Celebrity Chefs, Gourmet Bites and Bottomless Wine — A Look at the 2012 LA Food & Wine Festival
Doubling in size since last year’s event, the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival is back with more celebrity chefs, and even more food. Last night’s event, Giada’s Festa Italiana, was hosted by none other than Giada De Laurentiis herself, and was the kickoff party for the festival’s triumphant return at LA Live.
Featuring over 200 wines from around the world and 28 world famous chefs, Giada’s Festa Italiana was the perfect way to start the 4 day food and wine eat & drink-athon. Last night we were fortunate enough to feast on delicious interpretations of Italian cuisine from celebrity chefs such as Fabio Viviani, Hedy Goldsmith, and Scott Conant, while clumsily trying to make sure our wine glass didn’t slip out of our hands (something like a GoPlate would’ve been super handy).
Although there were thousands of hungry & thirsty bodies at the event, the lines for food flowed effortlessly like the wines being poured into each guest’s glass. If you’re free this weekend, happen to be in the LA area, and really want to do something special, there are plenty more events going on until Sunday, August 12th.
By now, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me gab on and on about the event itself and what’s to come, so I decided to bring back some pictures from yesterday, which are shot from my very talented buddy Darren. The pictures don’t even compare to the sheer volume of gnocchi, desserts, and (for a lack of a better term) awesomeness contained in one night.
Here are the pictures of some of the gourmet foods, drinks and celebrity chefs in all their glory:
Life in the flesh — Chef Giada De Laurentiis.
Chef Fabio Viviani’s savory gnocchi with duck sausages.
Chef Michael Fiorelli’s sausage & peppers “Monday Morning Style.” Inside the pepper is black rice, farro, framani salami and a housemade ricotta.
Looking too cool for his own good, Chef Jeff Mahin serving up prosciutto, mizuna, arugula pesto, and ricotta paninos as well as the beauty you’ll see below.
Grilled grapes, burrata cheese, olive oil and sea salt on freshly made bread.
Watermelon and peach margarita topped with Pop Rocks and a Maker’s Mark with pureed peaches, lemon juice and Peach Roombos Tea, otherwise known as the “Watermelon Patch” on the left & the “Pour Some Sugar on Me” popsicles.
Chefs Fabio Viviani and Scott Conant hanging out.
The beautiful creation of Chef Conant’s work.
The man likes to spoon. Chef Michael Chiarello smiles for the crowd as he preps his dish.
Crispy Gnocchi with fonduta and tomato jam.
Chef De Laurentiis’ watermelon couscous & penne with short rib ragu.
This man had panna cotta for days. I wish I would’ve just ran off with a platter for myself.
Close-up of Chef Mike Ainsworth’s goat milk panna cotta with bing cherries.
Housemade peanut butter, honey, and sea salt chocolates.
The men of fine chocolates. Chef Jonathan Grahm on the right smiles on with his partner as they represent Compartes Chocolatier.
Chef Jeff Cerceillo of Farmshop fame.
Lobster ravioli and the dish below were courtesy of Chef Jason Harley.
One of the two dishes being served by Chef Nina Clemente of Indigo Kid.
Number 2 of her dishes was a peach medley + peach sorbet with crispy priscuitto
Chef Clemente herself.
Flatbread + fig + gargonzola = delicious light snack.
Chef Danny Elmaleh of CLEO & Mercato di Vetro plating a fried squash blossom with shaved black truffles.
Chalices that you get to keep!
Chef Gino Angelini was the only person who served up lasagna during the entire night.
SUPER stoked about their octopus carpaccio, Chef Mark Estee and his assistant smile for the camera.
Sotto’s pork belly was easily one of my favorite dishes. Not pictured was the plated version, but what you see here is what Chef Zach Pollack plopped in front of me and said to dig in on. Running out of ingredients for his Pork Porcetto, he decided to let me feast on the leftover pork and bread. I win.
Would I love to come back next year? Hell yeah I would. Remember, there are still events happening this weekend, but just be sure to act fast because they’re selling out quick.
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