We broke the news some weeks ago in our Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter that Chef Wolfgang Puck had resigned from the board of the Puck-Lazaroff Foundation, which for over 26 years had sponsored the American Food and Wine Meals on Wheels Festival held every September at Universal Studios' Western Street. They had raised millions of dollars to help the nuns of St. Vincent care for the aged and indigent folks of L.A. with hot and hearty meals delivered to their homes. But Wolf and partner Tom Kaplan assured me that they were working on something "exciting" which would replace the event with an even more exciting fund-raising spectacle. This week they filled me in on some of the details at a small chef's reception held in front of the Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in the courtyard of the immense L.A. Live Nokia Plaza venue downtown adjacent to Staples Center.
While details are still being threshed out, it appears that American Express Publishing has joined with Dick Clark Productions and the founders of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest, David Allan Bernahl and Rob Weakly and their Coastal Luxury Management, to create the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival to be held from Thursday, Oct. 13th to Sunday, October 16th. Lexus will also be one of the sponsors, as well as AEG's L.A. Live organization. Wolfgang has been involved with AEG since opening his superb WP 24 gourmet Chinese restaurant atop the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the overall complex. I am told that the new event will comprise more than 100 food, wine and tasting events and seminars held all over town, from the Santa Monica Pier to downtown's L.A. Live center. Fortunately, it does not compete with the event of which I am a participant on the restaurant committee, Special Olympics' Pier del Sol held at the Santa Monica Pier on Sunday, October 10th.
A handful of top chefs appeared at the luncheon hosted by Wolf's catering operation, which efficiently handles the Oscars' Governor's Ball and hundreds of other events during the year. I spotted Iron Chef star Morimoto busy photographing the affair, while Walter Manzke (soon to announce his new restaurant location), Ludo Lefebvre (with a new Pop-Up coming), David Myers, Sang Yoon (just opening his new Asiatic complex, Lukshon, on Helms Avenue in Culver City), Tyler Florence, Nancy Silverton (of the Mozza empire, getting ready to open a hamburger place at the original Farmer's Market), Matt Molina, Josiah Citrin, and my buddy Rory Herrmann, Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller's iconic Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills. With so many top chefs appearing, it is obvious there will be a star-studded food event similar to the former fund-raising one, though no details were revealed as to location and cost. Think of it as our West Coast version of the South Beach, Miami, Aspen and New York food events.
So I can only suggest that you mark your calendars with a big 'Busy' for that long weekend and await further details here.
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