Haute Event Preview: SF Chefs 2011

San Francisco-area food enthusiasts are gearing up for SF Chefs 2011, a week of events celebrating Northern California tastes and tastemakers.

Guests can purchase package or single-event tickets for the August 1-7 happenings, which include classes, cooking demonstrations, panels, tastings and parties held in Union Square and around the city. At each gathering, attendees will have access to well known chefs, winemakers, growers, mixologists and culinary trendsetters.

Highlights include a cable car food crawl, a family-friendly class taught by chefs and their children, a sugar-and-spice party showcasing sweets and cocktails, and demonstrations led by the likes of Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Michael Mina and more. Food photographers and color experts will discuss food presentation. The Illy Chef Challenge pits Chris Cosentino and Elizabeth Falkner against Dominique Crenn and Russell Jackson, with the winners earning $20,000 for charity. And, wrapping up the week is a four-hour Sunday afternoon celebration in the Grand Tasting Tent on Union Square.

SF Chefs preview events kicked off early in July, and Bay Area luminaries gave lucky attendees a taste of what’s coming up during a beer and salumi pairing on Saturday, July 23. “Eye on the Bay” host Liam Mayclem emceed the gathering at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which was presented by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).

Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales and Chef Staffan Terje of Perbacco Ristorante and Barbacco Eno Trattoria served nearly 20 different types of salumi during the two-hour event. As they dished up each selection, the duo discussed the production process and shared their own culinary experiences. Four San Francisco Brewers Guild members provided beer to pair with the meats; Social Kitchen & Brewery’s Rich Higgins was on hand to explain the styles and answer questions about brewing, as well.

The trio praised the region’s cohesive and creative culinary community, from the farmers and purveyors providing fresh ingredients to the chefs who make things happen.

“We all cook differently, but we share recipes and experiences,” said Terje. “I think that’s what makes the Bay Area so special.”

For a complete schedule of this year’s SF Chefs events, visit www.sfchefs2011.com. A silent auction, held in conjunction with the festival, runs through August 6. Proceeds from the sale of these special dinners, cookware and other culinary delights benefit the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s scholarship fund.

SF Chefs 2011 is presented by Visa Signature and produced by the nonprofit Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

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