It was a hot weekend in Los Angeles. I mean, literally scorching hot. The temps rose to triple digits and there were more ovens burning in LA than usual. Chefs, Sommeliers and epicures from all over converged on to downtown's LA Live for the second annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival with partners Lexus, AEG and Food & Wine Magazine.
This wasn't just any food event. This gathering was a continued celebration of Chef Wolfgang Puck's 30 year tradition of raising awareness and funds for St. Vincent's Meals on Wheels. To date, he has donated millions with his American Food & Wine Festival and another $400,000 raised from LAFW's inaugural year.
Ricardo Zarate's Grilled Miso Paiche on Butter Lettuce
From an Opening night Festa Italiana hosted by Giada De Laurentiis to the Lexus Grand Tasting tents, there was something to fit everyone's particular taste and palate. With Chefs like Michael Chiarello, Joachim Splichal, Nobu Matsuhisa, Charles Phan and Scott Conant headlining events, it was difficult task to not want to attend all of the above. Most events were sold out and with ticket prices ranging from $50 for a celebrity chef cooking demo, to $2,000 for an invite-only Founder's Dinner, guests definitely got their money's worth.
Chef Gino Angelini
A Bubbly Good Time
Only at LAFW, could you get Hawaiian Ahi Poke from Chef Sam Choy, Chicken Fried Texas Quail via Chef Dean Fearing a Morro Bay Oyster from Post Ranch Inn's Chef John Cox, and a spiked Pina Colada popsicle from the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas..all in one day.
Chef Alexandre Vacher's "Snickers Bar"
Patina's Joachim Splichal & Charles Olalia
Church and State's Heirloom Tomatoes with Vinaigrette
Despite all the incredible events throughout the weekend, the one many seemed extra excited for was the Lexus Live on the Plaza with Wolfgang Puck and Friends. Perhaps, it was because "friends" of WP, included folks like Gale Gand (Tru), Rory Herrmann (Bouchon BH), Levi Mezick (Restaurant 1833), Paul Prudhomme, Kerry Heffernan, Francois Payard, and a Third Eye Blind concert. Yup, at LAFW, you can have your plate of Spago, glass of Opus One, front-row view at a rock concert and eat your cake too.