Category Archives: Events

Join us at Cuyana Conversations: Gastronomical Delights 5/21

Cuyana Fewer Better Gastronomy Panel

If you’re around this Thursday, I’ll be moderating a thoughtful, food-focused panel at the ultra-chic Cuyana showroom in San Francisco’s downtown Union Square. The name Cuyana means ”to love” in Quechua and this gastronomy panel is one of the featured topics in the Fewer, Better Series. The panelists include an incredible group of food folks from the Bay Area. Hope to see you there!

Ultimate Culinary Clash Competition at Intercontinental Hotels

Johnny-Jump Ups

Johnny-Jump Ups from Magdalis Galzara’s dish

It’s typical that most want to experience a chef’s cuisine when they’ve become a public success, but what about when they’re a relatively unknown at the start of their careers? We must remember that all cooks and chefs began sans the shining accolades, and through thick, thin, and a whole lot more thick aka the journey, that is where their real story took place. And this is why it was so fun to experience the dishes of the aspiring chefs and cooking students at Intercontinental Hotel and Resort’s Ultimate Culinary Clash competition.

Adding finishing touches to NYC’s seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

The second annual Ultimate Culinary Clash at the InterContinental San Francisco was part culinary student cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser. Cooking student finalists from four InterContinental hotel regions battled against each other for a $5,000 scholarship to further their culinary careers. The personally-developed dishes were judged by a group of media, chefs and hotel executives and were based on taste, creativity and presentation. This year’s student chefs and their mentors – established chefs from four local InterContinental properties came to compete from New York, Mexico City, Cleveland and San Francisco – where one-star Michelin restaurant Luce is located.

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco, SOMA

After a lively night of sampling various dishes, the winner was announced and it was Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez, a culinary student at Anahuac University who impressed judges and wowed the crowd creating a 20-plus line deep of people throughout the evening. She was recognized for her “Tacos de Lechon” dish accented with cilantro, garlic, habanero guava foam and a red dried ant sauce on the side.  She was assisted by InterContinental Mexico City’s Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes.

Mexico City’s Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez plating her winning Lechon dish

Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez Presidente InterContinental Mexico City Dish: Taco de Lechon

Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez Presidente InterContinental Mexico City Dish: Taco de Lechon

“With Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs to help develop our innovative culinary creations, the InterContinental brand’s world-class food and beverage program features signature bars and restaurants with exceptional menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration. It gives us great pride to introduce the next generation of culinary talent to our brand’s affinity for haute cuisine and support their progression as a student in a meaningful way.” –  Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, VP of F&B, The Americas, IHG

Grilled Skirt Steak

Magdalis Galzara InterContinental Cleveland Dish: Grilled Skirt Steak with Belgian endive + orange-cumin marmalade, potato-cauliflower fritter, horseradish aioli foam

Chloe Sackett InterContinental New York Times SquareDish: Seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

Chloe Sackett InterContinental New York Times SquareDish: Seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

Christopher Wan InterContinental San Francisco Dish: Ballotine of Young Chicken with Red Miso, DePuy lentils and grain mustard

Christopher Wan InterContinental San Francisco Dish: Ballotine of Young Chicken with Red Miso, DePuy lentils and grain mustard

InterContinental Hotel San Francisco Desserts

These fruit gelee tarts were pretty in pink!

Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Luce Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Ultimate Clash winner Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez

Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Luce Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Ultimate Clash winner Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez

The Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to showcase its commitment to culinary excellence. It began four years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded for the second year in a row to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.

Although only one ultimate winner could be chosen, all of the students from the various Culinary Clash stages did a tremendous job putting out some pretty impressive plates. Kudos to all and excited to see what the future holds for all of you!


The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley Dinner at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Michelin Dinner PBFW - Food Fashionista

A team of San Francisco Bay Area’s one-starred Michelin chefs came together to form the perfect constellation at “The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley” dinner at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. The “101″, in case you’re wondering is the Bay Area highway where all of the collaborating chefs and restaurants are located including Peter Armellino (The Plumed Horse), Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub), Jared Gallagher (Chez TJ) and Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/Rosewood Sand Hill). Desserts were created by highly skilled Pastry Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and the exceptional wines for the multi-course menu were chosen by the festival’s hand-picked team of guest sommeliers.

