More than 125 of the country’s best chefs,100-plus wineries, breweries and spirits purveyors will take over downtown Los Angeles on August 22 through 25 for the third annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Expect a four-day extravaganza of epicurean events ranging from chef and television personality Giada De Laurentiis’ Festa Italiana to Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Asian Night Market, as well as tastings from a host of Forbes Travel Guide Tastemakers, cooking demonstrations and performances by top musical talent. Here are the experiences you should start training your taste buds for:.
Tastemaker Thomas Keller joins De Laurentiis, fellow Tastemaker Michael Chiarello and other top culinary talent at this alfresco Italian feast in the shadow of the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. Nosh on dishes from a roster of acclaimed chefs including Scott Conant, Matthew Accarrino, Fabio Viviani and the godfather of Italian cuisine in Los Angeles, Gino Angelini. The evening also includes tastings of more than 200 wines, brews and spirits and a special performance by DJ and Roots drummer Questlove. August 22
Patron Presents Tacos & Tequila
Three men who know Latin-inspired cuisine like no others — Rick Bayless and L.A.-based chefs Josef Centeno and Ray Garcia — team up for an afternoon happy hour full of bold flavors and ingredients paired with a wide range of tequilas from Patron. The indoor/outdoor setting is Santa Monica hotspot The Bungalow at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, which boasts a sprawling location comprised with uniquely designed rooms (including the rustic main bar and the billiards-stocked game room), all opening out to perfect Pacific Ocean views. August 23
Asian Night Market
You’ve seen him elevate ingredients such as wreckfish and Alton’s Brown’s fruitcake while defending his Iron Chef title, now join chef Masaharu Morimoto along with culinary heavyweights Jet Tila, Ricardo Zarate, David LeFevre and Tastemaker David Myers at a re-invented night market in the middle of downtown L.A. Savor dishes inspired by typical Asian street food experiences from Taipei to Kuala Lumpur in addition to custom cocktails, sake, beer and free-flowing wine. August 23
Lexus Presents Live on Grand
A full roster of tastings and chef demos on Saturday is crowned with an evening event that fuses extraordinary epicures with live musical entertainment. Top Chef Masters host Curtis Stone leads the grand tasting which will feature nibbles from chefs Bayless, Grant Achatz, Neal Fraser, Susan Feniger, Michael Mina and Charles Phan. The night culminates with a performance by platinum-selling singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. August 24
In addition to these marquee events, the festival offers more intimate experiences starting with a series of lunches on Friday, August 23. There’s a champagne reception and four-course lunch from Conant and Mina at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant Scarpetta inside the Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills. Those hungry for more culinary teaching should consider Chiarello’s cooking demonstration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on August 23. The demo comes complete with a four-course gourmet menu highlighting a fusion of Southern Italian-meets-Napa Valley flavors. That same day, Five-Star L’Ermitage Beverly Hills hosts an indulgent lunch with renowned chefs Richard Reddington, George Mendes and Benjamin Dayag where you can swoon over 360-degree views of L.A. while also enjoying a multi-course menu and plenty of bubbly. Of course, if you prefer ocean views with your passed hors d’oeuvres, head to Four-Star Shutters On the Beach on August 23 when chef Sven Mede and visiting gourmands Matthew Accarrino and Peter Armellino will serve a special four-course menu in addition to champagne and appetizers at the hotel’s One Pico restaurant. And on August 24 at LA Center Studios, you won’t want to miss the interactive culinary function cooked up by chef and restaurateur Benjamin Ford and Grammy-winning musician Ziggy Marley, two champions of the sustainable food movement.
Photos Courtesy of Barnaby Draper Studios