The number of food talks and events and conferences and night markets and festivals just keeps growing in L.A., and it's hard to know where to spend your time and money and stomach space. But a conference that's new to L.A. and looks especially noteworthy is coming up in a few weeks.
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Taste Talks was launched in New York City in 2012, and then went to Chicago in 2013. The event is somewhere between a festival and a conference, with plenty of eating and drinking but also some panel discussions and talks that explore different aspects of the restaurant business and the culture of food. Taste Talks Los Angeles will take place from Friday, Nov. 4, to Sunday, Nov. 6, and is curated by musician and chef Kelis. Much of it will take place at the Line Hotel in Koreatown.
While the parties and dinners that are planned for the weekend sound fun, the real attraction for me is the conference, which takes place on Sat., Nov. 5. Talks and panel discussions include topics such as the new economics of the restaurant business (hosted by KCRW’s Evan Kleiman), gender and inclusivity in the industry, and globalization on the dinner table. I just this weekend saw farmer and activist Stephen Satterfield give a fantastic talk on the origins of corn at the Southern Foodways Alliance's fall symposium — Satterfield will join chef Nyesha Arrington at Taste Talks to discuss the culture of California Cuisine. Matt Rodbard, author of Koreatown: A Cookbook, will lead a panel discussion with L.A. writers about covering the city's food scene.
As for the dinners and meals and parties, many L.A. chefs are participating, including Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage Co. and Maude's Curtis Stone.
Tickets range in price from about $50 to $450, depending on whether you want to attend one single event or the entire weekend's worth of events. There are some good deals in the $100 to $150 range that get you a full day at the conference as well as a couple of food events surrounding the conference. You can see all the options here, and look at the full schedule here.