September 2, 2010
Last year, the inaugural Food&Wine Harvest felt like the one and only Monterey Music Summit, only with rock star chefs like Tyler Florence and Stefan Richter replacing the rock rock stars like Michael Franti and The Roots—both were big city-grade, wildly entertaining events where the small amount of attendees demanded three thoughts, namely:
1) Where the hell is everyone? 2) Those knuckleheads are missing out. 3) Thank goodness.
The light crowd meant heavy indulgence for those there, from the cracking fresh oyster bar (though I'll pass on the vodka-oyster shooter next time) to the waves of fine Santa Lucia wines. OK, there were waits for chefs named Baker—Rob Baker's barbecue and Tony Baker's little something amazing (he ran out before I got some)—but everything else, from hand-tended McIntyre grape juice to Florence's festive food demos (above) to Top Chef star Richter's thriller Thai soup (below), was available with zero waiting and maximum chef-winemaker-crowd interaction.
After throwing together the event quickly in the wake of TomatoFest's close, which left a vacuum in the foodie calendar too good to pass up, the event was also a testament to parent Coastal Luxury Management's ability to throw a electric event with only the collaborating chefs and staffers knowing how seat-of-the-pants a production it actually was.
With a full year to arrange sponsorships, charm chefs, harvest wineries, plot demos and recruit gardening displays, Harvest 2.0—imagine a Pebble Beach Food & Wine-style grand tasting with a more regional chef base, a lot more connectivity to the farm and a more family-aimed orientation—should evolve significantly. It's coming up quickly: Sept. 25-26.
The crowd-pleasers will be back, including the Kids Kitchen/garden funland run by the MeEarth Hilton Bialeck Habitat directors, bike-powered blender included. Guests will again be able to collect farm-fresh produce to take home.
• A prodigious uptick in music—a big-name live band is in negotiations to add to the DJ-driven music that accompanied the sunshine last year. I won't say what band that is before things are finalized, but it would be nice to be listening to "Lowrider" while studying a Lexus and sipping a top-shelf margarita.
• Comely ladies on hay bales, of course.
Here's a look at this year's chefs—a list that's growing by the day. Learn more and grab tickets ($85/day; $150/two) at the Harvest website. • Peter Armellino, The Plumed Horse • Mark Ayers, Cannery Row Brewing Company • Rob Baker , Me and the Hound Memphis Barbecue • Tony Baker, Montrio Bistro • Jason Balestreri, Cantinetta Luca • Rick Bartram, Silks • Eric Berg , The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards • Matt Bolton, Pacific's Edge Restaurant • Pamela Burns , The Wild Plum Cafe and Catering • Philippe Chevalier, CHEVALIER • Frank Cocova, Flaherty’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill • Michele Cremonese, Basil Seasonal Dining • Mauro Cuevas , Baja Cantina • Craig DiFonzo, Cantinetta Piero • Dmitry Elperin, The Village Pub • Don Ferch , Contemporary Catering • Todd Fisher , Chef Todd Fisher Concepts • Craig von Foerster, Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn • Mary Font , Mrs. Delish’s Cupcake Boutique • Dory Ford, Aqua Terra Culinary • Willi Franz , Marriott Monterey Hotel • Mackenzie Fullmer , Second Street Cafe • Jason Giles , Jacks at Portola Hotel & Spa • Christophe Grosjean, Aubergine • John Hui, Pebble Beach Company • Tomm Johnson, Culinary Secrets • Truman Jones , Ventana Inn and Spa • Sarah LaCasse , Earthbound Farm • Andre Lemaire , Andre's Bouchee • Ron Mendoza, Aubergine • Pablo Mellin , Roy’s at Pebble Beach • Timothy Mosblech, Restaurant 1833 • Arturo Moscoso, Pèppoli • Sean O'Toole, Bardessono • Brian Overhauser , Wrath Winery • Julio Ramirez , Edgar's at Quail Lodge • Jerry Regester, C Restaurant at The Clement Monterey • Tom Snyder , Estéban Restaurant at Casa Munras • Luis Solano , The Whole Enchilada • Ben Spungin, Marinus • Cal Stamenov, Marinus • Tyler Stone, Chef Tyler Stone • Ben Cohn , Spruce • Beverlie Terra, Chaminade Resort & Spa • John Tesar, Dallas Restaurant Group • Thanh Truong, An Choi Asian Contemporary Cuisine • Clint Wilson, The Lodge at Pebble Beach • Cy Yontz , Rio Grill • Russell Young , TusCA, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa