The best way to describe the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival---four full days of celebrity chef cooking demos, book signings, wine seminars, lunches, walk-around tastings, after parties, and dinners with a truly amazing lineup of chefs---is through our first two day's itineray. Quite frankly, we're full.
DAY 1: Winding Up
We missed the celebrity chef golf tourney (Ming Tsai, Masarahu Morimoto, Tom Colicchio, Thomas Keller were just some of the chefs who played) and the opening night party at the Inn at Spanish Bay, but we didn't miss the after party. Food (a roast pig, procetta, sushi), cocktail bars and the now-famous wine room. Chefs spotted: Tre Wilcox from Top Chef season three, Ryan Scott from season four (and publicist who wouldn't let us talk TC at all), and Michel Richard who practically ran away when we tried to say hello.
DAY 2: Demos, Tastings, Wine Until the Wee Hours
10am-11:30am: Jacques and Claudine Pepin cooking demo. The two are like a Laurel and Hardy comedy team, except with crepes, caviar and wine. Quick shuttle (overheard on bus: "Wish we could taste the crepes" and "I want Jacques Pepin to be my dad") to the main event tents for a luncheon.
12pm-2:45pm: Chefs from Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Top Chef, Joe's Stone Crab, Marinus and Morimoto prepare our meal. The room was a flutter of sommeliers and servers. It was supposed to be like the Food Network come to life, but it was tastier than the Food Network could ever hope to be.
3pm-4:30pm: Thomas Keller cooking demo was a packed house. Queen's "Under Pressure" and Van Halen's "Jump" kicked things off. When he talked, the big TK had more than 200 people completely engrossed. He asked his sous for temps and times while he discussed sous vide, molecular gastronomy, Grant Aschatz, critics, and artisanal ingredients, including the woman who supplies the French Laundry and Per Se with butter (Animal Farm from Orwell, VT) and why her divorce is the reason dinner prices went up.
7pm: Fancy wine auction dinner. Keller (again) joined by Michelin-starred French chefs Gerard Boyer, Philippe Legendre and Alain Passard, and David Kinch from NoCal's Manresa. Best dishes of the night: Kinch and Keller. Kinch's clever "forest floor hunting for mushrooms" would have been so wrong had it not been so right. Keller prepares steak and potatoes like no other. The night was way too long (more than five hours) to stay for dessert. And yes, someone paid $8,000 for a dinner for two at the French Laundry.
12am-???: The chefs were out in full force on Friday night. The famous ones congregate together, like a walled garden to keep the plebes out. As soon as one broke away, adoring fans were quick on the attack for pictures and "love your restaurant and/or show." Todd English ignored one woman's greeting, but she wouldn't leave until he acknowledged her (his friend finally said, "Just say hello."). We drew Ted Allen from the pack (English, Ming Tsai, Elizabeth Falkner, etc.), who admitted that he and Colicchio both tried to shoot our center-placement-in-promos theory in Eater comments (#5 and #2, respectively).
· Pebble Beach F&W Fest: The Wine Room [~ELA~]
· Pebble Beach: Goss From Day One [~ELA~]