From September 1 to 3, The L.A. Times is staging a series of food events under the banner “The Taste,” giving the city a three-day food event designed both for and by locals. What does this one have that L.A. Food & Wine did not? Ludo, Zoe Nathan, and Jonathan Gold just to start, and probably a lot more culinary wisdom than that other event’s glut of glitz. The event brings together a great mix of local chefs and food industry experts, with names like Thomas Keller, Ricardo Zarate, Nancy Silverton, Casita Mexicana’s Jaime and Ramiro, and David LeFevre joining forces with the paper’s food section staffers like editor Russ Parsons, nightlife pro Jessica Gelt, Test Kitchen countess Noelle Carter, and Good Food host Evan Kleiman, as well as rising stars on the scene like The Beer Chicks, Julian Cox, and Bricia Lopez. Let’s take a look at what the weekend has to offer.
The Taste is broken down into five different events. On day one, Parsons will host “Field to Fork” with Fig chef Ray Garcia at Paramount Studios, which will highlight sustainable cooking with demos by Nyesha Arrington, Jason Kim of Forage, and Cook’s County’s Roxana Jullapat, along with a cooking challenge between Garcia and LeFevre, a breakdown on Bordeaux, and a discussion on “the state of the farmers market.” If “learning” is not really your thing, your $65.00 advance ticket ($75 at the door, with a $185 weekend pass buying access to all events also available) supplying you with tastings from 25 restaurants like Mo Chica, A-Frame, Craft, Ray’s, Soleto, and Rocio’s Moles del Dioses, among others, and your typical landslide of wineries..
Saturday and Sunday, The Taste offers two such events, with a final Labor Day picnic offered on Monday from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Following “Field to Fork” on Saturday, Gelt plans “Cocktail Confidential,” full of mixology demos from the likes of Alex Day and Tricia Alley, culminating in a mix-off judged by Cox, Gelt, and Gold. Restaurants that evening include Golden Road Brewpub, haven, Ammo, Bulgarini Gelato, Red O, and Industriel.
Sunday’s morning event, Flavors of L.A., looks to be a sure-fire winner, as Jonathan Gold assembles some of his favorite standouts, including Meals by Genet, Gary Menes’ Le Comptoir, Border Grill, Spice Table, Milo & Olive, and Chichen Itza for tastings, while offering cooking demos from Ludo, Zarate, Kris Yembamroong, and Susan Feniger, plus a panel with Gold and Kleiman, as well as a sake and wine tasting demo.
We recently heard a chef offer the astute criticism that Latin chefs were underrepresented at LAFW and The Taste appears to remedy that with a much different approach to the crucial talents of kitchens everywhere, bringing Mexican and South American chefs to the spotlight and for this event, hosting an Authentic Flavors of Mexico panel with Kleiman, Gold, Bricia Lopez, Monarca’s Ricardo Cervantes, and the Casita Mexicana chefs, among others.
If you didn’t get enough beer at this weekend’s Downtown Beer Crawl, The Beer Chicks return that evening for “Dinner & Drinks,” a tasting event hosted by the paper’s Betty Hallock with drink demos and tastings from Rustic Canyon, Salt’s Cure, Mohawk Bend, Sunny Spot, and Simon LA, and brew samples from Smog City, Hangar 24, and Craftsman to name a few.
The weekend caps off with a “Labor Day Picnic,” hosted by Noelle Carter and Zoe Nathan from 11:00 to 3:00 that Monday holiday. An informal jam celebrating sandwiches, tacos, ice cream, and other summer comforts, with tastings by The Park, MexiKosher, Burger Lounge, and Coolhaus, there will also be a panel on burgers with winners of the paper’s recipe contest and a discussion between Parsons and Thomas Keller on the Great One’s career. Demos include an exploration of Cali appellations, demo with Judy Han of Mendocino Farms, and a demo by the one and only Nancy Silverton.