LAFW: Media Toast and Check-in

The LA Food and Wine event hosted a champagne toast and press check-in on the roof of the Ritz Carlton Saturday evening before LA Live on the Plaza. There was a cheese table, beer and wine, and passed hors d’ouvres with the most gorgeous view of Los Angeles. We could even see the Hollywood sign. , We rode up the elevator with a very familiar face. Of course I had to say something, “You’re a pastry chef.”


“And the host of a TV show.”


Then I choked. I panicked and there is nothing worse than attributing someone’s fame to the wrong show. In these situations I just tend to just go for the outrageous. “It’s a competition, umm … Your Cookie or Your Life!”

His friend, a fellow chef, was the only one in the elevator who laughed. In spite of my awkwardness, Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef: Just Desserts and his friend, Chef Brooke Williamson of Hudson house and the Tripel graciously posed for the photo above.

There was a heavily synthesized steel drum band playing, and I requested Harry Belafonte. They humored me with “Island in the Sun,” one of his more easy listening hits. I spent most of my time talking to one of the musicians on his break about the cuisine of Barbados. He said they eat flying fish, which surprised me because the flying fish off of Catalina are considered trash fish, too oily for eating. He told me it was the exact same fish, and fried up Barbados-style they are delicious. I told him he should open up a little restaurant on Catalina. I don’t think they’re endangered anymore since they are always jumping into boats and hitting people in the face.

Passed appetizers included some very meaty egg rolls and these Thai shrimp toasts.

There was a chocolate fountain with fruits, marshmallows and little cakes for dipping. I just have a thing about chocolate fountains. I just tried one of these mini bundt cakes dry and it was delicious.

Chef Kerry Simon was also in attendance. he has the rep of being this wild, rock-and-roll chef, but I have found him to be very soft-spoken, easy to talk to, and possessing a skill I lack – taking a moment to think before talking.

 If I had known the ladies room had showers, I could have saved a lot of time getting ready.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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