Stars, Diamonds and Mollie’s Meatballs

The turkey meatball has been very good to Mollie Ahlstrand. Last month, the owner of Coast Village restaurant Trattoria Mollie and her sous chef, Eduardo Carranza, were invited to Palm Beach, Florida to cook for the All Star Celebrity Polo Challenge, a fundraiser that featured singer/actress Hilary Duff and musician John Legend.

Never one to forget the kids, Mollie also taught a group of 25 children, ages 4 to 10 years old, some cooking tips at the polo club. As a bonus, Mollie presented a trophy to Argentinean polo legend Adolfo Cambiaso in front of thousands of polo fans.

“I was up on stage presenting the trophy and I heard people chanting ‘Mollie! Mollie!’” Mollie recalls. “It was Ambassador Glen A. Holden and his wife, who have been customers in Montecito. It was very exciting.”

Later on, Mollie was honored with the Star Diamond Award signed by notable chefs Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni. Although she was honored in Florida, Mollie was quick to acknowledge the people she believes made this all happen.

“I want to thank all my loyal customers for their support,” she says. “My family and staff are the best. And finally to Oprah, for making my turkey meatball so well known.”

Trattoria Mollie (565-9381) is located at 1250 Coast Village Road.

El Montecito Eighth-graders Are Headed for Honduras

On May 18, El Montecito School sent its eighth grade class to the island of Roatan in Honduras to help refurbish a youth center. Amber Smith, the eighth grade teacher at the school, says she first went to Roatan in 1999 to help build homes after Hurricane Mitch.

“This team from El Montecito School will now have the opportunity to help fulfill the vision of turning a building into a youth center, and transform it into an inviting, youth-friendly atmosphere,” says Smith.

In addition to helping refurbish the building, the kids will be giving back in other ways as well.

“The team has decided that anything they enjoy there in Honduras, they will give back to the community two-fold,” says Sarah Higgins, El Montecito development coordinator. “For example, after their meals, they will deliver food to those in need. The team will also purchase mattresses to sleep on during their stay, which they will donate at the end of their trip. One day will be a beach day, in which local kids who are not often able to go to the beach will be invited. The team will purchase snorkels for the day, and then donate those as well.”

Composer Nominated for Drama Desk Award

Montecito composer Peter Melnick, whose credits include Steve Martin’s film “L.A. Story,” was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music for his work on the musical, “Adrift in Macao.”

Composing music runs deep in Mr. Melnick’s family as his mother, Linda Rodgers, was a composer and his grandfather was the legendary Richard Rodgers, a composer who published 900 songs and 40 Broadway musicals and notably partnered up with Oscar Hammerstein III.

Broadway beauty Kristin Chenoweth hosted the Drama Desk Awards on May 20 in New York.