With a name like Best of the Best, it’s fair to say that the annual walk-around food and wine tasting, held this year at the legendary Fontainebleau, has some high expectations to meet. And this year, like all years, it certainly lived up to them.
Folks dressed to the nines to experience offerings from 59 different restaurants and 35 wineries in one of the hotel’s lavish ballrooms, and some of the country’s most renowned chefs were on hand to serve them their upscale creations. Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen served beef carpaccio with anchovy emulsion, pickled peppers, Manchego, rosemary, and pine nuts; Greenhouse Tavern’s Jonathon Sawyer served ricotta and semolina gnocchi with black trumpet mushrooms; All’Onda’s Chris Jaeckle served his take on clams casino; Empellon’s Alex Stupak served a sweet, spicy, and smoky shrimp ceviche with gooseberries and chipotle; Ink’s Michael Voltaggio served beet tartare; and Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton served salt-packed cold roast beef with bread crumb salsa.
“It’s just so much fun to be here,” Annisa’s Anita Lo told us, echoing the sentiment of just about every other chef we’ve spoken with throughout the festival. “All of my chef friends from around the country are here, and it’s great to get away from the cold.”
While it wasn’t under the main tent on the beach (occupied by the Burger Bash), there was more variety in the food offered at Best of the Best than at just about every other event. With great food, great wine, and chefs who are certifiable household names, this event should be high on the list for anyone who plans on attending the festival in the coming years.