slideshow

A View of The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival Launch

Walter Manzke, David Myers, and Rory HerrmannPhoto: Lesley Balla

If the launch luncheon gives any indication about how big and splashy the L.A. Food & Wine Fest will be in October, we're in for a doozy. It was announced yesterday that the event will take the place of Wolfgang Puck's American Wine & Food Fest, which has fed generous gourmands and raised millions for Meals On Wheels over the last 30 years. Puck himself happily passed the torch--via a pre-taped video splashed across a giant screen in the plaza--to David Alan Bernahl and Rob Weakly, the founders of the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Fest, which will serve as a sort of amuse bouche to this new citywide event. Chefs, including Masarahu Morimoto, Tyler Florence, and locals Ludovic Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina, Josiah Citrin, Walter Manzke, David Myers, Sang Yoon and others, showed up in limos and walked the red carpet like celebrities. Come have a look at the action.

A gorgeous table setting, complete with crystal chandeliers, beautiful flowers, Cristal, a DJ, and dishes from Wolfgang Puck Catering awaited them at Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live. The chefs clinked Champagne glasses and chatted, all looking relaxed and genuinely excited to be a part of the upcoming event. Lefebvre dished on being a new dad (he and wife Krissy have new twins), when the next Ludobites will take place (July and August), and that he has another new concept in the works. Morimoto proved to be the biggest ham, walking around the event with a TV camera and interviewing Yoon about his recent ankle surgery, and even revving up a Lexus LFA--loudly.

So what to expect in the fall? More than 100 food and wine tastings, seminars and after-parties held all over L.A., from the Santa Monica Pier to different venues around L.A. Live. The chefs in attendance will play a part, as well as biggies like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, who challenged Yoon to a burger showdown via video. Coastal Luxury Management pairs up with Dick Clark Productions and Amex Publishing, so think of it more like the big foodie fetes that take place in Aspen, South Beach and New York. Except with more celebrities and sports stars. This is L.A. after all. The Los Angeles Food & Wine Fest takes place on October 13-16.

Have a look at our slide show of yesterday's big event.

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