Perfect Pairing

Celebrity chefs and world-class wineries converge on Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert for a weekend of fun, education, and good taste.



Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert featured innovative, gourmet cuisine; celebrity chefs; and a range of fine wines.

ADRIANNE BONAFEDE

Under the big white tent that had seen night after night of runway shows during Fashion Week El Paseo, another fun, sophisticated event unfolded in late March: the second annual Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert, where an all-star lineup of chefs and winemakers offered demonstrations and an appreciable serving of gourmet dishes and wine pairings.

“The most important thing for any cook to have is fun,” said the colorful Duff Goldman, impresario of Charm City Cakes and star of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, who, with other featured chefs, drew inspiration from nature, clothing, music, and life for the kickoff program, Romancing the Plate With the Perfect Date.

At the four-course, $100-a-plate, gourmet luncheon — featuring exceptional wines from Sonoma-Cutrer and Korbel — attendees enjoyed the Chef Challenge Cooking Demonstration in which the versatile, heart-healthy California date took center stage in a variety of flavorful forms.

Andie Hubka, executive chef of the California Date Administrative Committee and luncheon host, won over the audience with blue cheese and almond-stuffed California dates with chive oil. Jimmy Schmidt, executive chef at Morgan’s in the desert, drew applause for his roasted wild salmon atop dates, and chanterelle and arugula plumped celeriac ravioli with date emulsion. Scott Robinson, owner and executive chef of New Leaf Catering, simmered his Vietnamese beef and noodle soup in duck and date broth to perfection. And Goldman tantalized taste buds to a crescendo with his pear ginger spice cake with khadrawi date sauce and Chinese citrus Chantilly cream.

Later that evening, Morgan’s in the desert hosted an elegant cocktail reception at the historic La Quinta Resort & Club to celebrate the festival’s association with the James Beard Foundation. The partnership, which also includes the Culinary Institute of America, benefits Friends of James Beard Foundation and CIA’s Endowed Scholarship Fund, as well as the local Desert AIDS Project and Martha’s Village & Kitchen.

On Saturday and Sunday, more than 1,100 epicureans enjoyed gourmet dishes from more than 50 Southern California restaurants, which showcased creations by James Beard Award-winning chefs Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Restaurant), Bradley Ogden (Caesar’s Palace), and Paul Bertolli (Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Salumi).

In wall-to-wall gourmet food booths, guests sampled dishes such as the melt-in-your-mouth Roasted Duck (Schmidt, Morgan’s in the desert), scrumptious Citrus and Blood Orange Marinated Short Ribs with a Carrot Ginger Purée (Michael Estrada, Matchbox Pizza), dreamy Date Cheesecake (Juan Leon, The Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel), and sinfully de-luscious Red Velvet Cupcakes (Tony Di Lembo, The Tropicale).

Celebrity chefs demonstrated on two stages provided by Viking Range Corp., and Jensen’s Finest Foods Marketplace hosted a winemaker and sommelier stage.

More than 50 wineries and vineyards from California, Europe, and South America participated, including Clos Pegase, Hess Collection, Louis Jadot-France, St. Francis, Benziger Family Winery, Kenwood, and Napa Cellars.

Top sommeliers, such as Antonia Quest, and leading wine authorities, such as Hugh Davies (Schramsberg Vineyards and J. Davies Vineyards), Tracy Cervellone (Wilson Daniels Ltd.) and Joel Templin (JAQK Cellars) shared their knowledge and tips.

Organizers have already begun planning next year’s Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert. For information, visit www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse Earns National Ranking

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage serves one of the top-10 ranked Belgium pale ales in the country, according to Beerinfo.com.

10 Places to Dine on New Year's Eve in Greater Palm Springs

If you are still looking for a place to usher in 2015, whether it's simply a nice meal out or a complete package of food, drinks and entertainment, check out these options in the Greater Palm Springs area.

Cheers to the Holidays at TRIO Palm Springs

Spend the holidays with family and friends at TRIO and leave the cooking to someone else. TRIO will be open regular hours both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, plus offering celebratory specials for New Year’s Eve.

Warm Up With A Taste of Summer

If your lips pucker at the thought of sipping traditionally bitter grapefruit juice, fear not: This Ruth’s Chris Steak House recipe calls for a delicate, semisweet surprise of ruby red that will lure you over to the pink side.

The Purple Palm Takes "Pride" in Crafted Cocktails

Palm Springs takes pride in many things, and with the approach of Pride Weekend, cocktails will be at the heart of the many parties and events.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
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.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2015 Grand Experience
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.