Off the Menu: Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival Arrives Oct. 4-7

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Newport Beach Chefs Jamie Gwen, Marc Johnson, Paul Villa, Brian Husky, Rachel Haggstrom, and Jean-Pierre Dubray enjoy champagne at the Balboa Bay Resort, one of the locations for the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival / photo by Christopher Trela

Only two weeks until the fifth annual Pacific Sales Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival hits town, which means it’s time to get your tickets for the weekend Grand Tastings and special culinary events.

Presented by Jaguar Land Rover Oct. 4-7, the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival has announced new additions to its lineup of events and participants:

•   Cooking demo from Michelin rated chef and restaurateur Michael Mina during Saturday’s Grand Tasting.

•   New Grand Tasting participants include The Blind Rabbit (Saturday), URBANA Mexican Gastronomy & Mixology (Sunday), Michael Mina’s Cal Mare (Sunday), and soon-to-be OC import Salt & Straw.

•   VIP Blind Tasting Masterclass with Master Sommeliers Michael Jordan, Steve Poe, Thomas Price, and Will Costello has been added to Sunday’s schedule of events.

•   Cooking demonstration from James Beard award winner Chef Philippe Haddad during Sunday’s Grand Tasting, hosted by Chef Hubert Keller.

“In its fifth year, the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival has grown so popular that we needed to add additional events to the lineup to keep up with demand,” said the festival’s founder and CEO Stefanie Salem. “We are honored to have Chef Michael Mina and local superstar Chef Alan Greeley at the festival this year, and we have full confidence that all of our new additions, paired with our existing lineup of events, will make this year’s festival the best one yet.”

Chef Greeley closed his famed Golden Truffle restaurant last year and moved to Florida, but the festival has coaxed him back to town as the host of a champagne and caviar tasting, which is sold out.  

Many of the other special dinners and seminars are also sold out, but limited tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday’s Grand Tastings, as well as the Fire It Up barbecue event on Friday (which I’ll be attending), the Celebrity Chef Twilight Cruise through Newport Harbor (I’m on board for that one too), and the Blind Tasting Masterclass with Master Sommeliers.

The chef and restaurant lineup this year is impressive. Among the notable local names: Amar Santana of VACA and Broadway, Jean-Pierre Dubray of The Resort at Pelican Hill, Yvon Goetz of The Winery Restaurant, Florent & Amelia Marneau of Marché Moderne, Brian Huskey of Tackle Box, Rainer Schwarz of Driftwood Kitchen, Rachel Haggstrom of Balboa Bay Resort, Jared Cook of Olea, Chris Polley of True Food Kitchen, Alejandra Padilla of Five Crowns, Shin Toyoda of Sushi Roku, Marc Johnson of Pelican Grill, Mark McDonald of Old Vine Café, Greg Stillman of Leatherby’s Café Rouge, Andy Arndt of Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, Leslie Nguyen of Bosscat Kitchen + Libations, and Brittany Valles of Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge.

The team from The Winery Restaurant

Celebrity chef participants include Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu, Hubert Keller of Fleur & Burger Bar, Jet Tila of The Charleston & Pakpao Thai, Michael Mina of Bourbon Steak, Richard Blais of Juniper + Ivy and Crack Shack, and Chef Jamie Gwen, the official Newport Beach Wine & Food Host who has a popular radio show on 790 KABC.

I have attended every edition of the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival, and can say from experience that this year’s festival is truly exciting in its scope of talent and special events. Kudos to festival founder Stefanie Salem for continuing to make the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival one of the classiest events of its kind on the west coast. 

For tickets and the weekend’s full itinerary, visit Follow the festival @NewBe_Fest on Instagram and Twitter and @NewportWineFood on Facebook for ongoing updates leading up to, and throughout, the festival weekend.


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