Inside The Lexus Culinary Classic At Cavallo Point Lodge

Lexus hotel partner chefs participate at the 2019 Culinary Classic

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

Now in its 5th year, the Lexus Culinary Classic has become one of the most prestigious annual food and wine events in the West Coast. Held in the picturesque Cavallo Point Lodge at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, this exclusive three-day culinary celebration featured multi-course meals, a chef-guided farmer’s market excursion, hands-on cooking classes, a unique wine-blending seminar, and an evening at the highly exclusive Summit Skywalker Ranch.

A cooking class

Photo Credit: Meghan BeierleThe weekend culminated on Sunday at the Lexus grand tasting. Chefs from 10 Lexus hotel partners each created signature dishes for the attending guests and everything was complemented with fine wines from leading California wineries. The weekend also featured an indoor cycling class and a biking trip with world-champion cyclist and Lexus cycling ambassador, Christian Vande Velde.        

A place setting at the East-meets-West dinner

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

The culinary journey started with an East-meets-West dinner on Friday. Lexus partnered with one of San Francisco’s best new chefs, Brandon Jew, of Michelin-starred restaurant Mister Jiu’s, who created an unforgettable Asian-fusion four-course dinner with collaboration from three other Lexus hotel partner chefs: Pablo Melin from Pebble Beach Resorts, Bernard Ibarra from Terranea Resort, and Nate Lindsay from Bardessono Hotel.

Laura Werlin (in yellow) guided the cheese tasting

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

Saturday began bright and early with guests being whisked in new Lexus cars to the farmers market at the San Francisco Ferry Building. I was among the 24 guests who followed Cavallo Point’s executive chef Michael Garcia as he browsed the market for the season’s best vegetables and fresh fruits. Afterward, we enjoyed a cheese tasting with James Beard Award-winning author and cheese expert Laura Werlin

The set up for the wine tasting

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

We returned to Cavallo Point Lodge for the Napa Valley wine-blending afternoon with Lexus master sommelier Carlton McCoy and winemaker Michael Scholz of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards. It was such fun discovering the versatile components of Napa Valley wine varieties.

A Lexus at the event

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

In between indulging in the food and wine, Lexus invited guests to a driving experience. I chose the Lexus LC from the fleet of featured models. The LCs are genuinely amazing cars, described by the Lexus marketing team as “Design without compromise and seamlessly unites beauty with purpose and unites the driver with the LC.” This sleek auto has jet-inspired tail lamps, distinctive door panels, a carbon fiber roof, flush exterior door handles, an elliptical steering wheel and ultra-luxurious leather interior.

The menu for Saturday’s dinner at Skywalker Ranch

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

Saturday evening’s forage and feast event was at Summit Skywalker Ranch. Guests were chauffeured by Lexus from Cavallo Point to the very private Summit Skywalker Ranch where no cameras were allowed and everyone had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This private enclave named The Summit at Skywalker Ranch is for guests only. Skywalker wines were poured at the reception, which was followed by a four-course dinner featuring specialties prepared by Derek Leinonen of Lake Placid Lodge, Laurent Pillard of St. Regis Aspen Resort, Sunny Jin of Resort at Paws Up, and Ryan Rupp of Skywalker. American singer-songwriter Sara Niemietz provided the ideal entertainment for the dinner.

Chef Garcia leads the farmers market excursion

Photo Credit: Meghan Beierle

The event finale was the Lexus grand tasting on Sunday, which featured 10 Lexus hotel partner chefs from around the country, craft beer from Blackberry Farm Brewery and vintners from Napa Valley, Marin and the Sierra foothills. Hopping between 10 stands of fantastic nibbles was such a fun culinary adventure that showcased America’s finest chefs and premier California wines. The chefs and vintners included Sunny Jin of Resort at Paws Up, Sebastien Archambault of Rosewood Mansion, Derek Leinonen of Lake Placid Lodge, Michael Garcia and Ethan Howard of Cavallo Point Lodge, Bernard Ibarra of Terranea Resort, Anthony Cole of Chatham Bars Inn, Sarah Steffan of Blackberry Farm, Nate Lindsay of Bardessono, and vintners Raymond, Peju Winery, Pruett Vineyards, and Skywalker Vineyards.