**Guest post By Andrew Freeman, Andrew Freeman & Co.
In just a few short weeks, Union Square will be transformed into a culinary wonderland as SF Chefs, San Francisco’s Food, Wine & Spirits Festival takes over the square. It’s one of my favorite and busiest times of the year, as my company, Andrew Freeman & Co. is proud to co-produce the event for the Gold Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA). The GGRA is a non-profit trade association that provides many valuable services to our community’s restaurants, and I’m always amazed at the good work they do for our city. The GGRA board envisioned SF Chefs as a way to shine a spotlight on San Francisco as the epicenter of culinary inspiration – and wow – does it ever! This year is the 5th anniversary and it’s sure to be the biggest and best festival yet. Over 200 of San Francisco’s most esteemed culinary geniuses will come together for this unforgettable week.
The Grand Tasting Tent on Union Square is the heart of the festival. There are four unique Grand Tastings, which will each feature a different group of chefs, mixologists, wineries and entertainment. It’s an all-you-can-savor culinary adventure where guests explore the tent and taste samples from our finest restaurants while mingling with the chefs, winemakers, mixologists and other culinary superstars in attendance. I’ve personally stepped up my exercise routine in preparation for all of the good eating and drinking I’ll be doing!
Friday’s 5th Anniversary Opening Celebration will kick things off with a big birthday bash. SF’s best pastry chefs will be showcased in a confectionary competition with cake creations inspired by our great city (Doesn’t that sound delicious?!). In lieu of a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, Tyler Florence and Emily Luchetti will lead an all-star chef line-up to cut a spectacular cake designed by Ristobar’s Gary Rulli. Sunday’s Brunch by the Bay is brunch like it has never ever been done before. SF Chefs is taking the Bay Area's favorite meal to a whole new level of lavishness. A roster of trend-setting chefs -- some who are known for creating the area's most exclusive spreads and others who will serve this meal for the first time -- will come together to create one unforgettable experience. Choose one Grand Tasting, or purchase the VIP Weekend Pass to enjoy all four!
For those who prefer more intimate experiences, SF Chefs offers a wide range of classes and demos. Held at the Westin St. Francis, Grand Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental and Williams Sonoma, topics for classes include a blind tasting with Wine Spectator, a sampling of flatbreads with Fine Cooking magazine, a conversation with San Francisco magazine’s Best Chefs, a panel with renowned food editors (moderated by yours truly) and The Eater Chef Challenge: SF vs. LA – Plus many more!
The Food Arts Industry Day: Conversations, Discoveries and Collaborations, will bring together the most respected minds in culinary arts and mixology for a day of education and learning, cuisine and culture. Led by Beverly Stephen and Jim Poris of Food Arts magazine, the lively schedule of seminars focused on key issues and trends facing Bay Area restaurateurs, chefs, dining room and kitchen staff, from optimizing social media to eye opening demonstrations of cutting edge culinary techniques. Do not miss out on an amazing opportunity to learn, share ideas and network with the Bay Area’s best in the business.
Masters of their Craft: Celebrating the Great Female Chefs and Sommeliers of San Francisco is an extraordinary dinner prepared by our city’s most acclaimed female chefs, selected by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer and Miriam Morgan and led by host Nancy Oakes (Prospect). The seven-course dinner will be paired with wines hand-selected by some of the Bay Areas most skilled female sommeliers, led by A16 and SPQR’s Shelley Lindgren. To make it a true trifecta, many of the wines will come from female winemakers as well.
And don’t forget the after-parties! Check them out here!
Festival tickets are selling fast! Trust me you won’t want to miss this!