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Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

August 30, 2014

Ready for an exciting, whirlwind weekend of wonderful wines and superb cuisine served up by celebrity chefs?

The inaugural Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a dynamic three-day event held Sept. 19 – 21 that promises to be a serious player in the Southern California food festival scene by bringing some of the best culinary geniuses to town for a memorable epicurean experience.

The Festival kicks off on Friday, Sept. 19 with a VIP launch party at RED O Restaurant hosted by Master Chef Rick Bayless. The evening begins with a cocktail party sponsored by Duke Spirits and George Clooney’s Casamigos, followed by a four-course food and wine pairing dinner accompanied by live flamenco music.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, the Newport Beach Civic Center is the site of the all-day wine and food event that includes live cooking demos, cuisine from dozens of OC‘s best restaurants, sommelier panels, mixology courses, tastings from noted wineries, and live music.

Saturday begins with a Sommelier Panel called “The Liquid Gold of California.” A panel of wine specialists will taste and discuss (along with the audience) a flight of California varietals including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Cooking demonstrations will be conducted by Richard Blais (winner of “Top Chef All-Stars”), Rick Moonen (“Top Chef Masters” finalist), “Chopped” winner Joe Youkhan, Newport’s own Jamie Gwen (winner of “Cutthroat Kitchen” & host of the radio show “Food & Wine with Jamie Gwen”), Mark Ogren of Fleming’s, Chef Pascal of Café Jardin, Alan Greeley of Golden Truffle, Casey Overton of The Loft and Lee Smith of Montage Laguna Beach, and Emily Corliss of Pizzeria Mozza.

At the Grand Tasting Pavilion: Marc Johnson of Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge, Grant Lawson of Crow Bar, Alan Jackson of Lemonade, Talia Zimmer of True Food Kitchen, Marcus Lage of Tommy Bahama, Bruno Massuger of Back Bay Bistro, Lynne Campbell of The Quiet Woman, Moises Mendoza of Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, Jeffrey Lunak of Blue C Sushi, and more!

The Grand Tasting Tiers feature private chef John Ledbetter, Alan Greeley of Golden Truffle, Joe Youkhan of The Tasting Spoon, Ashley Santo Domingo of 24 carrots, plus bread from San Luis Sourdough and treats from SideCar Doughnuts.

Sunday’s Sommelier Panel features a comparison of three Old World wines with their New World counterparts, including Riesling from Germany and California, Zinfandel from California and Amarone from Italy, and Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Oregon.

Cooking demonstrations on Sunday include Sue Zemanick (James Beard Foundation “Best Chef South” 2014 winner and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” alumni), Chef John Ledbetter (Private Chef), Ashley Santo Domingo (“Top Chef” alumni), James Beard nominee & executive chef of 24 carrots, Alan Jackson (Executive Chef and Co-Founder of Lemonade), Craig Strong of Studio at The Montage, Imran Ali (Tamarind of London), Jeffrey Lunak (Blue C Sushi), Shirly Chung (“Top Chef New Orleans” alumni), and Nick Foegal of Mastro’s Steakhouse with Josef Morphis of Mastro’s Ocean Club.

At the Grand Tasting Pavilion: Casey Overton of The Loft, Marc Johnson of Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge, Rainer Schwarz of Driftwood Kitchen, Scott Brandon of Fireside Tavern, Dante Ascenzi of Wildfish Seafood Grille, Imran Ali of Tamarind of London, Steve Kling of Side Door and Five Crowns, and Joshua Severson of Selanne Steak Tavern.

The Grand Tasting Tiers feature Marc Johnson from Aqua Lounge, Emily Corliss of Pizzeria Mozza, Joshua Severson of Selanne Steak Tavern, Ashley Santo Domingo of 24 carrots, plus SideCar Doughnuts and San Luis Sourdough.

Desserts both days are from Nothing Bundt Cake, Bite Desserts Ice Cream Cart, and
B Candy.

Attendees can sip and savor wines from 100 Acre, Cherry Pie, Bello, Zaca Mesa, Arcadian, Gloria Ferrer, Coppola, Landmark, Jackson Family Wines (which includes Kendall-Jackson, Freemark Abbey, Byron and many others), Onesta, and several more.

Master Mixologist courses and demos both days are by Francesco Lafranconi (Southern Wine & Spirits Executive Director of Mixology) and Tricia Carr (Director of Mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits).

The Festival is being produced by NewBe Productions, LLC. Stefanie Salem, President of NewBe Productions and founder of the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival, was born and raised in Southern California, and said she is a huge foodie.

“Food is my passion,” she stated. “I’m also excited to give back to the community through our Festival charity partners, Hoag Hospital Foundation’s Circle 1000 and Project Hope Alliance.”

Single day passes are $195. Weekend passes are $350. The special VIP events will be on sale soon. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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