The Monterey peninsula in California has a special meaning to both of us. It’s the site of our engagement and this past weekend we had the chance to retrace and reminisce some of those memories as Kim and I had an unforgettable time at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival as representatives of Foodbuzz. This food and wine event had it all. Famous celebrity chefs? Check. Great food? Check. Great Wine and Cheese? Check. Amazing venue? Check.
Immediately upon entering the massive tent, we were greeted by Chef Jacques Pepin, a culinary giant and gentleman. Ladies, be warned–if he says your name in his rustic French accent, be prepared to swoon. Just ask our friends Sherry Page of Culinary Getaways and Christine of Fresh Local and Best.
With 60 celebrity chefs, there was no shortage of star power. Fleur de Lys chef/owner Hubert Keller was just as calm and dignified as he appeared on Top Chef Master. Another Top Chef Master alum and Bottega Chef Michael Chiarello was electric–and yes, that’s Kim sitting on his lap–I’m sooo jealous–of Kim. Iron Chef Morimoto was so nice–he autographed our Foodbuzz apron and wrote a Japanese phrase–can anyone tell us what he wrote? 🙂
But if you’re more fan of Top Chef you wouldn’t be disappointed. There was no shortage of former Top Chef alumni. We gave a hootie-hoo to the braised halibut cheeks in ginger broth by Carla Hall of Alchemy Caterers in DC. Fabio Vivani of Firenze Osteria LA was engaging as ever with a roasted mushroom and bacon soup and Hosea Rosenberg of Jax Fish House dished out a spicy buffalo short rib. Jaime Lauren of Absinthe, SF dished out delicious anchovy bruschetta.
There were so many great bites from so many great chefs, its hard to mention them all but we’ll hightlight a few that kept us coming back for more. The spicy scallop and crab ceviche by Cal Stamenov of Marinus at Bernadus Lodge was fantastic. The Kobe beef pastrami from Spago by Wolfgang Puck was a great bite. Ken Frank of La Toque’s soy braised pork belly with Asian slaw was a great mixture of flavors. Iron Chef Morimoto of Morimoto served a delicious pork with endives.
Oyster and caviar bar was amazing and provided by the California Caviar Company. Roasted gulf shrimp with avocado salsa by Robert Del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie was succulent and spectacular. The best table scape was a truffle garden with various desserts sprouting by Ben Spungin also of Marinus at Bernadus Lodge.
We’re noobs when it comes to wine and cheese so luckily we were able to attend a wine and cheese pairing session by Laura Werlin, author of Cheese Essentials. Interactive, funny, and informative–Werlin really knows how to work a crowd. The Tillamook vintage sharp white cheddar was our favorite and made for the best grilled cheese sandwich (pork belly, apple chutney, and the white cheddar) we’ve ever had.
Other fun activities included a fashion show and free massages–it is the luxurious Pebble Beach community after all. It was great to meet the folks at Foodbuzz again at their hopping media lounge. They also had some awesome aprons used by us and Spicy Green Mango to get some great autographs. It was crowded and hard to find people, but certainly plenty of food and no really long lines. It was great to run into Linda and Barneby of One Scoop at a Time, but we didn’t get a chance to meet up with SippitySup and Oyster Food and Culture, two great blogs with both enjoy.
The great thing about this festival is that after you’re all done indulging in all the epicurean delights and rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs, you can frolic in the sands of Pebble Beach and take in the scenic 17 mile drive. Amazing food. Amazing fun. And amazing that we could even jump after all the fabulous food and wine.