Michelin Dinner PBFW Champagne Henriot

From the moment you stepped in to the tranquil Mediterranean setting of the Casa Palmero, you knew an enchanted evening was in store. Mere seconds after passing through the blooming spring garden, arriving guests were greeted with a glass of vintage Champagne Henriot Brut Millesime 2005. The smoky and highly fragrant sparking wine was refreshing, crisp and consisted of a proportionate combination of Chardonnay and Pinot. The Champagne from Reims, France was paired with the select Michelin chef’s hors d’oeuvres of the evening…


Following the relaxed Champagne reception, diners were led to a quaint, dimly-lit, room filled with a group of adorned tables that would soon be the canvas setting for the chef’s creations and wine offerings for the evening.  Throughout the dinner, the celebrated chefs and winemakers presented and explained their inspiration for the dishes and wines following each of their courses.

Michelin Dinner PBFW

The wines for the evening…


And although the dining room was refined and tranquil, the kitchen we learned was a whole different story. When Chef Peter Rudolph came out to describe the components and influence of his dish, he exclaimed…”It’s so quiet in here! We were playing Dio and then… Slayer came on in the kitchen.” Everyone cheerfully chuckled. It was indeed obvious the chefs were doing what they do best, but also enjoying the camaraderie in the back of the house. Their cooking technique and styles vary, but all of their courses harmoniously complemented one after the other. The chefs may have been rocking out in the kitchen to head-banging, heavy metal tunes, but the dishes served were nothing short of a smooth, melodic symphony.

The Bay Area Michelin chefs courses for this very special dinner included:


First Course: Monterey Bay Abalone with Potato, Espelette and Lime by Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ) paired with Marqués de Murrieta Albariño, “La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes” (Rías Baixas, Spain – 2011)

Michelin Dinner PBFW Chef Dmitry Elperin

Second Course: Roasted Line-Caught Halibut with Vegetables Jardinière and Oxtail Consommé by Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub) paired with Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin Grand Cru, “Clos de Beze” (Burgundy, France – 2007)

Roast Partridge Michelin Chef Peter Rudolph PBFW

Third Course: Roast Partridge with Morels, Huckleberries and Smoked Turnips by Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill) paired with Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France – 2007)


Fourth Course: Roast Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Stinging Nettles, Semolina Gnocchi and Pickled & Roasted Spring Garlic by Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse) paired with Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA- 1998)

William Werner Dessert at Michelin Dinner PBFW

Dessert Course: Blonde Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Cocoa and Lime by William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves)

petit fours

The delightfully rare and memorable evening concluded with dessert and petit fours for the table via Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) paired with Ramos Pinto, 20 Year Tawny, “Quinta do Bom Retiro.”

Chefs Peter Rudolph, Peter Armellino, Jarad Gallagher, William Werner, Dmitry Elperin

“We Cook together, have fun together, and came up in the ranks together… ” – Chef Peter Rudolph.

The stars of the evening – Chefs Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant), Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse), Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ), William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub). Armellino said that participating in this Pebble Beach Food and Wine dinner with his fellow Michelin-starred chefs and friends was the “pinnacle” of his career. Kudos to Pebble Beach Food and Wine for putting together an incredible evening featuring some of the finest culinary and wine talent in the Bay Area and beyond.  It was a PBFW gourmet memory I won’t soon forget, but thankfully, these Michelin-starred restaurants along the 101 freeway are just an on ramp, some miles, and an off ramp away.

See all the celebrated San Francisco Bay Area chefs and restaurants in the 2015 Michelin Guide

Michelin San Francisco Dinner Pebble Beach Food Wine


Photos by Mika Takeuchi and Kara Murphy 






BottleRock Napa Valley to feature Major Culinary Stage with Star Chefs & More

BottleRock Napa Fried Chicken

BottleRock Napa Valley has announced its star-studded culinary lineup and the addition of a fifth stage – the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. BottleRock Napa Valley will deliver a lineup of chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, sommeliers, and craft brewers that is unparalleled in the music festival world. Michelin stars fly among the musical stars at the 3-day festival, May 29 through 31, in downtown Napa, California.

BottleRock Napa

One of the stages at BottleRock 2014 (Photo: BottleRock)

 “BottleRock Napa Valley is all about blending great music, food and wine,” – David Graham, CEO of Latitude 38. 

President of Williams-Sonoma, Janet Hayes adds, “Williams-Sonoma’s Culinary Stage will showcase some of the country’s top chefs and sommeliers with musicians and celebrities. We are excited to create unique culinary experiences for festival attendees that will differentiate BottleRock from all other food and music festivals.”

