By Mona Day
A handful of Santa Monica chefs will take part in The Los Angeles Times’ celebration of the Southern California culinary scene called “The Taste,” three-day event at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood this Labor Day weekend.
It will be held Saturday through Monday over the course of five sessions. Each session will feature cooking and mixology demonstrations, wine seminars, and panel discussions, as well as unlimited food and drink tastings from more than 40 of the area’s best restaurants.
Three of the five sessions will be co-hosted by Santa Monica chefs. Executive chef Ray Garcia of FIG Restaurant will join LA Times’ Food Editor Russ Parsons, in hosting the opening “Field to Fork” session on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The session will focus on fresh, local ingredients and the pleasure of cooking seasonal dishes. The tasting and presentations will explore the offerings available at neighborhood farmers markets and backyard gardens.
The session will also feature a cooking demo by Nyesha Arrington, executive chef at Santa Monica’s Wilshire Restaurant who was named by Zagat as one the “30 Under 30” of LA’s hottest up and coming chefs.
The session “Cocktail Confidential” on Saturday night will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It will be hosted by Jessica Gelt, LA Times Food and Night Life Writer and co-hosted by Julian Cox, Chief Mixologist for Rivera and Playa. The evening will be dedicated to cocktail culture, specialty elixirs, and party bites.
On Sunday at 11 a.m., KCRW’s Good Food host and chef Evan Kleiman will join LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold in co-hosting “Flavors of LA,” a session showcasing Southern California’s multicultural culinary scene. It will be a culinary global tour featuring authentic dishes from around the world via Los Angeles’ favorite restaurants – all in one convenient spot.
The gamut of topics discussed in this session include Flavors of Mexico, pop ups, Thai, Peruvian cuisines, and Sake 101.
At noon, Border Grill’s Susan Feniger will give a cooking demonstration using a recipe from her new cookbook, “Susan Feniger’s Street Food.” And at 1 p.m., Kleiman and Gold will lead a discussion with inside scoops on the latest trends and happenings in the kitchens of LA’s best restaurants.
On Sunday night, a “Dinner & Drinks” session will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It will be hosted by Times Deputy Food Editor Betty Hallock and co-hosted by “The Beer Chicks” Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. The evening will feature pairings of a signature dish with an artisanal brew, custom cocktails, and fine wine.
On Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Zoe Nathan of Santa Monica’s Huckleberry will join Noelle Carter, Director of LA Times’ Test Kitchen, in co-hosting the “Labor Day Picnic.” The event will be a family style holiday get-together celebrating the sandwich in its many forms, from both time honored classics to its many exotic variation: think burgers, tacos, banh mi, and ice cream.
Tickets for each individual session are $65 + $4.27 online booking fee. Los Angeles Times subscribers can receive a 20 percent discount on individual tickets.
A portion of ticket sales will benefit Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund’s Summer Camp Campaign.
Paramount Picture Studios is located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood.
For tickets and information, visit latimes.com/thetaste.