ChefDance 2019 Preview Gave us a Taste of the Upcoming Sundance Food Festival

Fig Bruschetta at the ChefDance 2019 Preview. Photo by Karin E. Baker

Happening every January in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival, ChefDance is a gastronomic event that allows cinephiles to titillate their taste buds during their stay in Park City. Now in its 16th year, ChefDance 2019 promises five nights of signature dishes from celebrity chefs. This year’s lineup includes four-time James Beard Award nominee Chef Casey Lane (Breva at the Hotel Figueroa, Viale Di Romani at the La Peer Hotel and Tasting Kitchen), Chef Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, Chef Paul Qui (winner of both a James Beard Award and “Top Chef” season 9), and Chef Shaun O’Neale (season 7 winner of “MasterChef”).

In December I attended a preview for ChefDance 2019 at the historic C.E. Toberman Estate. Built in the 1920s, this Mission Revival home set in the Hollywood Hills has a Tinseltown pedigree: Bette Davis reportedly posed in front of the mansion for an early cover of “Architectural Digest” and it appeared on numerous episodes of HBO’s “Entourage.”

ChefDance Preview. Photo by Karin E. Baker

During the preview, a gathering of media and influencers joined the aforementioned Chef Casey Lane, along with ChefDance CEO Mimi Kim, for a sampling of what ChefDance attendees will be able to sink their teeth into.

One highlight was the fig bruschetta. Lane proudly shared that the dish — balsamic-marinated figs and fromage blanc nestled atop crostini — was a favorite of the late, great Jonathan Gold.

The cones of sesame tuile loaded with raw salmon and creme fraiche were tasty and delightfully multi-textured. Also enjoyable were the savory wood-roasted squash panzanella dotted with pine nuts, chicken liver toast, prosciutto-wrapped melon, and wood-fired broccoli.

The house’s open-air atrium was a popular gathering spot, offering up Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from Antica. Established in Napa Valley in the 1980s, Antica winery is owned by a family that began making wine in Tuscany more than 600 years ago.

There’s more to this festival than food — Wu-Tang Clan is scheduled to appear on night 5 of ChefDance! During the preview, we were treated to a brief musical set from R&B singer Liv Warfield (a former member of Prince’s New Power Generation). which included a cover of Etta James’ “Sunday Kind of Love,” along with powerful poetry decrying racism from 13-year-old activist Skyler Griswold. Both Liv and Skyler will appear at ChefDance events.

What motivated Mimi to start ChefDance? She replied, “It’s simple. Food equalizes everyone.”

ChefDance takes place in Park City Utah from January 25-29. More info can be found here.

Atrium, C.E. Toberman Estate, ChefDance Preview. Photo: Karin E. Baker

Karin E. Baker

About Karin E. Baker

Karin E. Baker is a native Angeleno who loves the eateries, history, nature, architecture, and art of her hometown. When not exploring poke shacks in Kona, tascas in Córdoba, and konditoris in Malmö, she writes about food, culture, lifestyle and travel. She obsesses over comma usage and classic films and is always happy to find an excuse to open a bottle of champagne.
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