March 23, 2016 by danisdecadentdeals
The 2016 Palm Desert Food & Wine festival, presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is back for its sixth year with all-star chef talent and food enthusiasts for three amazing days of wining and dining. This spectacular event will be held in the heart of Palm Desert’s famous El Paseo shopping district! I have attended this event twice, once in 2012 & again in 2014 and I have enjoyed it thoroughly both times. There are so many exciting chef demonstrations, wineries, breweries and restaurants to visit for 2 full days, Saturday and Sunday in which the Grand Tastings take place! From Friday, April 8th through Sunday, April 10th, a James Beard Luncheon, live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs, cookbook signings, and samplings from over 40 restaurants and 60 premium wineries, breweries, and spirits purveyors will take place!
To kick of the Palm Desert Food & Wine festival, presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa on Friday, April 8 there will be a return of the popular four-course gourmet James Beard Luncheon, which this year will be inspired by the theme of “Modern Masters of the Modern Palate.” The luncheon on Friday will commence at 11:30 a.m. and continue through 2:30 p.m. and will be prepared by well-recognized chefs, Cat Cora, Suzanne Tracht, Valerie Gordon, and Gale Gand. Each course will be paired with a premium wine and prepared demo-style in front of all attendees. A portion of proceeds from the luncheon and live auction will be donated to the Friends of James Beard Foundation, which raises scholarship funds for culinary students. This is such a great cause and continues to assist in supporting the future chefs’ community.
This year a few new events will be introduced to the menu that I have not yet experienced. This will include: “Pints & Plates,” a craft beer garden, which will offer expert-led beer pairing demos from local breweries such as Babe’s Bar-b-que & Brewhouse, La Quinta Brewing Co., Coachella Valley Brewing Co., and Hanger 24 Craft Brewery. There will also be an area called the “Chill Zone,” which will be a dedicated section of the festival featuring all things cooling, from frosty cocktails to artisan ice cream treats and more! This second new addition will be perfect for a little cool down if the weather is warm like it normally is here in sunny Southern California. 🙂
A sampling of featured talent that will be present at the event includes:
- Cat Cora (first female “Iron Chef,” TV personality, cookbook author, and owner of five restaurants)
- Gale Gand (James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, cookbook author, TV personality, and co-owner of Tru and SpritzBurger in Chicago)
- Ricardo Zarate (Food & Wine magazine “Best New Chef,” cookbook author, new restaurant concept opening summer 2016 in Los Angeles)
- Suzanne Tracht (Chef/owner of Jar in Los Angeles, “Top Chef Masters” participant)
- Valerie Gordon (Chef/owner of Valerie Confections, award-winning chocolatier, and cookbook author)
- Sean Le (“Master Chef Junior” Season 2 contestant)
Ticket Prices are as follows:
Grand Tasting tickets (12pm-4pm) – $100 per person/per day and include access to all chef demos, as well as unlimited food, wine, and spirit tastings.
VIP Grand Tasting tickets (11am-4pm) – $135 per person/per day and include early entrance to the festival with an exclusive celebrity chef demo; unlimited food, wine, and spirit tastings; and all-access chef demos.
Tickets to the James Beard Luncheon range from $125-$150 per person depending on seat selection.
Tickets are available for purchase on the website that can be found in my original blue link at the top of my article. The website also shows the full schedule events for each day of the grand tasting.
This annual food and wine event gathers some of the brightest and most inspirational chefs and culinary personalities from around the country for three amazing days of food and wine tasting. I have enjoyed this event thoroughly every time I have attended and I always love to stay at one of the local hotels and make it a weekend getaway! This food and wine festival is held in a vacation destination and every time I go I am pleasantly surprised with the new chef demonstrations I get to witness, culinary creativity, wines, and more! I hope to see you there! Please come say hello if you see me in the crowd!
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