream and cook until heated through.
Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serves 6 to 8

Mom's Sangria (from Patron)

Red Delicious apple slices
2 small oranges cut into thin quarters
12 strawberries, sliced
2 lemons cut into thin quarters
12 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
12 oz fresh lemon juice
6 oz simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
8 oz Pyrat XO Reserve
8 oz Citronge
2 bottles of Spanish red wine (Rioja), 750 ml each

Method: Place ingredients (excluding 7-UP) into a large glass container, cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready, pour into ice filled pitcher 2/3 full. Add fresh sliced fruit and top with 7-UP, stir gently to mix. Serve in ice-filled wine glasses.

For more information on Sequoia Productions, visit or call 310-397-1477.

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