Pebble Beach is one of the diamonds in the world’s luxury lifestyle collection of crown jewels. Names like Spyglass and the Links at Pebble Beach are used congruently with names like Palmer and Nicklaus all legends with an intertwined relationship that will last well past their physical attendance on those noble greens.
This picturesque luxury community located between Monterey and Carmel also includes one of the best hotel spas in the world, The Spa at Pebble Beach and Twelve unforgettable restaurants and lounges that provide unique culinary delights.
Over the last 5 years, Pebble Beach has added one more luxurious event to its repertoire. Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Founded in 2008 by Co-Founders Robert Weakley and David Allen Bernahal II with 25 renowned Chefs and 75 word-class wineries has now grown to over 75 Chefs, 250 wineries and over 50 events located all over this historical resort region. If there is only one event each year you should attend, hands down, without a doubt this is where you want to be in early April. Just when you thought it could not possibly get any better, the 5th Annual Pebble Beach Food Wine 2012 raised the bar even higher than the previous year.
The four day culinary extravaganza actually started off with a founders dinner at a private residence and then a celebrity Chef and Winemaker Golf tournament at the Links at Pebble Beach. The official opening was the Lexus Opening night reception at the Inn at Spanish Bay. Many celebrated into the early morning hours but had to keep in mind the extraordinary lineup for the first full day of this 5th Annual love fest of Food and Wine.
Walking into the Spanish Bay Inn, enjoying a spicy bloody Mary overlooking the magnificent view from their immaculate lobby was the perfect way to start the day. For foodies , it was like a dream come true with many of their favorite Food Network stars like Guy Fieri , Anne Burrel and Michael Symon all just “hanging out “ and getting their day started in the lobby . Celebrity Chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Laura Werlin all joined in mingling with the guests. After the early morning interlude it was time to get the first big day started .
Oenophiles could join Pinot Noir renown winemaker Gary Pisoni and friends for a nice selection of wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands or a Master class from Philppe Melka, or even travel to France for a “Lieu-dit” with Domaine de La Vougeraie. For those wanted to stay closer to home, an excellent exploration of Napa’s Cult Cabs would be just the way to start the day.
After a morning like that it was time for lunch and there were a wide variety to choose from. Who could pass up the Luxus Chefs Table Michelin Star lunch with 3 stat Michelin Chefs Daniel Boulud and Chef Christopher Kostow ? If Asian Fusion was more to your liking Chef Roy Yamaguchi was on hand to “show you the way”. From a Belgium Beer Luncheon, to a grouping LA All-Star-Chefs and Wine Farm and Sea from nearby Monterey, there was something for every palate.
Chef Michael Chiarello offered a great way to spend the late afternoon with his bold Italian cooking demonstration and Chef Jacques Pepin and daughter Claudine demonstrated the Essential Pepin cooking style and had the audience in stitches with their family humor in the kitchen.
The sun was starting to close on the horizon but the afternoon was not quite over. Mixologist Mariena Mercer from The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas has just the right cocktail to get you in the happy hour mood.
Kent Torrey from the renown Carmel Cheese shop partnered up with some rare wines such as Latour and Valandraud & Mondotte from the 1999 Vintage in large formats . Now THAT is a VERY happy, hour ! The Icon of Italy, Gaja, is just what anyone could need prior to changing into your very best for dinner with wines direct from the vineyard itself.
Dinner at Pebble Beach Food&Wine is a lifetime experience. As the stars in the sky came out so did those huge stars in the kitchen. The iron Chef Dinner transported all of us into “Kicthen Stadium” with culinary masters, Chefs Michael Symon, Masaharu Morimoto and Geoffery Zakarin for Picassos on the plate and a life time of memories.
Of course the Tribute Dinner for Iconic Chef Thomas Keller brought out a who’s’ who of former Chefs and Sommeliers who have worked under him to pay tribute in Food and Wine to one of America’s best. Oenophiles would have enjoyed any of the previous choices but a Legacy Dinner to mark the one year anniversary of Jess Jackson’s passing with Chefs Michael Chiarello , Richard Reddington , Justin Wangler and Elizabeth Faulkner all from the region , paired his legendary wines with their remarkable dishes was an event not to be missed.
The first full day was over and there was still a spirited After party to attend for those who were still going after round one of some of the best food and wine in the world. As guests drifted off to sleep in the early morning hours once again, they did not have suger plums dancing in their heads but visions of the great dishes and wines to come the next day as well as the first day of the Lexus Grand Tasting.
The gentle sounds of waves, seagulls flying overhead and the distant sound of Sea Lions marked the second full day and the biggest day thus far. There was no better way to get the day off with excitement than with Celebrity Chef Anne Burrel and Cook Like a Rock Star. She was the perfect way to get the juices flowing and showed how any novice cook can Cook Like A Rock Star at home and impress their family and friends . For wine lovers, the Sommelier Dream team of Shayn Bjornholm MS , Greg Harrington MS, Andrea Robinson MS took a room full of novices and experts through a Blind Tasting of White Wines.
Presently pleased, it was now off to the culinary and wine Mecca of The Lexus Grand Tasting where opulence and indulgence is the key. The best of the best from Wine, Champagne, Food Network Stars and Celebrity Chefs were there to greet the guests a serve up some mouth watering dishes and other libations.
The Lexus Grand tasting was just that, GRAND! . Feeling fully energized it was time to head for a visits with Mr. Energy of The Food Net Work, Chef Guy Fieri. Spanish Bay Inn was wild with excitement and this high-energy Chef took to the Jen-Air stage for his Cookin’it , Livin’it , Lovin’it demo. This was yet another one of a kind chance that Pebble Beach Food&Wine offers its guests to see how it’s done up close and personal with a Food Network Star.
There are so many great events that all one really has to do is throw a dart and no matter where it lands it’s going to be exceptional. A “bullseye” event had to be Celebrating 30 Years of Extraordinary: 1982 First Growth Bordeaux. This event was so special we have to name them all as there are so few and so rare. Mouton-Rothchild , Margaux, Lafite, Latour and of course Haut Brion.
There is no other wine event at this year’s Pebble Beach Food &Wine that exemplifies what this event is all about. The 5th year of this incredible event celebrates 30 years of the finest vintages of the finest wines in the world. This is one tasting that many never have the opportunity ever indulge in with a lifetime of appreciating wines.
An event like Pebble Beach Food&Wine started with class and ended with sophistication at its best. This “tete de cuvee” shows off the best of the best in one Grand Finale featuring Dom Perignon Champagne.
All of the stars this weekend had their individual stage to shine. At this event they all came together, the best of the best at the Beach and Tennis Club for a night of stars and bubbles.
Even though the Finale was over with memories of bubbles and stars, One more star showed once again how to shine. Chef Tyler Florence started off Sunday Morning and the last day of the event with an Ultimate Dining Experience to send guests home with fond memories and yet another Food Network Star to shine in their memory. Champagne is used for hellos and goodbyes all over the world.
The final farewell came with a Hommage a La Grand Dame . A celebration of Veuve Clicquot. This world class Champagne was proper send off and a Bon Voyage until next April 4-7 2013 where many plan to return again to the home of legends , Pebble Beach Food&Wine 2013.
Join Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris as she takes you inside Pebble Beach Food&Wine