The Taste of Beverly Hills Review - Celebrity Chefs Celebrate 90210!

Hansen's Beautiful Cake Got Attacked!

The Taste of Beverly Hills, hosted by Food & Wine Magazine was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel from Sept 2-Sept. 5, 2010. The four-day event featured some of the city’s best chefs and finest restaurants as they joined together to celebrate The City of Beverly Hills and it’s famed zip code, 90210. The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce introduced Mayor Jimmy Delshad to kick off the festivities. Mayor Delshad chose the date 9/02/10 for the festival to begin since that’s the only time ever that the date would spell out the famous zip code.

Mayor Jimmy Deshad Serving Customers at Il Pastaio Booth with Giacomo Drago

Thursday, Sept. 2, at the Opening Night Celebration, Natasha Bedingfield, pop sensation and Grammy nominee headlined the celebrity filled event, with master of ceremonies, CNN Talk Show host Larry King. Larry King and wife Shawn, recently called off their divorce and she and son, Chance looked on as King accepted a key to the city from Mayor Delshad as friend Ryan Seacrest looked on. Keys to the city were also given to the Kardashian clan and Bruce Jenner. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. sang a song Mayor Delshad commissioned lyricist Hal David and composer Charlie Fox to write celebrating “90210 Beverly Hills.”

Also acknowledged on opening night were three celebrities who have campaigned to help animals: Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory), Jorja Fox (CSI) and Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland) were honored by the Humane Society of United States.

Terroni's Freshly Made Pasta

Avon Tequila Drinks

Each day of The Taste of Beverly Hills featured session after session from celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, and other experts in their fields, showcasing their tricks of the trade of all things food and wine. Each day guests were provided with unlimited food and drink from some of the 40+ of the most famous Beverly Hills restaurants and renowned chefs in the city and in the world. Exquisite wines were showcased from some of the best vineyards, while beers from many breweries, and a variety of spirits were available to taste or to try in specialty cocktails. Rock Sake was there with absolutely the best sake.

Michael Voltaggio's Wizardry

On Friday, titled “The Art of Mixing,”  the first live cooking demonstration of the festival was kicked off with stellar chef, Michael Voltaggio, winner of Top Chef, Season Six, and recipient of several awards including the "AAA 5 Diamond" and "Mobil Award" as well as a Michelin Star. 

Since the "Art of Mixing" was the theme, Michael said a couple hours before he decided to show how to prepare a Caprese Salad.  Well you may be thinking, “that’s an ordinary dish—I could make a Caprese Salad.” Well not so fast. There is nothing even slightly resembling ordinary, when Michael Voltaggio is the one creating the dish---and this was no exception. As an example, he started off by setting up a smoker in a pan and smoking the burrata cheese, and got deeper from there.  Not only is Michael a killer chef—he has a quick wit, and he’s very entertaining. We were a rapt audience.

Me with Michael Voltaggio, Winner of Top Chef, Season 6

(It was my privilege to eat dinner prepared by Michael Voltaggio 2 weeks before the public knew he was the winner of Top Chef, season 6. There was no doubt in my mind after that dinner that Michael must be the winner.)

I didn’t get a chance to see Award winning, Executive chef of the Peninsula Hotel, James Overbaugh’s demonstration on Friday night---I’m a big fan of his and really wanted to see him, but after Michael finished cooking---I just had to head off to sample the array of food. 

Christopher from Petrossian With Tasting of Best Caviar!

Celebrated chef, Wolfgang Puck, of Spago Beverly Hills and Cut Beverly Hills made a special appearance Friday night along with his amazing pastry chef, Sherry Yard.

Sherry Yard, Executive Pastry Chef of Spago and the famed Wolfgang Puck

Saturday’s first session “Secrets from the Kitchen and Cellar” and featured LG’s Taste of Something Better cooking competition, hosted by chef Tim Love. The LG Cooking Competition had chefs battle to represent North America in the 2010 LG World Cooking Championship to be held in Korea.

Brian, the Winemaker for Grizzly Republic--These Are Amazing Wines with Many Layers of Flavor and Deep Tones--Gypsy Noir-Yum!

Even An Ice Cream Truck

There was also a cooking session by television Personality and author, Ted Allen, who is a food and wine connoisseur. Art Smith, restaurateur, chef, author, and television personality gave the next demo. Then along with live cooking demonstrations from favorite regional chefs, were the grand tastings featuring 40+ hand-selected restaurants from the Los Angeles area, wine sessions from master Sommeliers, wine educators and winery owners, beer, wine & cocktail tasting, LA’s best DJs, and live musical performance.

