GourmetFest is an exclusive food and wine festival that is held annually in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, bringing culinary excellence and outstanding wines to the Central Coast. Hosted by David Fink (Founder & CEO of Mirabel Hotel and Restaurant Group) on behalf of Relais & Châteaux, this year’s elegant event represented the 5th anniversary of the festival.
As Fink states in the GourmetFest booklet, “For the first time ever, GourmetFest is partnering with Ment’or, featuring California Legends Michelin 3-Star Chef David Kinch and Charles Phan. Ment’or is a leading non-profit organization created by Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jérome Bocuse to inspire young people to want to cook.”
Hosted at two iconic hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, L’Auberge Carmel, and La Playa Hotel, GourmetFest brought together several of the world’s best wineries and top chefs for a weekend full of spectacular food and wine. Hundreds of culinary enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the event with specialty cocktails, wine tasting, cooking demos, and parties.
A few of the renowned chefs that were featured at the 2018 GourmetFest included famed Boston Chef Barbara Lynch of Menton (featured above), Chef William Bradley of Addison Restaurant in San Diego, Michelin 3-Star Chef Joshua Skenes of Saison, Chef Nathan Rich of Twin Farms in Vermont, Michelin 2-Star Chef Kyle Connaughton of Single Thread Farms in Healdsburg, and others.
In addition to the food tastings, several premier wine estates were on hand pouring tastings of their prestigious wines. A few of our favorites included Marchesi Antinori (shown above), Champagne Ruinart, Krug Champagne, ROAR Wines, Chappellet Winery, Galante Vineyards, and Domaine Alex Gambal.
In addition to the featured celebrity chefs and renowned wineries, other top food purveyors were on hand offering tastings of their exquisite creations, including Black River Caviar and Morro Bay Oyster. For those who were interested in trying the specialty cocktails, Ketel One whipped up delectable seasonally-inspired drinks that were just as beautiful as they were delicious.
During the opening night reception party, we caught up with Blakesley Chappellet of Chappellet Winery (which we had featured in a previous Napa Valley Travel Guide on I&C). She showed us her inspiring new hardcover book, entitled Napa Valley Entertaining. Featuring gorgeous imagery and iconic locations around Napa Valley, the 240-page book is a collection that highlights the “people, dishes, decor, and wines that make Napa Valley unforgettable.”
Aside from bringing culinary excellence to our beloved coastal community, another benefit of GourmetFest is that it supports several remarkable organizations including Carmel Chamber of Commerce, Cystic Fibrosis Los Angeles Chapter, and the CSUMB Hospitality Program.
For more inspiring food and wine events, check out the Special Events section on Inspirations & Celebrations.