Monday, May 16, 2011

The 5th Annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit has something for everyone to enjoy from Seminars , Master Series Dinners and after hour delights with renown Chefs

Chef Julian Serrano

Under a cloudless blue sky in front of the world famous Bellagio Resort and a swipe of a sabre by renown Chef Julian Serrano sent Champagne bubbles and Bellagio fountains high into the air as the 5th Vegas Uncork’d began in style.

The first week in May brings this very special event to venues up and down the renowned Las Vegas Strip. We cannot think of another event where you dine with Joel Robuchon enjoy pastries by Francois Payard , Join in a Blackjack Tournament with celebrity Chefs and then hang out after hours in a club with TomColicchio. In addition to the world class culinary delights guests could also enjoy creative cocktails from Mixologists or immerse themselves in wine seminars hosted by one of Las Vegas’s Master Sommeliers.

Chef Mary Sue Milliken

This four Day Culinary adventure started with a welcome by Bon Appetit Editor in Chief Adam Rappoprt and of course Las Vegas’s famous Mayor , the Honorable Oscar Goodman.

After the kick off ceremonies it was off to a choice of 5 Master Series Dinners all over the strip. Guests could have the Ultimate Indulgence with Guy Savoy , enjoy a Locavore Delight with Bradley Ogden , Join the Sinatra Family at their Come Fly with me Dinner , Join Francois Payard in his Elegant Bistro or have a Big night with the RAOs family.

Vegas Uncork'd Launch 2011

For those who wanted more on the first night , After hours with Tom Colicchio at Craftsteak was a nice way to have some late night fun into the early morning hours.

The first full day of events brought a Master Series Luncheon and Chef Showdown with Akira Back and Martin Heierling . They battled and the the guests enjoyed some great dishes from two amazing Chefs. After a very close vote, Chef Akira Back from Yellowtail pulled out the win.

Chef Akira Back and Chef Martin Hierling

The afternoon brought a real education with the first Wine Immersion event with A Chef, a Sommelier and the Cheese Monger. The very informative afternoon continued as we indulged in the old practice of Shabu Shabu dining in the beautiful main dining room of Jasmine with the fountains of the Bellagio right outside the window.

Chef Martin Heierling's Pork Dish
 Many guests joined Master Sommelier Jason Smith and Jean-Marie Auboine for a Wine Immerson that was impressive and educational. As the lights of the strip began to brighten it was off to the Grand Tasting where guests sampled dishes and strolled poolside at Caesars palace amongst many of the world’s best like Pierre Gagnaire , Claude Le-Tohic and Luciano Pellegrini just to name a few . If you could only attend one event over the 4 days , The Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting is the one to do. It brings the best in the world to the Garden of the Gods Pool at Casears Palace .

After spending hours enjoying world class dishes , we could not think of a better way to end the day than to head off to the Encore and join the Celebrity Chefs in a Blackjack Tournament that is always very entertaining as these very talented culinary stars “let their hair down” and have some fun .

Chef Guy Savoy

Vegas Uncork’d was running at full speed when the weekend arrived. Could you think of a better way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon than lunch with Joel Robuchon , Spanish delights with Julian Serrano or do as we did and join Michael Mina for his Master Series Luncheon “Run for the Roses” ? We think not! .

Chef Michael Mina

For those in a beach kind of mood ( yes there is a beach in Las Vegas ) , The Better by the Bay event at Mandalay Beach was a great way to sample delights from three of the world’s most celebrated Master Chefs all together . Charlie Palmer, Alain Ducasse and Rick Moonen teamed up to provide a beach party that we will never forget. And for the second night in a row , guests had the option to party into the early morning hours. Renown Chef Hubert Keller who also loves to DJ was spinning tunes at his FLEUR to the delight of the attendees.

A Vegas Uncork’d tradition is a special offering for Mother’s Day. This year Guy Savoy offered a sparkling brunch that would please any mom. For the first time, Master Chef Mary Sue Milliken and her Border Grill team provided a a welcome reception, interactive cooking demo and brunch overlooking Mandalay Beach that was a great way to spend the morning with Mom but also a fitting end to the 5th Vegas Uncork’d.

