- Los Angeles Times Highlights Southern California Dining and Cocktail Culture During The Taste
Food Lovers Flocked to Paramount Pictures Studios Over Labor Day Weekend to Enjoy
Panels, Demos and Bites from LA’s Renowned Chefs and Restaurants
LOS ANGELES (September 6, 2017) – Thousands of culinary enthusiasts explored Los Angeles Times’ eighth annual food festival, The Taste, over Labor Day weekend. The festival, which celebrated the flavors of the world in Southern California style, was hosted by The Times Food staff – Amy Scattergood, Jonathan Gold, Jenn Harris and Noelle Carter – and brought together acclaimed chefs, master bartenders and award-winning restaurants at the Paramount Pictures Studios backlot.
Over the course of three days and five events, attendees were able to enjoy unlimited food tastings and pours from wine, beer and spirits purveyors, while sitting in on a number of engaging cooking and mixology demos, seminars and panel discussions. Marquee chefs and personalities from the weekend included Sang Yoon (Father’s Office/Lukshon), Miles Thompson (Michael’s), Antonia Lofaso (Scopa Italian Roots/Black Market Liquor Bar) and Marco A. Ramos (Scopa Italian Roots), David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post), Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza/Holbox), Wes Avila (Guerilla Tacos), Pawan, Nakul and Arjun Mahendro (Badmaash), Danny Trejo (Trejo’s Tacos/Cantina/Coffee & Donuts), Phil Rosenthal (“I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”) and many more.
The celebrations kicked off on Friday with Opening Night, The Taste’s most intimate soiree featuring a focused collection of tastings and distinctive cocktail and wine offerings, with bites from the likes of Baran’s 2239, Bourbon Steak, Crying Tiger, Friends & Family, Georgie, Scratch Bar & Kitchen, Side Chick, Simone and Tabula Rasa Bar. The hungry crowds enjoyed samples of the cacio e pepe pizza from Pizzana, mussels pickled in black vinegar with vinegar foam and nasturtiums from Kali, and Sichuan spicy wontons from Fat Dragon, all against the glittering backdrop of Paramount Pictures and the beats of a live DJ’s turntables.
The following afternoon, Times Food Editor Amy Scattergood hosted Field to Fork, a celebration of California’s incredible bounty and the brilliant flavors of seasonal cooking. Focusing on Southern California’s agricultural roots, Scattergood led a discussion about the importance of farms and eating local with Romeo Coleman (Coleman Family Farms), Alex Weiser (Weiser Family Farms) and Wes Whitsell (Manuela), while co-host Sang Yoon and Miles Thompson shared their farmers market savvy with cooking demos highlighting their favorite bright and flavorful ingredients. In between demos and discussions, guests enjoyed bites from Aqui es Texcoco, Banh Oui, Cento Pasta Bar and The Wallace, and cooled down with a scoop from McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.
Saturday Night’s Dinner with a Twist was a cocktail party in true LA style on a Hollywood backlot, with the city’s dining and cocktail culture taking center stage. The Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold held a conversation with renowned writer and producer Phil Rosenthal before hosting a group mixology demonstration with Times Deputy Food Editor Jenn Harris, Meredith Hayman (Michael’s Santa Monica), Gabriella Mlynarcyzk (Bar Accomplice) and Brynn Smith (Sotto/Rossoblu). On the other side of the lot, guests got lessons on how to create a dynamic backyard cocktail experience and celebrated urban gastronomy through signature cocktail concoctions. Co-hosts Antonia Lofaso and Marco A. Ramos capped off the night with a cooking and mixology demonstration while guests noshed on squid ink xiaolongbao from Little Fatty, surf ‘n turf Sliders from Slapfish and Louisiana fried chicken wings from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.
The final day of The Taste kicked off with Sunday Block Party, where great times and good food were on the agenda – fitting for a city that loves to dine leisurely on a Sunday afternoon. Times Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter hosted a conversation with Chris Phelps (Salt’s Cure), Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium) and Dakota Weiss (Sweetfin) about what it means to brunch at some of the most innovative restaurants the city has to offer. Demonstrations by co-host Sherry Yard (Tuck Room Tavern) and Valerie Gordon (Valerie’s Confections) offered a little something for the sweet-toothed guests in attendance, as did the crème brule donut from Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken and scoops of raspberry limoncello sorbet from Salt & Straw. Those looking for a savory bite were able to enjoy a biscuit baking demonstration by David LeFevre and Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean’s) as well as ahi tuna tartar and white caviar truffle deviled eggs from Ocean Prime, kampachi ceviche from Rosaliné and the Oktoberwürst sausage from Dog Haus.
The weekend closed out with a bang with Flavors of LA, an evening spent exploring an eclectic collection of the city’s best and most talked about culinary stars. Gold interviewed Danny Trejo and discussed the depth and diversity of flavors that make LA one of the most exciting cities to dine in. The final evening saw cooking demonstrations by Gilberto Cetina Jr., Pawan, Nakul and Arjun Mahendro and Wes Avila, and ended with a Korean BBQ Summit featuring Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage Company/Hanjip) and Jenee Kim (Park’s BBQ). Chasiu pork belly on fried bao from Fat Dragon, octopus tacos from Holbox and scoops of Bulgarini Gelato were all part of the evening’s bites.
