Cuisine del Sol & Special Olympics

Hi friends! There is something wonderful about the combination of good food and great causes. They just go together! Case in point, the Cuisine del Sol Cookbook that combines recipes from Los Angeles’ celebrated chefs and restaurants in support of Special Olympics Southern California! The Special Olympics of Southern Californias annual fundraising event, Pier del Sol has combined food, fun and sun all to benefit SOSC athletes for over 20 years. The CUISINE del Sol cookbook is a way to celebrate them and the history of the Pier del Sol event.

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Cuisine del Sol Cookbook. CUISINE DEL SOL is dedicated to all of the athletes of Special Olympics Southern California who demonstrate courage, joy, determination and strength on a daily basis, on and off the playing field. Among the local chefs who have lent their support over the years are Gino Angelini, Michael Cimarusti, Josiah Citrin, Brooke Williamson & Nick Roberts, Alain Giraud, Peter Garland, Sherry Yard, and Melissa’s Produce Chef Tom Fraker.

There are so many delicious recipes in this book! The recipe I choose to make first (because there will be more than one!) was Chef Philip Kastel’s “Aunt Ronda’s Monkey Bread.” This recipe is from the Pier del Sol event in 2007. Why did I choose this recipe? Monkey Bread is one of the few sweet things we were allowed to have growing up and we were only allowed to eat it when we were camping! It was a family tradition for mornings around the campfire. So, I figured why not merge two wonderful things? Good food and a great cause! Plus, selfishly, I get to have Monkey Bread without setting up a tent and show my support for Special Olympics here in Southern California! This is a double-win in my book.

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

Chef Kastel oversees culinary operations, menu creation and new product development for The Grill on the Alley, Daily Grill, Public School and The Ritz Prime Seafood in Newport Beach. He starts his monkey bread recipe with butter, brown sugar and pre-made buttermilk biscuits. The butter and brown sugar get melted together, while the biscuits are quartered and tossed in a cinnamon sugar mix.

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

Nuts line the bottom of a bundt pan and the sugar coated biscuits get added on top. Chef Kastel layers the biscuits with more nuts and cinnamon sugar, before pouring the brown sugar and butter mixture over the everything!

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

When it’s done cooling for about 10 minutes, a plate is placed over the top of the bundt pan, then quickly inverted.

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

This is my grandmothers pan. It’s been with me for years and is my favorite bundt pan! Just think of the worn spots as love patches for the hundreds and hundreds of cakes that have been made with this pan!

Cuisine del Sol Special Olympics Pier del Sol

Once the pan is removed, Chef Kastel adds a delicious cream cheese icing over the top. I choose not to do that, because I felt the sugar content was high enough and this recipe is perfect without cream cheese! Sorry Chef!

Aunt Ronda's Monkey Bread

From the Cuisine del Sol Cookbook, Chef Philip Kastel shares a delicious and simple Monkey Bread recipe from the 2007 Pier del Sol event, benefitting Special Olympics of Southern California!

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 16 homestyle, uncooked, pre-made buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan with butter

Melt butter and brown sugar together and set aside.

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces, totaling 64 pieces. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and toss each piece of biscuit dough in the cinnamon sugar.

Lightly sprinkle 1/4 cup nuts on the bottom of the pan. Arrange one layer of cinnamon sugar dough in the bottom of the pan, followed by 1/4 cup of nuts.

Place cinnamon sugar dough in pan until finished.

Top with remaining nuts and pour warm sugar mixture over the top of the biscuits. Bake for 25 minutes.

Monkey Bread will have a golden to dark brown color when ready.

Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes and invert onto plate. Serve warm.

Monkey Bread will keep, well wrapped in plastic, for 3-5 days.

This delicious Cuisine del Sol Cookbook is available through Other incredible recipes from the book include: Chef Tom Fraker’s Watermelon Radish Tacos and Fall Harvest Salad with Sparkling Cider Vinaigrette, Chef Stephanie Franz’s Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake with Cardamom Sauce, Chef Neal Frasers RedBird Posole, Richard Pink (Yes, of the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs!!) Polk-Bacon burrito dog, Chef Sherry Yards Profiteroles with chocolate sauce and coffee gelato and many, many more!!

I highly recommend getting a copy of Cuisine del Sol. You’ll be supporting Special Olympics and enjoying years of delicious recipes all in one place!

Pier del Sol is an exciting and unique day of fun that will be held on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 at the historic Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park. At the only food & spirit festival fused with a backyard private amusement park experience, attendees will enjoy an exclusive VIP brunch featuring mouthwatering tastings from over 35 of L.A.’s top chefs and restaurants, complete with a beach top beer & wine garden, entertainment, music, arts & crafts, and more. This year’s Honorary Chef is Gino Angelini, from one of the area’s hottest restaurants, Angelini Osteria. The Pier del Sol honoree for 2017 will be Pacific Park CEO Mary Ann Powell. For tickets and more information, visit:

Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities through sports, health, and leadership programs. Special Olympics helps athletes become more independent, build self-esteem, and live healthier lives. They inspire people to open their hearts and create more accepting and inclusive communities. All Special Olympics programs are free to the athletes and their families. Learn more at:

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the Cuisine del Sol Cookbook to review. I did not receive any other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

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