As I’ve reported recently, this is shaping up to be an incredible season of food fests in and around LA. And I won’t lie, it would be very difficult to pick one. But if I really really had to (doctor’s orders!), I believe it would be the American Wine and Food Festival.
Why? Here’s why: Now in its 28th season, AWFF is one of the major culinary events of the country. Spearheaded by Wolfgang Puck — that’s him with yours truly at top (yes, I’m showing off) — it benefits the Meals On Wheels programs of LA, bringing nutritious food to housebound seniors and the disabled.
But more than a great cause, it is a great event. On Saturday, September 25, at the picturesque but spacious backlot at Universal Studios, Chef Puck is assembling a culinary all star hall of fame including The Paul Prudhomme, The Thomas Keller, The José Andrés, The Nobu Matsuhisa, The David Myers, as well as Costas Spiliadis, Scott Conant, Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton, Luciano Pellegrini, Julian Serrano, Sam Choy, Stephan Pyles, Francois Payard… and Puck protégés including Lee Hefter, Scott Irestone, David Robins, Eric Klein, Matt Hurley and Sherry Yard (who will oversee her own dessert, port and champagne tent). Did I leave anyone out? I did, actually—several. The list is just too long.
But what about the wine, you say? Well, let’s see. Participating vintners (that means they’re pouring) include: Au Bon Climat, BV, Bonny Doon, Chappellet, Charles Krug, Domaine Serene, Dr. Loosen, Duckhorn and Paraduxx, Ferrari-Carano, Grgich Hills, Hitching Post, Iron Horse, Joseph Phelps, Qupe, Sterling and W.J. Deutsch. And yes, that list goes on, too.
You’re going to have a designated driver, aren’t you? You know, they do have hotel rooms nearby. I’m just saying.
Naturally no festival like this would be complete without an astounding live and silent auction package as well. There are some travel experiences on the block here that would make anyone swoon.
Oh, but it gets better. If that felt just a little too commonplace for you, come to Spago Beverly Hills on Sunday, September 26 for the Grand Tasting Dinner. With Chef Puck hosting, of course, one course each will be prepared by Nobu Matsuhisa, The Charlie Palmer, The Paul Bartolotta, as well as Michael White of AltaMarea, Santi Santamaria of Restaurant Can Fabes, and Dominique Ansel of Restaurant Daniel. This is a dinner that will only happen once! Ever!
Universal Studios Backlot is located at 3900 Lankersheim Boulevard, Gate 3, Universal City, 310.574.3663
Spago Beverly Hills is located at 176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.385.0880