4/17/2012 10:35:00 AM

Party Report: Celeb Chefs, Golf and Booze At Pebble Beach Wine and Food

Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz and Rory Hermann
Celebrating its fifth year, Pebble Beach Food & Wine has solidified its place among the major foodie gatherings in the country. Celebrity chefs from every corner convene along the natural beauty of 17-mile Drive, dishing out all sorts of deliciousness at booths and hosting cooking demos, lunches and parties all weekend long. A long list of who's who was in attendance: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Nancy Silverton, Guy Fieri, Anne Burell, Roy Choi, Michael Symon, Tim Love, Dean Fearing, Roy Choi, Casey Thompson, Geoffrey Zakarian, Fabio Viviani, Jacques and Claudine Pepin, Nancy Oakes are just a few we crossed paths with during the festivities.

The weekend is packed with events ranging from a chef and sommelier golf tournament to the much more public walk-around tasting in the tents at the Equestrian Center field. Of course, our eyes are still bleary from the late-night after parties at the Inn at Spanish Bay. It's a whirlwind if you try to hit too many things (we did), and you walk away oozing booze and pig from your pores. Here's a little taste of what went on (with a slideshow!):

-The Thomas Keller tribute dinner was as sparkling as the glassware on the tables, with celeb chefs both in the kitchen at sitting around the tables. In the tribute video, Daniel Boulud said he wanted to open a restaurant called Bouchon but Keller beat him to it. "Bouchon is mine," said Keller to a packed room during his thank you speech. "Get over it."

-TV chefs will almost always have the longest lines at Grand Lexus Tasting booth. We could barely talk to Top Chef's Casey Thompson, who was busy pouring margarita shooters down an ice luge to go with her fried chicken livers and onions, or Fabio Viviani, who snacked from a giant bag of Cap'n Crunch at his table. Anne Burell couldn't plate her risotto because so many women wanted to take pictures with her, and Elizabeth Falkner worked her own greeting line. Tyler Florence is an old pro: he plates, he stops for photos, he chats.

-At the Grand Tasting, San Francisco's Chris Cosentino, the Offal King, served ... radishes. With uni butter, but still. Quite the switch-up.

-The sous chefs are the hardest working people of the weekend. When their bosses are so busy shaking hands and smiling for cameras, someone has to prepare and plate the food. They're also the hardest partiers who sometimes forget the art of pacing: many were feeling rough at the morning tasting events, some didn't quite make it.

-Overheard at after party: "Dude, if you could get me two bottles of Jack Daniels that would be awesome." - Guy Fieri, walking in with what looked like an entourage, talking to someone on the VIP stage.

-Fieri may like his bourbon, but he's a generous one, too. At his "Cookin It, Livin It, Lovin It" demo at the Jenn-Air Pavilion, he planned to auction off his signed Pebble Beach chef jacket, plus a dinner for six at any of his restaurants. Once bidding hit the $4,000 mark, he started throwing things in the pot, like fancy chef knives, to get it higher. One woman asked for the chef's jacket he was wearing, and he took it off right there. He also added the sunglasses from the back of his head, which, quite frankly, couldn't come soon enough. We hate sunglasses worn on the back of the head. The final tally: They raised $14,000 for Cook With Kids.

-There was a strong showing by Los Angeles chefs this year - Sang Yoon, Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina, Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti, David LeFevre, Ray Garcia, Roy Choi, and Bryant Ng (a 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chefs honoree) all brought their A-game for the weekend. We assume this is a subliminal message from the organizers, who will put on the second annual Los Angeles Food & Wine in August.

We think that Roy Choi did the best job summing it up with his Sunday night tweet: "Someone stole my chef's shoes and clothes last night. The streets of Pebble Beach are rough."


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