Relais & Châteaux Gourmet Festival
The second annual Relais & Châteaux Gourmet Fest at Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, posed a daunting challenge to foodies and oenophiles. With so many exceptional cuisine experiences to choose from during the three-day and -night event, it was simply impossible to pick one favorite course or wine.
Kudos goes to the talented group of chefs, sommeliers, waiters, and volunteer culinary students, who put on an impressive gastronomy show. The chefs generously allowed me to document their preparations while under the stress of striving for perfection. Many reached the mark by creating exceptional and complicated works of art. Other chef geniuses plated more straightforward dishes with fresh ingredients, cooked flawlessly, that were humble, yet magical.
Two of the best events were the cooking demonstrations with inspirational words from world-class Michelin-starred chefs Annie Féolde and Olivier Roellinger. Both chefs gave insight into their personal passion for creating gourmet food that speaks to the world through the use of exotic spices — all while demonstrating a respect for local ingredients and producers.
It was a bevvy of who’s who in the vintners’ world — local California wines from Mount Eden Reserve and Spottswoode Estate achieved high notes at the Grand Chef Dinner and Domaine François Carillon à Puligny Montrachet and Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent wowed the Taste of France Dinner diners.
Event creator David Fink — hotelier, entrepreneur and winemaker — is the owner of Carmel’s L’Auberge Hotel, which is a member of the Relais & Châteax group.