Chef Zach Allen

Chef Michael Mina's Seared Diver Sea Scallop and Crispy Sweetbreads

We have been fortunate to attend all but the very first Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit . Each year this very special 4 day event featuring the very best food , education , wine and cocktails gets better. There are always new and exciting events being added as well as the Traditional ones that we look forward to every year

Next May, we will be the same place we have been for the last 4 years, enjoying the world’s best at venues that only a city like Las Vegas can provide. The 6th Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit is already marked on our calendar as we look forward to what they have in store for us in 2012 .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pebble Beach Food & Wine, a Legendary Epicurean Experience on one of the world’s most Picturesque Coastlines

Pebble Beach, the Spanish Bay Inn and the Lodge have been known throughout the world for decades for its resort lifestyle and what many consider one of the most picturesque coastlines in the world. The fourth Pebble Beach Food & Wine was an experience that words and pictures really don’t do the event as a whole justice; you really need to be there. Upon checking in on the first day, guests are given the event program. It actually resembles a small novel.

 The 257 page , 8 ½ by 11 , high gloss ‘epicure’ IV Pebble Beach Food & Wine Presented by American Express Publishing Publication contains Chef Profiles , Schedule of Events , Interviews with Celebrity Chefs , Master Sommeliers and even recipes. Just leafing through the ‘epicure’ gave an overall view of this very upscale event where only the very best in Food and Wine is presented.

Starting with The Opening night Reception at the Spanish Bay Inn, guests enjoyed dishes from 23 celebrity Chefs and sampled wines, many from the world’s top 100 producers. And if you like bubbles , The events Bubble Lounge featured Champagne Krug , Dom Perignon , Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame just to name a few. And then there were the Celebrity Chefs. Guest sampled culinary genius from Graham Elliot , Roy Yamaguchi , Claudine and Jacques Pepin , Shawn McClain and Grant MacPherson as well as many more names that your are sure to know. After seeing how the Pebble Beach Food & Wine was kicking off we could not even imagine what two full days of events would bring.

The first full day gave us a wide variety of choices to start the day. But where do you begin with events that feature Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal or dessert with Top Chef Yigit Pura or a wine seminar and tasting on Super Tuscans or an interactive lesson in blending? We joined Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson for her Breakfast of Champs : Champagne , Bacon , Eggs and Caviar . Tasting some of the world’s finest caviar along with Champagne and Sparkling wines as Andrea Robinson hosted, was a wonderful way to start the day. Do you even think about lunch when the mid day hour tolls after a breakfast like that ? Sure you do when at Pebble Beach Food & Wine! .

PINTADE TRIO: Breast , Crepinette , Agnolotti by Chef Mark Estee

 The selection of luncheons included a Belgian Beer lunch, another featured Sustainable Delicacies from the Sea and then there was the Chefs Table Lunch with Michael Chiarello and Graham Elliot ; there was something for everyone. We decided on the lunch at Club XIX at The Lodge overlooking the world famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Five Chefs treated us to a 5 course lunch and Champagne Reception featuring ‘REAL’ food outdoors with the 18th hole at Pebble Beach as our backdrop underneath a beautiful blue, cloudless sky.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine kept the hits coming in the afternoon with a Family Meal with Tyler Florence , and Chateau de Beaucastel pouring their historic wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and other wine events . We stopped in on Laura Werlin and “ A love affair with Cheese and Wine” for an educational experience on cheese and wine pairings and lovely wines from Domaine Serene .

As the first day moved into the evening hours, guests could get formal and spend the Evening with Michelin Stars for an epic meal or enjoy Food and Wine Magazine’s Chef Alumni dinner or even some Haute Cuisine with Champagne Krug. Just experiencing the first day was a foodie and wine aficionado’s version of heaven and the Pebble Beach Food &Wine was just getting started.

On the second day at Pebble Beach Food &Wine, events were at full steam . Guest’s could start the day with Tom Colicchio , explore Burgundy’s Grand Crus and even a Pinot Noir Blind tasting. We found our interest drawn to a Bordeaux Retrospective featuring Chateau Lagrange and Chateau D’ Issan where we began with the 2005 vintage and worked our way back to 1985 . A very nice vertical to start off the day ! Lunch time brought guests a lively Interactive lunch with Guy Fieri and then off to the Saturday Grand Tasting where we strolled amongst over 300 wineries and 25 celebrity Chefs. Evening fell upon Pebble Beach but that in no way meant the day was over. With dinners featuring The Stars of Napa Valley and Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Sommeliers , a Tribute to Tom Colicchio and of course the Grand Finale Dinner featuring Charlie Trotter , Michel Richard and Gary Danko . All of these events gave the guests a nice choice of dining with culinary legends.

