As they say, knowledge is power, and when it comes to Taste Talks, it’s also delicious. The annual food-and-drink festival-slash-symposium returns to L.A. this weekend, fresh off stops in Brooklyn and Chicago and packed with panels and events that’ll nourish the brain—and of course fill that stomach of yours.
The star of this year’s event, which kicks off tomorrow night with a “FAM-to-Table” dinner, is a series of panels that includes everything from demos to hard-hitting reflections on the state of the restaurant industry. Before you begin the series on Sunday morning, fuel your brain with a "brunch bites" welcome at 10am, where you’ll find none other than that fuel-of-champs food, breakfast burritos, free for those attending the day’s panels. Then from 10am to 5pm, sit in on chefs, food journalists and artisans weighing in on topics such as making better pasta with heritage grains (led by Love & Salt’s Michael Fiorelli and Weiser Family Farms’ Alex Weiser) and the importance of immigration in cooking (featuring Felipe and Ignacio Santiago of X’tiosu, Geovani Mialma of Republique, Claudette Zepada-Williams of El Jardin, Isa Fabro of Unit 120, and Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA. Find the full schedule here.
Menus haven’t been released for Saturday’s kickoff “FAM-to-Table” dinner yet—wherein Ryan DeNicola of chi SPACCA, Christian Page of Cassell’s Burgers and Juan Sanjuan of Gloria’s Ceviche whip up their wood-fired take on the restaurant family meal—but Sunday’s All-Star Cookout is set to stun with bites including garlic-and-herb-crusted lamb loin from Bone Kettle’s Erwin Tjahyadi; moo ping tacos with jaew salsa from Secret Lasagna’s Royce Burke; smoked pork with pickled shrimp from Kato Restaurant’s Jonathan Yao and Barbara Jean’s Jason Fullilove; and Sichuan cauliflower from Neighbor’s Joshua Luce, among other small plates.
This year’s stop trims its festivities by one full day, compared to 2016’s mega-event, but still manages to overwhelm with some of the city’s top chefs and culinary authorities. A clear benefit of this is the price; tickets now range from $49 per single event to $149 for the all-access pass, and I think we can all agree that making this great resource of industry knowledge more accessible to all is a good thing indeed.