J WM MAGAZINE 42 JWMARRIOTT.COM
FOOD + DRINK
Sycamore Kitchen and Odys +
Penelope, demonstrated her inven-
tion of French Benedict—a wildly
decadent combination of eggs bene-
dict and French toast. Hatfield loved
the crowd and the chance to check
out other restaurants’ treats. “Since
Los Angeles is so sprawling, it’s easy
to get trapped in your little neigh-
borhood,” she says. “These kinds
of events remind us how broad and
dynamic the city is, and how much it
has to offer.”
Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill
demonstrated how to cook with
two different chiles—poblano and
chipotle—while his brunchtime
booth handed out Mexican French
toast and chilaquiles. “We tend to
overstaff on these things, so it’s a
lot of fun for us. For me especially,
I get to talk to everybody,” he says
of working the booth and talking
with visitors and other chefs. “It’s a
great place to connect with people,
there’s no question about that.”
All this tempting food needs to be
washed down with some equally
impressive drinks. The food
booths are matched with those
offering wine, cocktails and spirits from all
over the region. Julian Cox, bartender extraor-dinaire, held an electrifying demo.
“I took the cocktail, put it into a light bulb
and lit it up with an LED light,” he explains.
His Santa Monica bar/restaurant is the aptly
“That’s a big part of the Southern California
LIGHTS, CAMERA, SAVOR!
restaurant scene now,” Parsons says of The
Taste’s bar element. “We’ve got all of these
really creative mixologists, and they approach
crafting drinks in much the same way that a
chef creates a dish: using great ingredients,
infusing things, using new techniques. It’s very
different than when I was a bar-
tender in college!”
Now in its fifth year at Paramount
Studios, the ambiance is a key
part of the charm. “When you
talk about Hollywood, there’s
no place that has a more historic
connection than the Paramount
backlot,” Parsons says. “It really
lends itself to this kind of festival.
There are enough open places. But
also it’s built like an old fashioned
downtown—it’s built for wandering.” One turn leads to another,
and you’re exploring and discovering new sights, along with the new
For the daytime events, the
street scene can get downright
sizzling, so be sure to wear a
hat and sunscreen, and stay
hydrated—not just with cocktails.
(See sidebar for other Taste tips
from the professionals.) At night,
with strings of twinkle lights
shining down on the crowd, the
atmosphere is magical.
Night or day, The Taste is the
hottest place for the coolest foodies.
“I love that The Taste has evolved
along with the culinary scene,” says Cox of
Brilliantshine. “Each year there are more and
more great places opening.” Karen Hatfield
agrees. “We have such amazing places. When you
look at the diversity it’s unparalleled. These events
often represent it more than anything else could.”
Enjoy the party. p
Karen Hatfield: A number of talks
and demos happen simultaneously,
so figure out in advance where
you want to be, and at what time.
Jimmy Shaw: Skip the places that
you’re familiar with and look at
the places that are new to you.
Choose a few favorites because
they may be serving something
new. It’s a place where many chefs
sample some really fun food.
Julian Cox: Buy a VIP pass!
You get first dibs on all the
booths. If you’re into meeting the
chefs and personalities in the
LA scene, it’s a great way to
socialize with the great talents
of our city.
Russ Parsons: Approach it as
you would any other buffet: walk
it first and see what you want
to come back to. Everything’s
good, but if you fill up at the first
couple tables and then you find
more places where you’ve always
wanted to eat, you just can’t
physically do it anymore.
The opening night party is a
terrific event. We invite all of the
chefs from the entire weekend.
It costs a little bit more because
the number of tickets is really
limited. There are no lines and
plenty of time to wander. It’s like
a VIP cocktail party.
For more information and tickets,
PRO TIPS: A FEW SUGGESTIONS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE TASTE.
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DIG IN: (Top) Marcos Rodrigues (left) and Joji Inoue (right) of CHAYA. (Below)
Luigi Fineo of RivaBella shows off his indulgent truffles at 2014's The Taste.
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