L.A. Morphs into a Culinary Mecca at the 4th Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

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Power lunch with Ferguson Crest at Faith & Flower
Power lunch with Ferguson Crest at Faith & Flower

Photo Credit: Tomo Muscionico

The City of Angels celebrated the world of haute cuisine over the weekend at the fourth annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.

The event, which ran from August 21-24, kicked off with the Ultimate Bites of L.A. presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred, where icons including Nancy Silverton, Ben Ford, Lorena Garcia, Michael Chiarello, Neal Fraser, and Chad Colby joined festival CEO and co-founder David Bernahl on the red carpet amid the shadows of the Eli Broad Museum and grandiose Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Chase Sapphire Chef Challenge with Fabio Viviani and Ray Garcia
Chase Sapphire Chef Challenge with Fabio Viviani and Ray Garcia

Photo Credit: Tomo Muscionico

The chef challenge was championed by the winning team Fabio Viviani and Ray Garcia who competed for charity with their take on the best street taco and cocktail. The duo took home the win with a mango chicharron chile relleno taco that impressed the judge to win $20,000 that benefitted the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Dish highlights from the strolling tasting event included chef Mirko Parderno of Oliverio at Avalon Hotel’s Cavatelli with Black Summer Truffle served out of a cheese wheel and the Duck Chile Verde from FIG’s Ray Garcia.

Common performs at LA Food & Wine
Common performs at LA Food & Wine

Photo Credit: Jake Ahles

Friday’s Power Lunch series touched every part of the city from Santa Monica’s One Pico lunch with Elizabeth Falkner and Sven Mede, to downtown L.A. at Faith & Flower where Ferguson Crest, owned by Fergie Duhamel of the Black Eyed Peas, was pairing wines with Dominique Crenn and executive chef Michael Hung’s inspiring menu.

Asian Night Market, held later that evening, attracted hundreds of fans seeking the best ramen, sashimi, and exotic dishes in town from chefs such as Jet Tila who served up 5-spice pork belly tacos, and Chis Oh of Seoul Sausage with his “Flaming Ball.” The most memorable of the night was Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Chicken Dumpling, along with legions of fans awaiting to capture an Instagram moment with the charismatic chef. Additional notable noshes included the piping hot Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings from Slanted Door’s Charles Phan, and Lamb Ramen from EggSlut’s Alvin Cailan.

Chef Nancy Silverton attends LIVE On Grand Presented by Lexus, Hosted by Chef Michael Chiarello
Chef Nancy Silverton attends LIVE On Grand Presented by Lexus, Hosted by Chef Michael Chiarello

Photo Credit: Getty Images for LA Food & Wine A live performance by Common capped Saturday evening at Lexus LIVE on Grand hosted by Michael Chiarello. Opening for Common was a children’s ensemble amaWolseley Marimbas who flew across the world from Wolseley in South Africa’s Witzenberg Valley energizing the crowd with their lively Afro-Caribbean style music. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas brought a taste of The Strip with its Airstream 2 Go installation boasting a putting green and vibrant patio lounge complemented by exotic cocktails from chef mixologist Mariena Mercer. Saturday night’s Dinner with the Michelin Stars was set in the stunning Cathedral of St. Vibiana in Downtown, as this precious architectural gem opened its doors to four Michelin-starred chefs, including Michael Cimarusti, Dominique Crenn, and David Kinch, for an evening of decadence from the brightest and the best in honor of Pierre Gagnaire, described by Crenn as the “god of food.”

The revelry didn’t end with the evening festivities but continued through the weekend with seminars, cooking demonstrations, book signings, and the afternoon Lexus Grand Tastings held at LA Center Studio. Masaharu Morimoto drew a huge crowd of epicureans and fans for his Friday evening demonstration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Miami-based chef, author, and Top Chef Master star Lorena Garcia was the final demonstration of the weekend carrying the crowd with her vibrant energy and charisma on the Jenn-Air stage including friend Randy Jackson who was spotted in the front row.

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