Enjoy Rare Wines & Haute Cuisine At GourmetFest

A dish at last year’s event

Photo Credit: GourmetFest

From a Taste of Yountville to Eat Drink SF, there is no shortage of local food and wine festivals. However, for those seeking an incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind luxury experience, only one festival comes to mind: Relais & Chateaux’s GourmetFest. The culinary extravaganza, which takes place March 14-17, 2019 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, was created in 2014 by hotelier David Fink. Fink, who founded his first food festival in 1987, is the CEO of the Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group and a board member of Relais & Chateaux.

David Fink

“GourmetFest is different from other food and wine festivals for many reasons. We bring a collection of the best chefs and winemakers from around the globe to one place, and we aim to keep the events intimate so that attendees have the opportunity to interact with these masters of their craft,” Fink says. “The amount of detail and thought that goes into every one of our events–from our strolling welcome party to the incredibly exclusive, 25-person rarities dinner–is truly like no other food and wine festival in the world. For many of our guests, GourmetFest presents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to indulge in their passion for food and wine in the most spectacular setting, and we want to make sure their experience is an unforgettable one.”

A chef cooks at the 2018 festival

Photo Credit: GourmetFest

Relais & Chateaux is an association that consists of more than 550 hotels and restaurants; although operated independently, the owners, chefs, and innkeepers share a similar mindset and passion for hospitality. A select group of the creme de la creme will converge on Carmel to participate in cooking demos, tastings and elaborate dinners. Michael Mina, David Kinch, and Michael Tusk are three local chefs who will be part of this culinary wonderland. Melissa Rodriguez of New York’s Del Posto, Nathan Rich of Vermont’s Twin Farms, and Walter Manzke of Los Angeles’ République will also be cooking up a storm. As for the wine portion of the festival, Château Lafite Rothschild, Domaine Yves Boyer Martenot, Opus One, and Champagne Taittinger will be pouring their extraordinary vintages.

A wine seminar setup

Photo Credit: GourmetFest

GourmetFest ticket holders have the chance to experience the chefs and wineries in different ways. Michael Mina will give an entertaining cooking demonstration which is followed by a wine-paired lunch and book signing. “We’re excited this year to welcome chef Michael Mina to the lineup,” Fink says. “As a Bay Area-based chef we’ve watched his restaurant collection grow over the years, and we’re thrilled our guests will have the opportunity to learn more about his point of view and taste some of his outstanding food.”


Photo Credit: GourmetFest

David Kinch and Michael Tusk are cooking at the aforementioned rarities dinner, a ten-course meal where rare wine—2002 Champagne Taittinger Comtes des Champagne, 1982 Chateau Lafite, and the second vintage of Opus One to name a few—will be poured. Since the wines are so rare, only 25 diners may participate making the meal a highly coveted ticket. Other event options include a wild mushroom hunt, wine seminars and a grand tasting of the best Relais & Chateaux properties.


Photo Credit: GourmetFest

New this March is a bluegrass and barbecue party. “This year, we’re particularly looking forward to our newest addition to the festival lineup–Bluegrass and BBQ at the Wine House in Carmel Valley,” Fink says. “This more casual celebration will feature a Champagne Taittinger welcome, bocce ball, blending seminars, bluegrass, and of course a gourmet BBQ lunch prepared by Relais & Châteaux chefs Eduardo Marin of Solar de Las Animas, Adriano Venturini of Eden Roc Cap Cana and AJ Buchanio of Magee Homestead.”

A plate from last year’s rarities dinner

Photo Credit: GourmetFest

With all of these thrilling festivities, GourmetFest promises to be a delicious and memorable event, unlike any other food festival out there. As Fink puts it, “Our team has built a festival with a reputation for being the most luxurious food and wine festival in North America, with the highest net-worth clientele—but still remaining intimate. We continue to bring the greats, the legends, but also the new and upcoming superstars. The evolution of this festival is like wine; with age, it has only gotten more and more rich.”

Tickets for GourmetFest are now on sale at http://gourmetfestcarmel.com/.