Art Smith, Chef, Author, Restaurateur

Art Smith and Lawrence Davis

Various Bands Entertained Every Night

Saturday night was named “Date Night” and appropriately kicked off with a food demonstration by sexy French chef, cook book author and restaurateur, Ludo Lefebvre, who was a formidable competitor on Top Chef Masters. “ LudoBites is a guerilla style pop-up restaurant event created by Chef Ludo Lefebvre. The goal of LudoBites is to create a revolutionary new 'bistronomy.” Ludo is so adorable and charming, it’s hard to focus on cooking, but a stunning squid ceviche salad did appear.

Ludo Lefebvre with Squid Ceviche Salad

Chef Elderoy Arendse from Fraiche Restaurant made Great Vanilla Pane Cotta with Watermelon Soup

The second demo on “Date Night” was another Top Chef Masters, chef, Tim Love, is also a critically acclaimed chef of his signature urban western cuisine and restaurant owner. He has become a nationally recognized culinary personality.

Sunday afternoon’s session was “The Art of Brunch” accompanied by a live “Gospel Brunch” performance (modern interpretation).


The demos on Sunday afternoon were by multi award-winning chef television personality and restaurateur, Scott Conant has won award after award for his culinary skills.   Ray Garcia, Rising Star Award winning, Executive Chef of Fig at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Richard Ruskell, the Executive Pastry Chef of the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, who was named one of the "Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America" by Chocolatier Magazine and Michel Nischan, two time James Beard winner, cookbook author, and restaurant owner and leader in the sustainable food movement.

Richard Ruskell, Executive Pastry Chef at the Montage Hotel

Hula Girl Mixers

Sunday night was titled: “BBQ in the Hills.” The featured chefs were Celestino Drago, called a chef’s chef & brother, Giacomo Drago, who have both made solid impacts on the city with their amazing Italian restaurants, which are among the best in Los Angeles.

Katana Made The Best Spicy Tuna Rolls!

Apple-Caramel Pudding From Delphine at the W Hotel

The final demonstration was by Kerry Simon is an American celebrity chef and restaurateur based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dubbed the "Rock n' Roll Chef" by Rolling Stone Magazine, Simon is known for "L'American" cuisine, expanding the limits and notions of simple comfort food via his classic training. He is the executive chef and proprietor at his namesake restaurant "Simon" at Palms Place in Las Vegas. His other restaurants include Simon LA, in Los Angeles, California, Simon Prime in Atlantic City, New Jersey and KGB in Las Vegas.  Daniel Joly, acclaimed by numerous publicationsm named the youngest “Best Chef In Belgium,” restaurateur, who enjoys pairing dishes with Belgian beers, appeared for Stella Artois.

Kerry Simon, "The Rock and Roll Chef"/Restaurateur

Lovely Ladies Serving the Guests

The food and wine were fantastic each day as 40+ restaurants brought their finest fare to sample. There were amazing desserts from apple-caramel pudding, to the finest chocolates, soufflés and homemade ice cream bon bons. vanilla pane cotta in watermelon soup, gourmet cheeses, duck foie gras in pastry dough, grilled lamb chops, yummy swordfish, salmon tartar on a crispy chip, amazing homemade pastas with truffle oil, or creamy sauces or red velvet cake pops, barbequed lamb chops, pork belly, prime rib and spicy tuna rolls. It just went on and on, and so many dishes were unbelievably amazing. There was no way I could taste all of the awesome fare, not even close. There is one thing that has to be mentioned because it was offered to us as “The Best Burger, EVER!” Ever? I was thinking-–that’s some claim—but after eating it we had to agree. “ Father’s Office Burger is the Best Burger, EVER.

The Best Burger, EVER! From Father's Office.

* Two weeks before the public knew Michael won top chef, Lawrence Davis (Publisher of Splash Magazines World Wide), his lovely girlfriend Amanda Cortez, and I were guests of The City of Pasadena for dinner at the Dining Room at the Langham Hotel, with Michael Voltaggio as the chef. I already was a fan of Michael’s from the show, but I hadn’t eaten his food yet. OMG! Every single bite was an unbelievable experience. It seemed that everything he did with food was unexpected and extraordinary. Check out my article on Michael Voltaggio here.

*To see a list of restaurants featured at The Taste of Beverly Hills click here.

All Photos © Judith Orr Photography



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