San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Arrives

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The Seventh annual San Diego Wine & Food Festival is finally here starting Wednesday, November 17. This five-day event is set in multiple locations and will continue through November 21st. Ticket prices range from $45-$175 per event, but the event is known to be well worth the money according to event coordinator Michelle Metter, “Our festival has a reputation as not inexpensive, but a good value for the ticket price.”

Festival locations are located all around San Diego as the event features over 70 of San Diego’s top restaurants and chefs and hosts more than 170 wineries serving over 800 types of wine. This festival is also estimated to serve 150,000 samples of food throughout the week for its estimated 9,000 attendees!  This is a 15 percent attendee increase from last year.

Food Tastings from 2009's Festival

The Wine & Food Festival will feature exciting cooking classes, wine tasting classes and an auction for some of the most prestigious bottles of wine. Proceeds from the auction will go to the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship programs.

The main event of this year’s festival is the Grand Tasting Event on Nov. 20th at Embarcadero Marina North. An outdoor event, the Grand Tasting “is the main reason people are coming to town,” Metter said. Festival-goers taste and sip almost 200 wine and food booths while watching 70 local chefs, some well-known, compete for a “Chef of the Fest” crown and the $50,000 cash prize.  Chefs who have authored cookbooks will also be featured at the Border’s Bookstore tent ready to personalize your cooking guides.

Here’s a rundown of the Festival’s events:

  • San Diego Wine Rave, 7pm to 10pm Wednesday: Winners from The Entertainer giveaway last week will help kick off the festival with the San Diego Wine Rave. This wine tasting event features 25 wineries and spirits makers and will take place at newly opened Eden restaurant in Hillcrest. Tickets are $45 in advance or $60 at the door.
  • Tastemaker Dinner Series, 6pm Wednesday and Thursday: This series of dinners pair nationally renowned chefs with local chefs hosted at a total of five local restaurants. Dinners begin at 6pm and cost from $125 to $175, including wine pairings.
    • Wednesday dinner will take place at Le Fontainbleu with executive chef Fabrice Hardel and guest chef Patrice Olivon of L’Academie de Cuisine in Southern France with wines from France’s Loire Valley.
    • Thursday the restaurant list will include:  1) Island Prime with executive chef Deborah Scott, chef de cuisine Mike Suttles and guest chef Kim Cantreenwalla of Society Café Encore in Las Vegas and 2) Addison (at the Grand Del Mar Resort in Carmel Valley) with James Beard, Award-nominated chef William Bradley and guest chef Zucette Gresham of Acquerello in San Francisco and wines from Washington’s Domaine Serne vineyard, 4) Del Mar’s KITCHEN (1540 at the L’Auberge Del Mar resort) with executive chef Paul McCabe and guest chef Thierry Rautureau of Rovers Seattle with wines by Justin Vineyards & Winery  5) Specialty Produce Warehouse with Chile co-executive chef Scott Wagner and “Cooking Light” magazine’s Bill Strykowski .
  • Cooking classes, 11:30 am to 5:30pm Thursday and Friday: Most classes take place at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center in Sorrento Valley.
    • Thursday’s cooking classes include chocolate making at 11:30 a.m. with Chuao Chocolatier founder Michael Antonorsi // French cuisine “French Food: California Style” at 1:30 p.m. with Chef Patrice Olivon of L’Academie de Cuisine // and cocktail making “Mix It Up”  at 4 p.m. with Jeff Rossman of San Diego’s Terra Restaurant.
    • Friday’s cooking classes begin at noon with “A Taste of South America” with chef Billy Strynkowski of “Cooking Light” magazine and then “Savor the Flavor with Reality Chef Superstars” with ‘Top Chef” former finalist Brian Malarkey, and other contestants Season 7’s Andrea Curtoi-Randazza and Season 6’s Eli Kirshtein . Two more classes begin in the afternoon at 3 p.m.: “Cheese & Beer Pairing” hosted by Chef Daniel Joly of Mirabelle at Beaver Creek and at 3:30 p.m.,  “Gourmet from a Can! Absolutely.”
    • Cooking classes are $45-85 at the the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center in Sorrento Valley and Macy’s School of Cooking.
  • Wine- and liquor-tasting classes, Various times Nov. 18 and 19: Classes include “The Art of Tequila” at 2 p.m. Thursday, “Wines of the Loire Valley” at 4 p.m. Thursday; “Riedel Wine Glass Tasting” at 1:30 p.m. Friday and the Master Sommelier Wine Tasting at 4 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $45 to $125, and all classes take place at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center.
  • “Insider’s Party,” 10pm to close, Nov. 18: Taking place at Searsucker, the food & wine industry is hosting an industry insider party with the festival’s star studded chefs and winemakers. Only 50 tickets are available to the public. Tickets are $50.
  • Reserve & New Release Tasting, 6:30pm to 9:30pm, Nov. 19: Aboard the Hornblower Inspiration yacht (which will be staying on the dock), wine enthusiasts will be able to taste wines from over 170 wineries and spirits producers. There also will be food tastings from 10 gourmet food companies as well as a silent auction for wine collectors. Tickets are $100 in advance or $125 at the dock.
  • Grand Tasting Event, noon to 4pm, Nov. 20: The weekend’s finale is this outdoor festival. This event features booths with 170 wine and spirits vendors, food tastings from 70 San Diego restaurants, who compete in the “Chef of Fest” competition. Chefs compete in five categories for a panel of celebrity chefs and a chance for $50,000 in cash and prizes. Live entertainment, cookbook signings and food and art booths are also featured. Tickets are $125 in advance and $150 at the gate.
  • Celebrity Chef Luncheon & AIWF Big Bottle Auction, 11am-2pm, Nov. 21: This event features 15 celebrity winemakers and a world-class menu prepared by celebrity chefs: Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s, Celestino Drago of Drago Restaurant, Nico Chessa of Valentino, Kenny Gilbert of Nippers Beach Bar & Grill, Katsuya Fukushima of José Andrés Catering, and Chef Ron Oliver of La Jolla’s Marine Room. Guests will dine at tables of 11, each table featuring one winemaker pouring favorites from their portfolio. In addition to the dinner, the event includes a wine auction hosted by Steven Metter and Clinton Metter to raise money for culinary scholarships. Celebrity artist Christopher M. will serve as emcee of the event and also host one table. Taking place at Roy’s San Diego Waterfront, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, Harbor Drive, San Diego. Tickets are $150 and up.

For more information on the schedule of events click here.  Tickets for all events are on sale at 619-342-7337 or worldofwineevents.com.

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