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Top Chef Contestants Reunite for San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival

See what else is on the week’s menu

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

Returning November 14-20 is the annual week-long dining and drinking extravaganza that is San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, whose centeriece event is the November 19 Lexus Grand Tasting Event. The festival, which is in its 13th year, just announced that its finale — an official after party dubbed Party After Dark, will appropriately feature fan favorite contestants from ‘Top Chef’ Season 13. Joining Giselle Wellman, a Season 13 contestant and current executive chef of the newly-opened Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen in Little Italy, will be former San Diegan Chad White, now owner and executive chef of Zona Blanca in Spokane, Washington, Marjorie Meek-Bradley, executive chef and partner of Smoked & Stacked in Washington D.C., Karen Akunowicz, executive chef of Myers and Chang in Boston, Massachusetts, and Angelina Bastidas, executive chef of AMK Kitchen Bar in Chicago, Illinois.

Held on November 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., the after party will feature bites from all the ‘Top Chef’ alumni and drinks provided by Zacapa Rum, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester Whiskey, and Glenmorangie Scotch, Stella Artois, Stella Artois Cidre. Tickets are $85.

But there are a slew of great food and drink events leading up to the finale. Here are some highlights:

The festival kicks off with a dinner series featuring area chefs collaborating with visiting chefs. Among the November 14 Mercy of the Chef Opening Night Dinner Series that still have seats available are at Galaxy Taco with chef de cuisine Christine Rivera and guest chef Steve Santa of Miami’s Taquiza, at Campfire in Carlsbad with executive chef Andrew Bachelier with guest chef Jason French of Ned Ludd and Elder Hall in Portland, Oregon, and a dinner in Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe with chef/owner Drew Deckman of Deckman’s En El Mogor hosting guest chef Renee Erickson from The Whale Wins, Boat Street Café, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Barnacle in Seattle.

On Wednesday, November 16, The Marine Room will be the setting for an Ocean-to-Table luncheon hosted by chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver in partnership with Rick Moonen of Las Vegas’ rm Seafood and a group of local chefs from seafood-centric eateries including Ironside Fish & Oyster’s Jason McLeod and Rob Ruiz of The Land & Water Co.

And a super group of chefs will come together on Thursday, November 19 for the Dinner with the Culinary Icons + Live Auction at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. In the kitchen for the tray-passed reception and five-course dinner will be Chicago’s legendary chef Rick Bayless, Michelle Bernstein of Cena by Michy, Rick Moonen of rm Seafood, Marcus Samuelson of Streetbird Rotisserie and local stars Javier Plascencia from Bracero, The Marine Room’s Bernard Guillas, Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen and Andrew Spurgin of Bespoke Event Styling & Menu Design.