Epicurean Delights Abound at Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert

The day’s events included a stellar lineup of celebrity chefs, food tastings, and plenty of libations.



François de Mélogue of Figue Mediterranean Restaurant.

Photo by Gerry Maceda

The 4th annual Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert’s first Grand Tasting event, “California Dreamin,” kicked off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, introducing the Coachella Valley to the month’s hottest culinary accessory suitable for everyone over 21 — brilliant orange wine glass neck holsters provided by Trio Restaurant that signified access to the festival’s tents.  

Throughout the day, the tribe of tasters wandered from tent to tent in a state of bliss, noshing on delicacies from more than 40 restaurants, sipping vino from some of the world’s top wineries, and sampling rum, tequila, beer, and vodka along the way.

One of the day’s highlights was watching Chef Valerie Gordon, owner of Valerie Confections in Los Angeles, as she whipped up berry pies, bringing audience members up to help stir and then sharing slices with everyone at the end of the demo. She stayed to autograph copies of her first cookbook, Sweet, while The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, put together a “brunch for ladies who lunch” in front of a packed crowd next door.

Other chefs cooking and sharing their creations included the Hearty Boys; François de Mélogue (Figue Mediterranean Restaurant), Chris Mitchum (Lantana Restaurant Hyatt Regency Indian Wells), Johannes Bacher (Johannes), Deborah Scott (Cohn Restaurant Group), Andie Hubka (Cork & Fork), Jon Tice (Tinto at the Saguaro Palm Springs), Gale Gand (Elawa Farm), Alex Reznik (Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktail), and Julie Pech (Chocolate Therapist). 

Sunset magazine’s wine editor Sara Schneider presented one of the most interesting and esoteric of the day’s wine seminars, pairing wines with specialty nuts from Emerald Nuts. “It seemed a bit crazy at first,” she said, “but of course everyone has cocktail hours, and sooner or later everyone puts out nuts to go with the drinks. Why not do it right?”

No matter what their culinary preferences, attendees found a plethora of gastronomic pleasures at every turn.

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

The Search for Sushi in the Desert

Shortly after making the move from her native Seattle to the desert, our new restaurant/foodie columnist became obsessed with finding her culinary go-to…fresh sushi.

Creative Mexican Cuisine Marks Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club's Reopening

New entertainment, special events, and a new executive chef in Ruben Galvez mark the reopening of Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club in South Palm Springs.

Imaginative Edge Marks New Chef at Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs

The newest restaurant by celebrity chef Kerry Simon, Simon Kitchen + Bar, just opened at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, bringing talented Executive Chef Jeremy Saccardi into the arena.

Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ 2014 James Beard 4-Course Luncheon

To kick off the Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ 2014 there was a a four-course gourmet luncheon featuring James Beard-recognized chefs, including David LeFevre, Brooke Williamson, Matthew Accarrino, and Gale Gand,

Cook Like a Pro

Elevate your culinary skills with classes hosted by local chefs.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.