Chef Spotting at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival

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Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival 2016

Regarded as on of the most prestigious food and wine events in the United States each year, the ninth annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival drew an impressive group of world-renowned chefs
this year including Daniel Boulud, Cat Cora, Graham Elliot, Guy Fieri, Hedy Goldsmith, Daniel Holzman, Brian Malarkey, Fabio Viviani, and Roy Yamaguchi.  The festival took over the area with events held in Pebble Beach venues like the Inn at Spanish Bay and nearby Monterey oceanside at the InterContinental The Clement.  Unlike other events which will often feature food from notable restaurants or chefs, at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival the chefs themselves were out in full force greeting guests and plating food.  Drew Barrymore even made an appearance at the Lexus Grand Tasting where she poured glasses of her new Barrymore Rose for lucky attendees.

Over the weekend I attended various different events, but at each it was so easy to introduce yourself to the chefs and ask questions.  I certainly didn’t go home hungry, but I survived for three days with no actual meals– rather a sampling of various small plates and whatever wine was flowing freely at the moment.  Some of my favorite moments with the chefs are featured below and in the gallery at the top.
Chef Hedy Goldsmith of Sweet Hedy Explains her Dessert in 30 Seconds

Quotes from the Chefs:
Fabio Viviani (Siena Tavern) “People that are in 80 degree weather in December do not eat the same way that people do in below 20 degrees in December, so you have to adapt and look at the eating habits of the market that you are in.  There are a lot of Italian ingredients in America, but not too much true Italian food.  Americans always like to embellish and add something extra, Italians take away.”

Brian Malarkey showed us all how to make a simple Hamachi Crudo-- no cooking involved!
Chef Brian Malarkey

Brian Malarkey (Searsucker, Herringbone)  “When you have friends over to your house and you start cooking up some raw fish for them, everyone gets excited.  You make a super simple vinaigrette, this is the easiest thing to do.  You just get some good fish and put it on the plate beautifully and your friends will think you are this amazing chef. I cooked nothing– I charred some onions.”

Grilled Duck Confit, Grilled Swank Farms Asparagus, Big Sur Chanterelles, Spring Onion on Grilled Polenta with Truffle Jus
Grilled Duck Confit, Grilled Swank Farms Asparagus, Big Sur Chanterelles, Spring Onion on Grilled Polenta with Truffle Jus

Matt Bolton (C Restaurant InterContinental The Clement Monterey) “I like to stay as close to home as much as I can with sourcing our goods.  We have an abalone farm that you can see from the courtyard here at the hotel.  The trend is to use local farms directly, for today’s dish I used duck from Sonoma, asparagus straight from the ground and delivered today, we have a local mushroom forager who brought me the chanterelles yesterday.  It’s as fast as you can get it, clean it, cook it, and put it on a plate.”

Chef Graham Elliot Cooking Cheddar Risotto with Apples, Bacon, and Beer

Graham Elliot (Graham Eliott Bistro, Master Chef) ” I used to get angry when someone would send something back or ask to change a signature dish.  We used to break up with the customer all the time, people would walk in and say it’s too loud and we’d say “Yes, it’s us not you, it’s not going to work.”  I think a chef is like red wine though, it’s very angry and young and then as it starts to evolve and mellow out it gets really nice.  If you aren’t throwing customers out in your 20’s you have no heart, if you aren’t redoing the food and making them happy in your 30’s then you have no brain.”


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