The fifth annual Baja Culinary Fest is back, and this year, all the festivities will be centered in Tijuana, with cooking demos, panels and workshops taking place at the Tijuana Cultural Center CECUT, which will also be the site of a beer, wine and food vendor showcase. Throughout the weekend, esteemed chefs from Mexico and Southern California will collaborate on dinners at restaurants around the city. It will be epic.
Things kick off on Thursday, October 8 with a gala dinner honoring some of the pioneers of the Baja California culinary movement, with the conference commencing on Friday, October 8 with a keynote speech by chef Edgar Nuñez of Mexico City's SUD 777. Friday's program also includes a seafood demo dubbed "Pacific meets Atlantic" led by chefs Jason McLeod (Ironside) and Drew Deckman (Deckman's en el Mogor) and dinners that feature McLeod and Mexico City's Daniel Ovadia among the chefs that Javier Plascencia will host at his Mision 19, while Deckman will cook at Verde y Crema alongside Nuñez; Puesto's Luisteen Gonzalez is on the team behind a dinner at Tijuana's Culinary Art School and The Blind Burro's Sara Polczynski will be at La Diferencia.
Saturday's programming ranges from a can't-miss talk, titled "Atla California meets Baja California", moderated by Tacolandia founder Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA) with a panel that includes Carlos Salgado of Orange County's Tacos Maria and Los Angeles' Ray Garcia from Broken Spanish and Wes Avila (Guerrilla Taco). That night, Salgado, Garcia and Avila will join Javier Plascencia (Bracero) at the legendary Caesar's for a dinner that also features pastry chef Rachel King (NINE-TEN). Also on Saturday's schedule, a dinner with San Diego chefs Amy DiBiase (Tidal) and Karrie Hills at Chan's Bistro and a collab hosted by La Justina's Chad White (Común Taqueria) that includes the Valle de Guadalupe's Ryan Steyn. Tickets to the conference, from day to weekend passes are available online; individual restaurants must be contacted for dinner reservations.