Here in the Bay Area we’re seriously into food, so it’s only natural we look for an excuse to celebrate it as much as possible — last weekend’s SF Chefs Food and Wine was a chance to do just that. I partied, toasted, and ate my way through the weekend and ended it on a high note by emcee-ing the Mix (and mingle) cocktail challenge with the San Francisco Top Chefs. Check out the sights and sips with these photos from friend and photographer, Robin Jolin.
After a day of cooking challenges, tastings, and cooking demos at Union Square, we headed to the W Hotel where each of the Top Chef contestants from the Bay Area — Ryan Scott, Jennifer Biesty, Mattin Noblia, Erik Hopfinger, and Laurine Wickett — shake, stirred, and poured up their best concoctions. The place filled up quickly as Top Chef fans and eager food fiends ran about nibbling, drinking, flashing photos, and, of course, swooning over their favorite chefs.
Each chef mixed up his or her drink with the only commonality being that it incorporated FIJI water – unsurprisingly, many used it as part of ice cubes, in simple syrup, or to just mellow out the drink. Though the event was more about the fun than the challenge, the chefs got in the zone and worked incessantly because, well, even a friendly competition is still a competition, right?
To many, a San Fran food fete isn’t really a party until Top Chef Master contestant and chef extraordinaire, Hubert Keller, gets behind the turntables, which he gladly did to honor his fellow Top Chef brethren. Before announcing the winner, I gathered the competitors for a brief dance party interlude as Hubert worked his music magic and it made for one of the more rocking happy hours I’ve had in recent memory.
I don’t like to play favorites, but if I had to choose, my favorite cocktails of the event were Ryan Scott’s twist on a Lemon Drop and Jen Biesty’s refreshing Fiji Facial (pictured above). Turns out the judges were on my wavelength as Jen won the challenge though, in the end, we all had a good time celebrating the food and drink community that is San Francisco.