Variety’s 10 to Taste, fascinating wine and food event,NapaNapa following the opening of the Fifth Annual NVFF (Napa Valley Film Festival), with the showing of SOMM: Into the bottle, the sequel of Somm this past Wednesday, November 11. On November 12 we had the opportunity to taste trough ten distinctive bites of flavor. Original interpretations of food inspired by film scenes in iconic films such as The Godfather, Julie & Julia, Pulp Fiction and Ratatouille.
Under a tent, at the Riverfront Promenade at Napa River Inn, guests strolled trying flavorful bites from local chefs along extraordinary Napa Valley wine selections that included Beringer, Etude and Brut Champagne from Pipper Heidsieck. Under a chilling, beautiful morning at Downtown, Napa guests enjoyed a variety of flavors, original interpretation from the participating chefs.
At station #9, Chef Evan Dodge surprised us with his spin of a cheeseburger tartare inspired on the Royale with cheese scene (John Travolta and Samuel A. Jackson) from the movie Pulp Fiction. A very small bite, but full of flavor. A crispy cheese nest with beef tartare, mushrooms, rock salt and crunchy seeds. We enjoyed this culinary creation with The Beringer 2012 Quantum Red Blend.
At station #7, Chef Tim Brown delighted us with his spin on the Cuban sandwich, inspired by the movie Chef. A flavorful Cuban croquette, roasted pork shoulder, black forest ham, aged Gruyere and beer mustard. A savory sample of classic Cuban cuisine with an original touch. Love pork and Pinot, pleasant on the palate paired with Etude Pinot Noir, Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros. Match made in heaven!
At station #10, Chef Heather loved inspired by the movie Ratatouille offered us her twist of Five spice pork, with Asian Ratatouille in a Macadamia nut cup. A luscious combination of flavors that paired well with the 2013 Beringer Luminus, Oak Knoll District Chardonnay. This well balanced Chardonnay was also enjoyable with the pan-seared scallop in Saffron Bisque inspired by the movie, Mostly Martha. An exquisite culinary creation by Chef Anwar Herron on station #8.
At station #4, Chef Elizabeth Binder spiced up with her Peri-Peri prawns with apricot chutney & cilantro yogurt, inspired by the movie Burnt. The Pipper Heidsieck Champagne wast the perfect match for this dish, cutting the spiciness down a bit.
After enjoying the exquisite chef interpretations from the ten movies, we had the opportunity to listen to a distinguished panel that discussed current culinary trends, opportunities and challenges in the industry today. Panelists included Chef Bobby Flay, Emmy Award-winning television personality, and NYT Bestselling author; Emilie de Ravin. Lee Schrager, Vice President Corporate Communications & Events, Southern Wine & Spirits, and founder of South Beach and NYC’s Wine & Food Festivals; Kevin Pang, Chicago Tribune food writer, and director of For Grace. Variety’s Steve Chagollan moderated the panel.
Chef Bobby Flay shared some food industry thoughts with us. When asked: What do you think the next food trend is going to be? Chef Flay,”The United States food scene has been behind on food trends for so long, but we are finally catching up. You never know what the next food trend is going to be, On my newest restaurant Gato our top seller entrée is a vegetarian dish as well as or four top seller appetizers. When asked, What is your perfect burger? Chef Flay said, “For me the perfect burger should be 80% meat and 20% fat, cooked on a sizzling griddle or pan. It should be very crispy on the outside and medium-rare in the center. It needs to have two pieces of cheese completely melted on top.”
The panel agreed on how social media dramatically changed the decision making in which restaurant to visit. Nowadays everyone is a wine critic and voice its opinion on platforms like Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and others. Restaurants need to pay attention to the details and be sure that guests have the optimal dining experience.