Inside The Kitchen, October 26-28, Half Moon Bay, CA

Fall and late Spring seem to be the times for major food and wine events on both coasts. Let’s just say that if I didn’t have to actually hold down a day job and was actually working for Vinography full time, I’d be eating and drinking pretty well the whole month of October. And one of the events that I would not miss under any circumstances would be a weekend of fun called Inside The Kitchen at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.

Why is this one of the must-attend (if you can afford it) food and wine events of the year in the Golden State? Don’t make me count the reasons. First of all it’s at the Ritz out on the coast, which is a beautiful hotel, but more importantly, the lineup of chefs and master sommeliers who are coming to teach classes and serve scrumptious food and wine is positively knockout. Gerald Hirogoyen, David Kinch, Hubert Keller, Laurent Manrique, Melissa Perello, Julian Serrano, and Ron Siegel are just a few of the names that you will see stitched onto chef’s whites during several days of cooking classes, demonstrations, cook-offs, and contests. Richard Betts, Raj Parr, William Sherer, Larry Stone, and Eugenio Jardim are some of the top sommeliers who will be joined by several winemakers and vineyard owners to give classes and tastings of wine throughout the weekend as well.

Some of the classes sound pretty cool, from the retro “The Burger Bar” course by Laurent Pillard and Hubert Keller about creating the ultimate burger, to the eclectic “Around the World in Eight Bites: Going Global with Cheese and Wine” which promises to be the ultimate wine and cheese pairing course. Then there are the vertical tastings of Dom Perignon, appellation studies, and more. I could go on and on, but the web site does it a lot better than I can.

If you’ve got some cash and some time, and perhaps don’t want to deal with the flights and the crowds at an event like the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, I heartily recommend you look into this event. This year promises to be quite a spectacle.

Inside The Kitchen
October 27 to 29, 2006
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
One Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

You can buy a whole package which includes lodging and all meals and as many seminars as you can pack into the weekend (up to five) starting at $3,550, or you can buy tickets to individual events or classes. The Opening Night Gala and the Four Star Grand Tasting are $300 per person, and the individual classes can be had for $100 per ticket.

The Grand Tasting Event and the Chef’s Challenge contest are completely sold out, and as of yesterday afternoon there were only three tickets left to the Dom Perignon tasting event. The rest of the events are in various stages of completion, so if this is something you decide to do, you need to move on it fairly quickly.