YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — It may have been a challenging few months for this glorious national park, what with an outbreak of norovirus and the Ahwahnee Hotel’s loss of one star, dropping it to a AAA three-diamond rating instead. But I’m happy to report that all seemed well when I was there last week as moderator for the last two sessions of the 2020 Chefs’ Holidays event.
This popular winter-time extravaganza, which consists of fun chef demos and grand gala dinners, celebrated its 36th year this January.
There might not have been any snow on the valley floor this time around, but there was plenty of sunshine, as well as more than enough action on the demo stage to keep everyone entertained.
Husband-and-wife chefs John Stewart and Duskie Estes got things rolling first, recounting the devastating loss of their Zazu restaurant in Sebastopol after last winter’s deluge flooded their place, and how local high school students kayaked in with a generator to help them pump out the water.
Stewart and Estes may not have a restaurant at the moment. But they continue to do catering, as well as sell products from their farm, including their magnificent Black Pig Meat Co. bacon.
LAS VEGAS, NV —
In the city that never sleeps, one can do major damage even if it’s only
a 48-hour trip, and ostensibly to take in a Lady Gaga show. But one
still has to eat, right? And boy, did my husband and I do just that.
Flock & Fowl
If you’ve never ventured beyond The Strip, you owe it to yourself to take a trek downtown. It’s arguably the city’s hippest neighborhood, with bold murals spanning two to three stories high on the sides of buildings, tongue-in-cheek sayings adorning old motel marquees, and a range of show-stopping public arts pieces.
Case in point, the Big Rig Jig at the Fergusons Downtown, an old motel that has been transformed into a venue of small local boutiques and eateries. The Big Rig Jig looks like something straight out of a “Transformers” movie. Composed of two massive tanker trucks bent and curved into an inexplicable “S,” it’s confounding, perplexing, and just plain amazing.
For half a century, the organization has worked to rebuild and preserve Tibet’s cultural heritage.
The unique gala features pairs of celebrated Bay Area chefs cooking a four-course dinner table-side for guests.
Chef Laurent Manrique of Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco has been instrumental in organizing the chef brigade over the years. He’s back again this time, joined by Chef Gerald Hirogoyen of San Francisco’s Piperade.
Some of the other chef duos who will be cooking together include Reylon Augustin of Madera in Menlo Park and Dustin Valette of Valette in Healdsburg; Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse in Saratoga and Anthony Strong of Prairie in San Francisco; and Jason Pringle of Selby’s in Redwood City and Eric Upper of Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco.
The evening includes a multi-course gourmet dinner, a cooking demo by celebrity Chef Martin Yan of San Francisco’s M.Y. China, and an auction.
There also will be a panel discussion about healthy eating, featuring myself, Yan, Chef Jesse Cool of Menlo Park’s Flea Street Cafe, and veteran broadcast journalist Alan Wang, founder of Newsworthy Media.
Tickets are $300. Food Gal readers receive a discounted price of $200 per ticket with the code: Foodie1.
CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a free pair of tickets to the “Flavors of San Francisco” event (a total value of $600). Entries for the contest, open only to those who can attend the event on Nov. 13 in South San Francisco, will be accepted through midnight PST Nov. 2. Winner will be announced Nov. 4 on this blog.