This year’s third annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival may have been the best one to date. With more restaurants, and an event schedule packed fuller than ever before, only further proves why Newport Beach has quickly become a center hub for fine dining. Cutting edge chefs and a community quick to try the latest and greatest has helped Newport put itself on the map as a must-go-to place for a dining experience unlike any other. Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival founder and CEO Stefanie Salem says the expansion of the festival has, “happened organically [as] word of mouth has spread.” This year’s events featured 40 restaurants and 250 different wines. If you were one of the lucky ones able to secure a ticket to one of the many sold out events, you’d understand that this festival is about so much more than just food and wine — it’s a lifestyle. Chefs, sommeliers, vintners and musicians alike brought their talents and passion for drink, food, art all things delicious, to this year’s festival making it one to remember.
Taste Around Town
Opening night included Taste of Town events that took place at some of Newport Beach’s most coveted restaurants including: Ritz Prime Seafood, Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach and The Winery Newport Beach. Guests lucky enough to secure a ticket to the opening night event with Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen, of RM Seafood and RX Boiler Room, were greeted by a cocktail reception followed by a five-course tasting menu, which included land, sea, and truffle dishes created by both Chef Rick Moonen and Ritz Prime Seafood Executive Chef George Nevra. The hypnotizing smells of the ambrosial food and wines being served permeated throughout the restaurant leaving behind only smiles of many satisfied guests. Once the dinner concluded, the night ended with a meet-and-greet and book signing with Chef Moonen.
Private Luncheon With Nancy Silverton
This sold out event, hosted at Pizzeria Mozza, brought with it an amazing assortment of tasty food options, incredible wine pairings and plenty of cheer from Chef Silverton, a James Beard Award Winner and “Top Chef Masters” star. Ms. Silverton wowed guests with an intimate five-course tasting menu that included fine wine pairings by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan. The warm and inviting presence of Chef Silverton only further confirms that she includes that same type of passion in her food. If interested in recreating some of Chef Silverstone’s recipes at home, find her book here. Nancy Silverton is co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza alongside partners Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich.
French Dinner & Conversation With Hubert Keller
Hubert Keller (James Beard Award Winner and “Top Chef Masters” Finalist) was joined by local French masters, The Winery’s Yvon Goetz, Andrea Jean-Pierre and Pascal Olhats to prepare a five-course tasting menu for a sold-out Alsatian French dinner. Each dish was exceptionally crafted and artistically presented. Chef Keller’s books can be found on his website along with an astounding amount of complimentary recipes of his. Check them out and bring that authentic French-style cuisine to your next dinner party.
Most guests that patronized this year’s Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival took part in the daytime festivities which included:
- Live cooking demos with Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters” & “Top Chef” winners and alums
- Tastings from 40 of Orange County’s best restaurants and bakeries in the Grand Tasting Pavilions (21 different restaurants on each day)
- Wineries pouring over 250 different varietals boutique, “cult” and world-renowned wines in the Grand Tasting Pavilions
- Wine panels led only by six Master Sommeliers each day
- Handcrafted cocktail tastings from top-shelf spirits companies including: Duke Kentucky Bourbon, Courvoisier and Hornitos Tequila
- Variety of beer samplings from Stella Artois
- Live jazz in the Festival’s Jazz Lounge
And as if all listed above wasn’t enough, this year the festival added four all-new VIP experiences which took place at the Civic Center before the doors opened for General Admission. The first VIP event included the Hundred-Acre 100-Point Wine Tasting, an intimate setting, consisting of only 24 guests, who were served charcuterie and imported cheese plates alongside a variety of wines chosen by Master Sommeliers Chris Miller and Steven Poe. The event also included a meet-and-greet by the Proprietor of Hundred Acre and Founder of Duke Spirits Chris Radomski. The other events included a Live Cooking Demo with Master Chef Rick Bayless (PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time), a Champagne and Caviar Tasting, and lastly, a Live Cooking Demo with Master Chef Hubert Keller.
If you missed this year’s festival you can still go out and have a superior dining experience at one of the many restaurants that participated in this year’s event. For a full list of contributors please visit www.newportwineandfood.com.