Throughout the weekend, key sponsor activations brought additional interest to The Taste, which was presented by JetBlue Plus Card and produced in association with Best Events. Activations included branded pop-up bars by Ketel One Vodka offering a fresh herb and garnish bar and Bulleit Frontier Whiskey setting up shop inside a converted trailer. JetBlue Plus Card also offered the only official photo booth on site, while Essentia provided much-needed hydration with chilled water bottles for all guests.
L.A. Regional Food Bank, Midnight Mission and Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management were the event’s charity partners. In an effort to mitigate food waste and support the alleviation of hunger, leftover prepared food from the weekend was donated to Midnight Mission; and Zero Waste Co. was on hand throughout the festival diverting waste to compost.
- PREVIEW: The LA Times Taste Returns to Paramount Studios Sept. 1st-3rd, 2017. Check out all the info including the opening night event on the website below.
Five food events over Labor Day weekend. Enjoy unbelievable food, wine seminars, cooking demos, great spirits and good company.
- LA Times The Taste http://extras.latimes.com/taste/
- Field to Fork – Hosted by Amy Scattergood, Times Food Editor, and Sang Yoon, Chef/Owner of Father’s Office and Lukshon; Sat., Sept. 2, noon to 3 p.m.
Inspired by Southern California’s agricultural roots and DIY attitude, Yoon and Miles Thompson (Michael’s) will each share their farmers market savvy through individual cooking demos using their favorite bright and flavorful ingredients. Scattergood will lead a discussion about the importance of farms and eating local with Romeo Coleman (Coleman Family Farms), Alex Weiser (Weiser Family Farms) and Wes Whitsell (Manuela). Restaurants include Aqui es Texcoco, Banh Oui, Cento Pasta Bar, Coni’Seafood, Cruciferous, M Café, Maury’s Bagels, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Robert’s Catering Service and VCHOS Pupuseria Moderna.
- Dinner with a Twist – Hosted by Jonathan Gold, Times Restaurant Critic, Jenn Harris, Times Deputy Food Editor, Antonia Lofaso, Chef/Owner of Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar, and Marco A. Ramos, Mixologist at Scopa Italian Roots; Sat., Sept. 2, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
L.A.’s dining and cocktail culture takes the stage with a chef-bartender demo by Lofaso and Ramos, and by Allan Katz and Jonathan Whitener (Here’s Looking At You). Breana Jackson (Sugar & Spice: Baked by Bre), Danielle Bennett (Lady on the Rocks), Derrick Lewis (Not Your Mama’s Kitchen) and Chef E Dubble (E Dubble Catering/Grilled Fraiche) will celebrate urban gastronomy with a collaborative showcase of their signature concoctions, and Meredith Hayman (Michael’s), Gabriella Mlynarczyk (Accomplice Bar) and Brynn Smith (Sotto) will shake it up with a group demo. Restaurants include Barrel & Ashes, Beauty & Essex, Black Market Liquor Bar, Faith & Flower, Mayura Indian Restaurant, Pedalers Fork, Scopa Italian Roots, Szechuan Impression, The Bellwether, The Ponte and Wolf.
- Sunday Block Party – Hosted by Noelle Carter, Times Test Kitchen Director, and Sherry Yard, Chef/Owner of Tuck Room Tavern; Sun., Sept. 3, noon to 3 p.m.
Great food and good times are the order of the day at the block party on the backlot, where Yard will demystify pastry-baking for home cooks and David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post) will give a master class on making biscuits. Carter will host a talk with Chris Phelps (Salt’s Cure) about what it means to brunch at some of the most innovative spots around town, with additional panelists to be announced. Restaurants include Cheezus, Cocobella Creamery, E.A.K. Ramen, Hotville Chicken & Chops, Hummus Yummy Food Truck, MessHall, Otium, Rosaliné, The Butcher’s Daughter and Tuck Room Tavern.
- Flavors of L.A. – Hosted by Jonathan Gold, Times Restaurant Critic, and Gilberto Cetina Jr., Chef/Owner of Chichen Itza and Holbox; Sun., Sept. 3, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Closing night of The Taste embraces the depth and diversity of flavors that make Los Angeles one of the most exciting places to dine through demos by Cetina, Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos) and the team behind Badmaash: Pawan, Nakul and Arjun Mahendro. Gold will explore Korean barbecue with masters of the grill: Jenee Kim (Park’s Barbeque) and Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage Co.). Restaurants include Chichen Itza, Frankland’s Crab & Co., Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Holbox, Luv2eat Thai Bistro, Meals by Genet, Pasta Sisters, Revolutionario North African Tacos, Same Same and Worldwide Tacos.
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