Everyone contributed to make this an extraordinary event.
By Stephanie Chase
On Sunday, April 3, Masters of Taste made its inaugural debut on the field of the Pasadena Rose Bowl. It was an amazing event, with delicious food and drink, and all for a great cause.
Masters of Taste brought together L.A.’s Top Master Tastemakers for one afternoon to celebrate all realms of taste. Approximately 2,000 influential food and beverage enthusiasts from throughout the Greater Los Angeles attended, created, concocted, and volunteered at this exciting festival.
The beneficiary of Masters of Taste was Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Headquartered in Pasadena, the agency is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency, assisting homeless and very low-income adults and families with services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management, and career development. Since 1973, Union Station Homeless Services has helped thousands of people who were once homeless and without hope. A full one hundred percent of the proceeds from this year’s event went directly to support Union Station Homeless Services.
The Masters of Taste 2016 included the finest fare from L.A.’s top Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s most notable Sweet Masters, signature handcrafted cocktails and tastings from over 25 Beverage Masters, as well as live entertainment and more.
The Masters of Taste 2016 participating Culinary Masters and Restaurants (restaurants are underlined) included 118 Degrees, Chef Jenny Ross (Tarzana); Alexander’s Steakhouse, Chef Matt Bata (Pasadena); Ayara Thai, Chef Vanda Asapahu (Westchester); BierBeisl, Chef Bernhard Mairinger (Downtown Los Angeles); Birch, Chef Brendan Collins (Hollywood); Celestino, Chef Calogero Drago (Pasadena); Claud Beltran & Co and Bacchus Kitchen & Eatery, Chef Claud Beltran (Pasadena); Crossings, Chef Lalo Sanchez (South Pasadena); HACHÉ LA, Chef Michael “Mick” Schepers (Silver Lake).
Additionally, Hamasaku, Chef Yoya Takahashi (Los Angeles); Hyde, Chef Chris Crary (Hollywood); Inotheke, Chef and owner Carolos Tomazos (Santa Monica); Made in Brooklyn, Chef Sean Popock (Los Angeles); Magnolia House, Chef Evan Colter (Pasadena); Noor, Chef Ryan Morrison (Pasadena); Osawa, Chef Shigefumi Tachibe (Pasadena); Ozu East Kitchen, Chef Paul Yi (Atwater Village); Redbird, Chef Neal Fraser (Downtown Los Angeles); Sangers & Joe, Chef Eduardo Pineda (Pasadena); Say Cheese, Chef Glenn Harrell (Silver Lake); SOL Cocina, Chef Tia Baker (Playa Vista); Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern, Chef Isaias Peña (Los Angeles); The Perfect Bite Co., Chef Teri Valentine (Glendale); The Raymond 1886, Chef Tim Guiltinan (Pasadena); Toca Madera, Chef Raymond Alvarez (Los Angeles); WAFL Truck, Chef Ozan Cay (Los Angeles); Wax Paper, Chef Peter Lemos (Elysian Valley); and Wood & Vine, Chef Kyle Schutte (Hollywood).
The sweets were amazing. Masters of Taste participating sweet masters included handcrafted buttery toffees from Alique Gourmet Toffee, delicious desserts from Butter Cake Shoppe, gourmet single-origin chocolate and vanilla ice creams from Choctal, cacao from Chocolate Stars USA, Danish pastries from Copenhagen Pastry, and Filipino inspired custards and confections from Crème Caramel. Helados Pops Ice Cream served their homemade ice creams and sorbets, Kelley’s Kookies presented their gourmet cookies, and Sprinkles Cupcake Bakery generously served their irresistible famous cupcakes.
There were a host of delicious beverages as well, from craft beers to fine wines, and some of the best coffee ever. This year’s participating beverage masters included Alosta Brewing Co., Bootlegger’s Brewery, Iron Triangle Brewing, Indie Brewing Company, and Golden Road Brewing. Other fine breweries included in this year’s event were Elysian Brewing from Seattle, the famous Goose Island Beer Co. from Chicago, Northwestern favorite 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Missouri’s Shock Top, the Caboinspired Baja Brewing Company, and internationally acclaimed brewmaster Stella Artois.
A specially curated collection of Wine Masters included Alexander Valley Vineyards from Healdsburg, Paso Robles’ Anglim Winery and premium boutique winery Ascension Cellars, Ventura’s Four Brix Winery, along with Napa’s Sequoia Grove, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, and Toluca Lake’s Spin The Bottle Wine Studio. Ste. Michelle Estates featured various special selections including 14 Hands Winery, ANEW Riesling, Chateau Set. Michelle Winery, Michelle Sparkling and MOTTO Wines. Golden State Wine Company showcased wines from Abadia Retuerta, Loring Wine Company, and Viña Alberdi. Others included Lodi’s Van Ruiten Family Vineyards, Thousand Oaks’ Vinemark Cellars, and San Antonio Winery presented tastes from Stella Rosa, Bodega Sangria, Diama Sparkle, and a new sparkling Prosecco.
Some of L.A.’s top bartenders and cocktail bars also volunteered to create first-rate craft cocktails. A premium barrelaged cocktail bar was provided by Erik Lund and Alexander’s Steakhouse, signature handcrafted cocktails from Head Barman Peter Lloyd-Jones and 1886 Bar, special spiked breakfast cereal cocktails from Nighthawk’s Giovanni Martinez, and handcrafted DesMaDre tequila cocktails prepared by Beverage Director Colin Pflugradt of the newly opened SOL Cocina in Playa Vista. Mixologist and sommelier Adam Seger introduced the newly launched Balsam Luxury Vermouth, while Hooch, the private membersonly cocktail app, hosted a Snow Leopard cocktail bar. As if that wasn’t enough, there were additional cocktails throughout the event from Brugal Rum and Kikori Whiskey.
There were also a large number of premium non-alcoholic beverages on hand for those who wished to hydrate, caffeinate, or regenerate. The“bevolutionary” Bai presented their antioxidant juices, teas and water infusions, while Demitasse in Hollywood served their in-house-roasted, ethically sourced, coffee, which included a delicious Kyoto iced coffee as well as an espresso and a blood orange cappuccino. Kombucha Dog was on hand with their delicious healthy and raw drinks, Diabolo presented an energizing sparkling beverage, and Nekter Juice Bar brought fresh, cold-pressed juices. Finally, there was a generous supply of ZICO Coconut Water, and Boxed Water was available throughout.
In addition to all the generous volunteer chefs, restaurants, and brewmasters, Masters of Taste was made possible through the support of corporate sponsors including HomeStreet Bank, Judith L. Chiara Foundation, Western Asset Management, Capital Group, TD Investment Company, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Bank of America, The High End, Wells Fargo, Westport Construction, Kauffman Wealth Management, Citizens Business Bank, Tsan Tsung Memorial Foundation, Massage Envy, Hahn & Hahn LLP, Arroyo Insurance Services, Individual Food Service, Laemmle Theaters, Lenox Advisors Inc., California Linen Services, Yelp, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News, and Pasadena Star-News.
This was an incredible event in every possible way, and most certainly should not be missed next year.
Stephanie Chase is a food and travel writer for a variety of publications, including the Epoch Times and the Santa Monica Star. She is also a contributor to the food and travel website, thetop9.com.