Paramount Pictures Studios: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles – You were in the right place, at the right time, if you were among the thousands of foodies, cooks, chefs, at Paramount Pictures Studios Back lot, Labor Day weekend, September 1-3, 2017.

The Los Angeles Times presented it’s 8th annual food festival, The Taste. This was a gastronomic experience of epic proportions like not other.

One can also say that this was an experience of epic portions, taking into account the combined food tastings. The Taste celebrated the global flavors, in a way that was fitting for Southern California’s laid back lifestyle.

Los Angeles Times Food Staff Amy Scattergood, Jonathan Gold, Jenn Harris and Noelle Carter were the perfect host. Their hospitality were complimented by the presence of acclaimed chefs, master bartenders and award-winning restaurants at Paramount Pictures Studios Back Lot.

RonFinley & Chef CarlosSalgado

The Taste consisted of a variety of engaging cooking and mixology demonstrations, seminars, and panel discussions. I was able to sit in on the cooking demonstration by Chef Carlos Salgado (Taco Maria) and Ron Finley (The Ron Finley Project). Most readers know him by the name “Gangsta Gardener” who had an extensive write up in both the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly.

My next class, i.e., cooking demonstration featured David Wang (Lao Tao) as he prepared Four Cup Chicken hosted by Amy Scattergood.

Amy Scattergood and Chef David Wang: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Food Power: The Importance of Farmers was another educational and informative panel in keeping with the days program Field to Fork.

Amy Scattergood (LA Times) moderated this panel, that featured Romeo Coleman (Coleman Family Farms), Alex Weiser (Weiser Family Farms), and Wes Whitsell (Manuela). I left the panel discussion with a greater appreciation of farmers and our local farmers markets.

Amy Scattergood, Romeo Coleman, Alex Weiser and Wes Whitsell: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Miles Thompson (Michael’s Santa Monica) delighted the crowd and I with his preparation of potatoes for his cooking demonstration.

Chef Miles Thompson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

I returned to The Taste Sunday Block Party, hosted by Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen Director, to enjoy more unbelievable food, wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, great spirits, and great company in an idea setting of Paramount Pictures Studios Back Lot.

Noelle Carter and Ricky Richardson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Chef David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post/Fishing with Dynamite) and Chef Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean) were hilarious was they conversed with the audience while performing a delicious biscuit baking demonstration. Chef LeFevre bacon cheddar biscuits with maple butter as well as the biscuit by Chef Jason Fullilove were delicious and filling. Google search Jason Fullilove to read about Barbara Jean Restaurant, that appeared in a recent issue of the Los Angeles Times.

Chef David LeFevre: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Chef Jason Fullilove: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Valerie Gordon (Valerie Confections) and Sherry Yard (Tuck Room Tavern) cooking demo was a welcome treat for the sweet-toothed guests in attendance (how did they find about my weakness)? Samples were appreciated and devoured.

Chef Valerie Gordon: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Chef Sherry Yard: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Status of Brunch was hosted by Noelle Carter (LA Times Test Kitchen Director) had a captivating conversation with Dakota Weiss (Sweetfin), Chris Phelps (Salt’s Cure), and Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium) about their foods to eat during brunch and shared some insights brunches may involve into in the near future.

I had an eclectic tasting experience during The Taste. The day kicked off with gnocchi with spicy N’Duja (Cento Pasta Bar). My journey continued with glass noodle salad (Asian Box), lamb BBQ tacos (Aqui Es Texcoco), Kim-chi-ken waffles (The Venue), Vegan Bolognese (M Cafe) and Meatballs (Rao’s Hollywood) to name a few.

Sunday Block Party taste consisted of Biewurst (Dog Haus), doro wot, miser wot, kik alercha, gomen and sambusa (Lailibela Ethiopian Restaurant), ahi tuna tarter and white caviar truffle deviled eggs (Ocean Prime Beverly Hills), and Hisbiscus lime ice cream (McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream), just to name a few.

Labor Day weekend was a scorcher in Southern California. I had to quench my thirst with several adult beverages to stay hydrated. Hornitos margaritas, with Hornitos tequila, orange, sage and lime, Stella Artois and Jim Beam Black Ginger High ball served this purpose very well.

Hornitos margarita: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Stella Artois: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jim Beam Black Ginger High Ball: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

L.A. Regional Food Bank, Midnight Mission and Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management were the event’s charity partners. In an effort to mitigate food waste and to support the alleviation of hunger, leftover prepared foods from the weekend was donated to Midnight Mission; Zero Waste Co. was on hand throughout the festival diverting waste to compost.

The Taste Presented by JetBlue Plus Card

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]