Need an Reason to go to SoCal? Newport Wine & Food Festival…I’m In!

What: Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival
When: September 29 – October 2, 2016
Where: Taste Around Town events will be held Thursday and Friday at Ritz Prime Seafood, Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach and The Winery Newport Beach, followed on Saturday and Sunday by the Daytime Festival, presented on the grounds of the contemporary Newport Beach Civic Center
Tickets: GA $175.00 and up

Do you need a good excuse to get our of Az and head to California for a weekend?  The third annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival releases final four-day schedule, with recent additions to its all-star lineup of demonstrations, panels and tastings plus exclusive tasting experiences at local restaurants leading up to the weekend’s main event, the Daytime Festival. With a mission to merge local and international culinary artisans, teach and enrich guests through interactive demonstrations, food, wine and spirit tastings and music, the Festival will provide this year’s guests with can’t miss culinary experiences from both emerging and seasoned epicurean masters.

ABC’s “The Taste” judge, “Top Chef” finalist and renowned restaurateur chef Brian Malarkey joins the lineup of celebrity chefs participating at this year’s Daytime Festival, which takes place Saturday October 1 and Sunday, October 2.  Additional Bravo TV “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef” stars as well as James Beard winners, nominees and cookbook authors, such as Rick Bayless, Hubert Keller, Rick Moonen, Nancy Silverton, Shirley Chung, Mei Lin, Brian Huskey, CJ Jacobson and Jamie Gwen, will be the celebrity chefs showcasing their culinary mastery through live cooking demonstrations at the Fisher & Paykel Demonstration Pavilion as well as tastings in the Grand Tasting Pavilions during the Daytime Festival.

Saturday begins with an already sold-out VIP demonstration with Rick Bayless pairing signature cuisine from RED O with cocktails and wine, followed by live demos for general admission guests including a “Top Chef” reunion cook-off with Shirley Chung and last season’s winner Mei Lin and a special “Meet the Masters” cooking demonstration and mixology tasting with Rick Moonen, Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and Proprietor of Hundred Acre & Founder of Duke Spirits, Chris Radomski. Sunday’s lineup features a VIP live “Champagne & Lobster” cooking demonstration and pairing with Hubert Keller followed by Brian Malarkey teaching guests how to cook a “Badass Chicken” plus the return of the “Top Chef Home Cook Challenge” presented by Celebrity Cruises with Shirley Chung, Brian Huskey, Mei Lin and CJ Jacobson for general admission guests.

Local culinary masters will also be highly represented at this year’s event, with over 42 executive and pastry chefs serving up exquisite cuisine from their respective restaurants and bakeries. From fine French fare and pastries, to new American dishes and long-standing local Italian favorites, each restaurant has been hand-chosen to offer guests the ultimate in variety of Orange County cuisine, while also giving them the opportunity to meet the master behind each restaurant. There will be a new lineup of restaurants each day in the Grand Tasting Pavilions, promising mouthwatering tasting experiences for all. To perfectly pair each and every bite, the 85 wineries represented will be pouring over 250 different varietals, with premier wines tastings from around the globe. Spirts and brew aficionados will also revel in the selection of hand-crafted cocktail tastings and imported beers, while music lovers will enjoy live jazz from DW3 on Saturday and Shelly Taylor on Sunday.

For the very first time, Newport Beach will have six master sommeliers from around the country together in one place, showcasing interactive wine tasting panels and pairings at the Daytime Festival. On Saturday, master sommeliers Chris Miller and Peter Neptune will join wine proprietor Chris Radomski for a VIP Hundred Acre 100-point wine tasting panel, while Michael Jordan teams up with Rick Bayless for his VIP live cooking demo and pairing. Although both of these VIP events are sold out, general admission guests can still taste, sip and learn from master sommeliers Michael Jordan, Steven Poe, Sur Lucero, Thomas Price and Chris Miller during the “Best of Willamette Valley, Oregon” wine tasting panel. On Sunday, Michael Jordan and Chris Miller join local chef Alan Greeley for the sold-out VIP “Champagne and Petrossian Caviar” tasting while Peter Neptune joins Hubert Keller for the day’s second VIP cooking demo, with tickets still available. For general admission guests, Michael Jordan, Steven Poe, Sur Lucero, Thomas Price and Chris Miller will once again take the stage, but this time to educate guests on the “Hidden Jewels of Santa Barbara County.”

For those looking to wine and dine with local, emerging and international artisans, the Festival’s three all-new Taste Around Town events in partnership with SCANPAN, will offer exclusive dining experiences with irresistible five-course gourmet food and wine pairing menus. Thursday night features an Opening Night Dinner at The Ritz Prime Seafood with celebrity chef Rick Moonen and executive chef George Ayala, while Friday includes a luncheon with celebrity chef Nancy Silverton at Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach followed by a sold-out French “Alsatian” dinner and conversation with celebrity chef Hubert Keller and iconic local chefs The Winery’s Yvon Goetz, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Jean-Pierre Dubray and Pascal Olhats. World-renowned wine expert Michael Jordan, who is one of only 15 people in the world to hold both the master sommelier and certified wine educator diplomas, will be joining all events to pair the cuisine with an array of fine wines from California, France and Italy.

The Festival has the sponsorship support of local and national corporations, many of which will be having luxurious lounges and unique activations during the Daytime Festival. For more information, please visit or call (888) 511-FEST. For ongoing updates, follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit the Festival’s schedule page to see the full four-day lineup. Media applications will be accepted through September 9; to be considered to attend with a press pass, please fill out the media application form.

About the third annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival

The Third Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, Southern California’s premier food and wine event, takes place September 29 – October 2, 2016. Taste Around Town events will be held Thursday and Friday at Ritz Prime Seafood, Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach and The Winery Newport Beach, followed on Saturday and Sunday by the Daytime Festival, presented on the grounds of the contemporary Newport Beach Civic Center. The epicurean adventure includes live cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, book signings, master sommelier panels, two Grand Tasting Pavilions featuring samplings from prestigious Orange County restaurants, world-class wine, spirits and beer tastings, special sponsor lounges, and live jazz. The Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the Festival will continue to benefit Project Hope Alliance, the Festival’s long-standing local charity partner. For more information, please visit              


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Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, entrepreneur, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy

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