The SOLD OUT 2nd Annual Food and Wine Festival Palm Desert was an exclusive event brimming with gourmet food, celebrity chefs, fine wines and even the occasional runway model. Strategically combined with Fashion Week El Paseo, Palm Springs Life celebrated all the best nosh and posh from around the Coachella Valley and beyond.
Creative presentations like the PB and Jay Spoons (above), Edible Chocolate Spoons filled with Chocolate and Roasted Peanut Panna Cotta Topped with Sun-Dried Strawberry from Sherman’s Deli & Bakery captured hearts with their whimsical presentation.
Roy’s Restaurant’s hand-held Yellowtail Cone (left) with Roasted Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Negi, Hawaiian Seaweed, Hawaiian Salt, Yuzu, Sake, Soy, Ponzu Sauce and White Rice was bursting with flavor.
After the Grand Tasting kick-off under the big white tent, Chef Deborah Scott’s cooking demonstration on the Viking Lounge Stage is under way. Scott, award winning Executive Chef and Cohn Restaurant Group Partner, presents a hands-on lesson in spice encouraging audience members to feel and smell various types of dried chilis.
Chef Deborah prepares a favorite appetizer from her Island Prime / C Level restaurants, Ancho Sesame Bacon Wrapped Mexican Prawns with Herb Goat Cheese (left).
She introduces the crowd to her latest ventures, including the Chop Soo-ey Truck, affectionately known as the Pig Rig, and the brand-spanking new Ms. Patty Melt Truck, which serves up “the best mobile burgers and dogs in San Diego.”
I had the opportunity to interview the very busy Chef Deborah Scott after her cooking demo. Watch the video!
Next to take the stage is James Beard Award winning Chef, Culinary Institute of America graduate and resident rock star, Roy Yamaguchi. The crowd gathered early to claim their vantage point for the creator of Hawaiian Fusion.
And Yamaguchi does not disappoint. With his team of sous chefs, Chef Roy sizzled Sousvide Pork Belly with Ravioli, Pag Cheese and Paprika Sauce. Due to a practical joke by his culinary team, Chef Roy had an easier time getting the crowd rolling than operating his pasta maker. One of the pranksters from his team stepped in to finish the Swiss Chard and Potato Ravioli, which the audience axiously lined up to taste. Get the recipe here. I had the chance to interview Chef Yamaguchi and talk about his upcoming 1st Annual Hawaii Food and Wine Festival September 29 – October 1, 2011. Watch the video!
Not to be overshadowed by gourmet food and celebrity chefs, the Jensen’s Fine Foods stage showcased several Sommelier and Wine Education demonstrations, including Antonia Quast of Bennett Lane Winery, Joel Templin of JAQK Cellars and Hugh Davies, President and CEO of Schramsberg Vineyards.
The anticipated Grand Finale on the Viking Lounge Stage is a demonstration from James Beard Award Winning, Culinary Institute of America graduate and Las Vegas dining destination pioneer, Bradley Ogden.
The legendary chef charms the crowd with his easy personality and wooes them with his overwhelming knowledge of flavor combinations and farm fresh ingredients.
Ogden prepares a favorite from his Caesars Palace menu, Twice Baked Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle with seasonal fruits, nuts and Ver Jus Vinaigrette. I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Ogden about everything from his upcoming cookbook to Charlie Sheen. Watch the video!
Viking Range Corporation brought the party outside in the glorious Palm Desert spring weather with an outdoor Patio Stage, hosting cooking demonstrations from Hector Salvatierra of Camelot Cafe, Andre Carthen of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, Aaron Burns of Circa 59 at Riviera Palm Springs and James Beard Award winning Jimmy Schmidt of Morgan’s in the Desert (above).
I soon found myself in the esteemed and benevolent company of Andrew Harris (left), Specialty Radio Show Producer and Publisher for the James Beard Foundation’s biweekly e-newsletter, Beard Bites; and Michael Cho Esq. (right), aka the Liquor Lawyer and organizer of charitable events, including Great Chefs of Orange County, a benefit for the National Kidney Foundation. Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert benefits the Friends of the James Beard Foundation and the Culinary Institute of America Endowed Scholarship Fund.
As the afternoon winds down, savory bites make way for sweet treats, like this California Date Cheesecake presented by Executive Chef Juan Leon of Date Restaurant Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel.
A simple, refreshing Mandarin Orange slice from Certified Farmer’s Market was the last nibble to grace my taste buds as the event comes to a close. And this juicy treat is the perfect analogy to the Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert 2011: Hand selected and bursting with flavor!
The second annual event was a tremendous success and I can only imagine what’s to come for this budding celebration of Food and Wine in the Palm Desert. Start planning your trip to the Palm Desert for the third annual event. See you there next year!
Special thanks to Lydia Kremer (left), Vortex News PR for the opportunity to experience Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert 2011 and securing interviews and access to all the chefs and events.
Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert is a Palm Springs Life event produced by J. Hocker & Associates with numerous sponsors, including the City of Palm Desert, Time Warner Cable, The Culinary Institute of America, Friends of James Beard Foundation, Cambria, California Date Administrative Committee, Cunard, Viking Range Corp., Jensen’s, The Cook Street Group, R & R Radio Group, Stella Artois, Icelandic Glacial Water, Trinchero Family Estates, Costco, Godiva Chocolates, Beaverton Foods, Inc., Sonoma-Cutrer, OpenTable.com, and Eisenhower Imaging Center.