ď»żTHE TASTE, Los Angeles Times’ annual celebration of the Southern California culinary scene, returns to Paramount Pictures Studios over Labor Day weekend. Each of THE TASTE’s five events reflects The Times’ coverage of the Southland’s best chefs, restaurants and food trends. Named BizBash’s top food, wine and hospitality event in 2011, THE TASTE is again cooking up a locally-focused, internationally-flavored menu of offerings with featured chefs and special guests Thomas Keller (Bouchon, The French Laundry), Nancy Silverton (Mozza, La Brea Bakery), Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites), Susan Feniger (STREET), Roxana Jullapat (Cooks County), Nyesha Arrington (Wilshire), Jason Kim (Forage), Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza), Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market), Ricardo Zarate (Picca, Mo-Chica), Judy Han (Mendocino Farms, Blue Cow), Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark (Cooking Channel) and many more. Unlimited food and drink tastings from more than 40 of the area’s top restaurants, cooking and mixology demonstrations, wine seminars and panel discussions will be featured at each event.
The weekend will kick off with Field to Fork on Saturday, hosted by Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Ray Garcia (FIG). The event will include cooking demos, a conversation with local farmers and a challenge between chefs David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post) and Garcia to create a winning dish using a basket full of local produce. At Saturday evening’s Cocktail Confidential, guests can sample drinks by mixologist Alex Day and watch as top bartenders match jiggers and muddlers in a mix-off, which will be judged by Times Food & Nightlife Writer Jessica Gelt, Times Restaurant Critic Jonathan Gold and mixologist Julian Cox (Rivera, Playa).
On Sunday afternoon, Gold and chef, author and host of KCRW’s “Good Food” Evan Kleiman will host Flavors of L.A., which will focus on authentic dishes from around the world from the area’s best restaurants. Chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Susan Feniger, Kris Yenbamroong and Ricardo Zarate will present a variety of cooking demos. Sunday evening’s Dinner & Drinks, hosted by Times Deputy Food Editor Betty Hallock and The Beer Chicks, Hallie Beaune and Christina Perozzi, will feature pairings of chefs’ signature dishes with craft beer, custom cocktails and fine wine. The Cooking Channel’s Alie & Georgia will also be on hand for a special beer cocktail demo.
Rounding out the holiday weekend will be the Labor Day Picnic Presented by Target hosted by Times Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter and Chef Zoe Nathan (Milo & Olive, Huckleberry). The event will bring together world-renowned chefs like Thomas Keller and Nancy Silverton, local firehouse gourmets, and backyard burger champs to share their common love of good food and cooking.
Tickets are $65 in advance, $75 at the door. The full program schedule, list of participating restaurants and tickets are available at latimes.com/thetaste.