I wrote a profile of Mark Malicki a few years ago ("Hit the Jackpot," Oct. 12, 2011) after becoming a fan of his cooking at Casino Bar and Grill. The restaurant-within-in-a bar was my favorite place to take friends from out of town for a slice of West County food and style. But as much as Malicki's food, I was struck by his humble and gracious manner.
So last week I was sad to hear he's suffering from late-stage Crohn's disease and undergoing extensive surgery. But it's been great to see Malicki's friends and supporters in the food and wine industry rally around him to help. There's a benefit dinner Jan. 31 at Casino. The three-course meal is being catering by chefs Brian Anderson (Bistro 29), Josh Silvers (Jackson's) and Jenny Malicki (Zazu). Donors read like a who's who of Sonoma County restaurants and wineries: Acre Coffee, Backyard, Farmhouse Inn, Atascadero Creek Winery, Guayaki, K&L Bistro, Peter Lowell's, Merry Edwards Winery and many others.
For more info, go to www.facebook.com/events/1543325869241895.
If you can't make the dinner, consider donating to his medical fund at www.gofundme.com/ka1iyg. Malicki is a generous spirit. Let's give back to him.