Ca Momi Pizza

Centrally located in the Whole Foods Restaurant Garden of the festival, the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage will be hosted by the Bay Area’s “Foodie Chap,” Liam Mayclem of KCBS, and will feature celebrated chefs, vintners, actors, professional athletes and sommeliers participating in entertaining demos, performances, and other hi-jinx. The chef lineup includes Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Mina of the Mina Group, Iron Chef Marc Forgione, two Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, Top Chef Michael Voltaggio, Larry Forgione of the Culinary Institute of America, Top Chef Mei Lin, Michelin-starred chefs Brandon Sharp of Solbar, Ken Frank of La Toque, and Robert Curry of Auberge du Soleil, 11-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, Bryan Forgione of Buddy V’s, Rick Moonen of rm Seafood, Oenotri’s Tyler Rodde, and Dario De Conti of Ca’Momi. Joining the fun will be the Williams-Sonoma Chef Collective featuring Sarah Simmons of Birds & Bubbles, Matt Jennings of Townsman, the Bon Vivants of Trick Dog, and Jason French of Ned Ludd.

The Cure BottleRock Napa

The Cure – one of my favorite bands at BottleRock 2014 (Photo: Kara Murphy)

Many of the region’s best chefs, vintners, and breweries will also showcase their talents in the VIP areas and Platinum Lounge. Noted Napa Valley restaurants including REDD and Redd Wood, Goose & Gander, and Atlas Social will provide exclusive offerings for Platinum guests, paired with rare and cult wines presented by Master Sommeliers and wine experts including Ian Cauble, Sur Lucero, Jay James, Gilles de Chambure, Mark de Vere, Jimmy Hayes, Robert Bath, DLynn Proctor, Willi Sherrer, Chris Blanchard, and Desi Echavarrie.

Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi BottleRock Napa

We are rocking the shades at BottleRock

 All festival guests will enjoy a global tour of culinary offerings, featuring Japanese, Indian, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, American, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese cuisines. Mouthwatering dishes include Morimoto Sticky Ribs, wood-fired pizzas, pork belly sandwiches, Vietnamese shrimp rolls, barbecue, fried chicken, vegetarian, vegan and more. Culinary hotspots to be showcased include Morimoto Napa, Ca’Momi, The Thomas at Fagiani’s, Whole Foods, La Condesa, Tarla Grill, Taqueria Rosita, Eiko’s, Fume Bistro, Il Posto Trattoria, Eight Noodle Shop, Ristorante Allegria, The Q Restaurant and Bar, Bui Bistro, Napa Palisades Saloon, Smoke Open Fire, Jax White Mule Diner and food trucks like Bacon Bacon, Curry Up Now, Kara’s Cupcakes, Mark’s The Spot, MeSoHungry, Drewski’s, and Napa Valley Crust, among others.


Many of the regions finest wineries will be sharing their finest vintages, including Miner Family Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery, Silver Oak Cellars, Del Dotto Family Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Gia by Gia Coppola, Goosecross Cellars, Round Pond Estate, Aviary Vineyards, Hill Family Estate, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, JaM Cellars, JW Thomas Group,, JCB by Jean Charles Boisset, Ca’Momi Wines, ONEHOPE Winery, Piazza Del Dotto, Starmont Wines, Twomey Cellars, and Vezer Family Vineyards.

There will be A LOT of wine at BottleRock 2015 (Photo: BottleRock)

There will be A LOT of wine at BottleRock 2015 (Photo: BottleRock)

Wine cabanas and beverage bars will be conveniently located throughout the festival grounds. All bars will be stocked with delicious pours from title wine sponsor Miner Family Winery and other premium Napa Valley vintners, dozens of craft beers, along with artisanal cocktails made with premium spirits. The craft brew garden will feature 20 brews from premium brewers and distillers such as Lagunitas, Crispin Cider, Boston Beer, 21st Amendment, Pyramid Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Green Flash, Ninkasi, Heretic, and local favorite Napa Smith brewery. Fan favorites including Coors and Blue Moon Brewing round out the brew selections.

For more info on BottleRock Napa Valley, including a full lineup of 90+ music and culinary artists on five stages over three days, visit

(Photos: BottleRock, Mika Takeuchi, and Kara Murphy

Cochon 555 – Porkiest of Pork Fests is coming to a city near you

Cochon 555 Bacon


Hello, California pork lovers! COCHON 555 US TOUR will be in Los Angeles on March 29 and San Francisco on April 12.

“I’m excited about all the new partners in 2015 who support family farming, independent business and heritage breed pigs. Each event aims to lessen the burden on the small farmers to hold surplus inventory and streamline the sales process. This year we continue to expand with a guest chef and winemaker dinner series over the course of each weekend, a revamped welcome reception, and a flavorful lineup of experiences that support a more natural, sustainable food system,”- Brady Lowe, Cochon 555 founder 

Take a look at the participating chefs plus all other details including nationwide tour dates at: COCHON 555.