With food festival season upon us, the choices for where and how to spend your money can be a little overwhelming. Next week's All-Star Chef Classic on its own has so many dinners and events, it's hard to know where to begin. One of the most exciting things about this festival is the talent it attracts from all over the United States and even internationally. It gives us a chance to taste the cooking of some of the best chefs in the world, right here in L.A.
Krissy Lefebvre, who co-founded the event as executive producer of the group Alice in Events LLC, says, "All-Star Chef Classic was started with the intent to create an event that cuts through the clutter of so many food events and really positions the chefs as the stars."
Lee Zeidman, president of L.A. Live, where the event takes place, echoes that sentiment: "Entering our third year of All-Star Chef Classic, we're looking forward to having an expanded lineup of world-class chefs join us. It really is extraordinary to witness this caliber of talent all in one place, cooking side by side."
Here are five chefs coming to town for the event whom you may want to check out. (There are lots of others; check out the full lineup here.)
5. Diego Hernández-Baquedano
Diego Hernández-Baquedano is the chef at Corazón de Tierra in La Villa del Valle, a 70-acre property that houses a hotel and winery in Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe. He's one of the major players in Mexico's current gastronomic revolution, and his food is both modern and rooted in tradition. At his restaurant, he uses ingredients mainly sourced from the property itself or from within a few miles. Hernández-Baquedano will be cooking at the Noche de Masters dinner on Thursday, March 10, and also at the Global Grand Tasting on Friday evening.
4. Edward Lee
Louisville, Kentucky's Edward Lee has been a force in the South's cooking renaissance, first with his restaurant 610 Magnolia and then with his subsequent restaurants Milkwood (also in Louisville) and Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland. His book Smoke & Pickles is one of the great Southern cookbooks to come out in recent years. He's cooking at the East-West Masters Dinner alongside some of L.A.'s great chefs (Niki Nakayama and Sang Yoon, among others), though that event is sold out. But you can still catch Lee at the Global Grand Tasting on Friday, March 11.
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3. Naomi Pomeroy
Chef of Portland's celebrated Beast restaurant, Naomi Pomeroy is the recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest, 2014. At Beast, she serves six-course tasting menus in the tiny, 24-seat dining room, and at the All-Star Chef Classic she'll be cooking at both the American Masters Dinner and the Saturday evening Grill and Chill event.
2. Sean Brock
In my book, Sean Brock is a national treasure. If you've seen him on PBS' Mind of a Chef, you'll know that the dude exudes enthusiasm and curiosity. He also is a hell of a cook, and usually you can't get his food outside of the South (he has restaurants in Charleston, Nashville and most recently Atlanta). But at the All-Star Chef Classic you can get a taste of his cooking at either the American Masters Dinner or the Grill and Chill event.
1. Alain Ducasse
OK, so this is a bit of a cheat, because the only place you can get a glimpse of Alain Ducasse or taste his food is at the French Masters Dinner on Wednesday evening, which is sold out. But how could we possibly do this post without mentioning that Ducasse will be here? The chef of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in London, Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Rivea in Las Vegas, Ducasse was the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin stars in three cities. He's a goddamn legend. Also at the French dinner will be fellow legend Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a number of young and exciting chefs from Paris: Bertrand Grébaut from Septime, Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand and Tatiana Levha of Le Servan. (Our own Ludo Lefebvre also will be cooking.) So lucky you if you already have a ticket. For everyone else, you can catch all the French masters excepting the two legends (Ducasse and Vongerichten) at the Grill and Chill event.
You can get tickets to all events that aren't yet sold out here. And keep your eyes peeled next week for all these fantastic chefs as they wander around Los Angeles.