Thousands of lucky ticket holders swarmed LA Live this weekend for the second annual LA Food & Wine Festival, a three-day gathering of the nation's biggest names in the restaurant industry. Gobbling up samples, taking classes taught by their favorite chefs and sommeliers and indulging in ingenious desserts, foodies were starry-eyed over the likes of superstars Susur Lee, Wolfgang Puck, Hubert Keller, Michelle Bernstein, Ming Tsai and Andrew Zimmern.
But with great celebrity comes great responsibility -- and chefs knew that in addition to all the fanfare, they were also about to come face-to-face with their most intense fans. Think couples who could throw dinner parties for a living, the dad who owns his own immersion circulator, ardent locavores and anyone who's seen all nine seasons of "Top Chef." And of course, anyone who documents their foodie exploits on a well-trafficked blog or twitter account.
Just one example of what chefs were up against: At the Lexus Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon, an eager attendee was overheard at the Church & State booth asking about the provenance of the dish's tomatoes.
Chef Jeremy Berlin, who was serving up heirloom tomatoes with a melon vinaigrette, could only shrug his shoulders and say, "Sorry."
All told, that group of Angelenos make up a food scene ripe for parody, and many of the rock star chefs weren't afraid to poke fun at festival attendees with $900 cameras hanging from their necks (guilty as charged).
At a packed cooking demo, Michael Voltaggio (of the brothers Voltaggio) gently mocked super-serious Angelenos for picking apart his creations at ink. as if they were performing surgery -- and documenting everything with a DSLR on a tripod. "Just eat it!" laughed Voltaggio. "Or buy two," said his brother, Bryan, reasoning that one could be for immediate consumption, the second for posterity.
International chef star Ming Tsai, who manned his booth at the Night Market, could be heard laughing, "No more Asians! [They take] too many pictures!" at the snaking line of people who were waiting for a taste of his tea-smoked sirloin with ma la oil and perserved lemon and cucumber salad.
HuffPost LA was equally guilty of ignoring tastes for photographs, as you can see in the slideshow below. Were you at the Food & Wine Festival? Add your pictures!
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