Any event of this stature had to finish with a bang or in the case of Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Bubbles! A nice way to wake up for the last day at this prestigious event was attending a 1990 Vintage Champagne Tasting , featuring Champagnes and Sparkling wine from around the world. The Sunday Lexus Grand Tasting brought more wineries and even more celebrity Chefs for us to enjoy. Even if you attended the Saturday Grand Tasting, Sunday brought a whole new experience to tantalize your palate.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine is an event that takes its guests into the Stratosphere with culinary events that most foodies only imagine with a literal dream team of celebrity Chefs. In addition to the culinary stars, this upscale event features an All-Star team of Sommeliers , many of whom have attained the Master Sommelier level to educate the guests with seminars and dinners featuring many s of the World’s finest wines. For those who want an upscale Food and Wine experience, Pebble Beach Food & Wine in Pebble Beach is the only place you should be next spring. We plan on being there for the 5th Pebble Beach Food & Wine and hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SAVOR the Central Coast 2011 Tickets Go On Sale May 5, 2011

Second Annual Destination Food & Wine Event Launches This Year’s Website, Schedule & Ticket Sales

Sunset magazine ( has launched ticket sales and posted this year’s website for Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast. Go to, to find details on activities that bring visitors face-to-face with the beauty and bounty of the Central Coast region.

In addition to the main event at the Santa Margarita Ranch which features celebrity chef Cat Cora, the multi-day celebration, held September 29 through October 2, is set to include a host of new activities:

VIP Reception & Opening Night Event at Hearst Castle(Thursday, September 29)

An enchanted evening soiree featuring premium Central Coast wine, tapas, and inimitable coastline views beside William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent Roman-style Neptune Pool.

SunsetWestern Wine Awards Gala(Friday evening, September 30)

One of the weekend’s most anticipated events, the Sunset Western Wine Awards are recognized as the highest honor for Western winemakers. Hosted on the historic Pismo Beach Pier, the event features tantalizing, locally grown fare paired with wines that have been nominated for a Sunset Western Wine Awards.

Adventure Tours(Friday, September 30)
An unparalleled opportunity to explore the unspoiled and diverse majesty of the Central Coast, enhanced by the flavors of a gourmet picnic. New tours for 2011 include:

Abehind-the-scenes Hearst Castle tour with Sunset travel editor, Peter Fish

A kayak tour of the peaceful Morro Bay Estuary

An afternoon of horseback riding across the Oceano Dunes

An expert-guided hike through rugged Moñtana de Oro State Park

A tour of the newly-restored Avila Lighthouse with Sunset associate garden editor, Julie Chai

A hot-air balloon ride over the Paso Robles wine region with Sunset president, Barb Newton

A “Berry to Bottle” winemaking experience with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider

Main Event at Santa Margarita Ranch(Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2)

The Backyard Farm– Docent-led seminars on raising poultry, bees, goats, growing veggies and, potato towers; making compost, and more. Tours benefit the Lillian Larsen School in San Miguel as part of the national Farm-to-School Program.

Winemaker Central Seminar Stage– This is a new SAVOR stage dedicated to the fruit of the vine. Seminars will feature unforgettable Paso Robles blends, cool-climate Syrahs, and a blind tasting of the Central Coast’s best Pinot Noirs.

Cat Cora Demonstration– Celebrity chef Cat Cora brings her world-renowned culinary expertise and Iron Chef style to a seminar on “Classics with a Twist.” Visit the pavilion afterward where she’ll be signing books.

Sustainable Seafood with Cindy Pawlcyn – With restaurants including Northern California favorites Fog City Diner, Mustards Grill, and Go Fish, celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn brings her contagious passion for sustainable seafood to SAVOR.

Beer Tasting and Food Pairing Seminar – Sunset magazine, food editor, Margo True picks her favorite Central Coast beers and pairs them with dishes made from local ingredients.

Tickets for the Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast 2011 event will go on sale on the new website May 5, 2011. For more information, please visit Tickets will also be available at Farm Supply stores on the Central Coast beginning July 5.

See you there !!!