Monday, August 12, 2013

Getting Figgy: Fig Fest 2013 San Diego Set for Sept. 8

More Than Three Dozen Chefs and Artisan Vendors from San Diego and Baja +
San Diego and Baja Wineries and Breweries
All Showcasing California Figs

Decades after I first watched the movie Women in Love I still remember the lascivious way Alan Bates pulled apart and bit into a very ripe fig. I was young enough for the overt eroticism he created with the fig to make me blush in the dark theater.

Today, my experiences with figs are less fraught and more playful. Fresh, their sweet velvety softness is irresistible. I love to roast them with goat cheese or marscapone, top with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts, and then drizzle them with honey or balsamic vinegar. I add fresh ones to salads, bake them in tarts. I chop the dried ones into cookie dough or sweet breads. They're truly versatile.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m., Les Dames d'Escoffier's San Diego Chapter (to which I belong), the California Fig Advisory Board, and the San Diego Public Market are presenting Fig Fest 2013 San Diego. We'll have close to 40 chefs and artisan food vendors from San Diego--truly a who's who of the flourishing San Diego and Baja culinary scenes--all featuring fig-based dishes and products. We'll also have a host of wineries and breweries servings beverages that complement the food. And there will be a pavilion set up for Les Dames members to showcase their wares--from edibles to books.

Clockwise from top left: Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room, Pablo Ibarra and Jeff Rossman of Terra, Joanne Squires-Sherif of Cardamom, Trish Watlington and Miguel Valdez of The Red Door and The Wellington, and Fabrizio Cavallini of Monello and Bencotto

Chef Matt Richman of Table 926
Here's the line up so far:

A.R. Valentien
Beaumont's Eatery
Blueprint Cafe
Biscuit Gourmet
Cafe Chloe
Catalina Offshore Products
Con Pane
Cupcakes Squared
Farm House Cafe
Fresh Start Food
Grant Grill
Great Maple
Indulge Contemporary Catering
Jackie's Jams
La Querencia Baja Med
Misión 19
Roseville Cozhina
Ryan Steyn
Season Catering & Events
Sugar & Scribe
Table 926
Temecula Olive Oil Company
Tender Greens
The Marine Room
The Red Door and The Wellington
Waters Fine Catering
Wild Thyme Catering Company

Catalina Offshore Products' Tommy Gomes
Clockwise from top left: Maeve Schulz of Sugar & Scribe, Pete and Pete Balistreri of Tender Greens, Jeff  Jackson of A.R. Valentien, Javier Plascencia of Mision 19, and Flor Franco of Indulge Contemporary Catering

Our Baja wineries include Paralelo, Casa de Piedra, Estacion de Oficios el Porvenir, Aborigen, Vinisterra, Viñas Pijoan, Tres Valles, Viñas de Garza, Cava Aragon 126, La Lomita, and Möebius.

We'll be holding a chef competition, pairing local culinary students with chefs, with judging done by food gurus from outside San Diego. Winning teams will be awarded prizes.

And, you'll get something, too--a lush, full-color recipe booklet with tested recipes from participating chefs and artisan vendors. Not to mention some of the best fig-oriented food around.

Tickets are $45 before Aug. 15 and $55 thereafter, with $20 tickets for kids under 12. Hurry and get your tickets now by going to

Proceeds from shares for Les Dames d'Escoffier will be donated to a variety of nonprofit projects that that chapter sponsors. Our history of giving includes recipients such as Olivewood Gardens, low-income female culinary student scholarships, The San Diego Food Bank, Rachel's Women's Center, St. Vincent de Paul's culinary program, Scrumptious Schoolyards and Grow Your Lunch, and St. Madeleine Sophie's Center.

And, huge thanks to Specialty Produce, which is on board as a featured sponsor!

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