Friday, July 13, 2007

Locals plan to fill culinary void left by Masters of Food and Wine departure

Herald Food Writer
Monterey County Herald

The sad departure, after 21 decadent years, of the Masters of Food and Wine at Highlands Inn left a local void in high-end culinary events.

Enter Pebble Beach Co. and the dynamic duo of Robert Weakley and David Bernahl, local food and wine enthusiasts with rich and varied backgrounds. Weakley is the former food and beverage director for the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn and pulled all the strings behind the last few Masters events. Bernahl is founder, president and CEO of Pacific Tweed in Carmel and self-professed gourmet and connoisseur of wine.

The men were not content to just let the Masters of Food of Wine leave without planning their own event, now simply called The Pebble Beach Food and Wine Event (come on, folks, we're a bit more creative than that — let's come up with a better name).

Pebble Beach Co. has announced its intention to host the event, planned for March 2008. The four-day spectacle will attract more than 2,000 attendees to the piqueresque Del Monte Forest and will feature an estimated 125 wineries and 25 celebrity chefs. The long weekend will include wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, a rare wine auction and, of course, some exclusive and unique dining experiences.

The events will be spread throughout the property, using facilities at The Inn at Spanish Bay, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Casa Palermo, The Beach and Tennis Club and the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

A press release from Pebble Beach reported the following: "(The event) will host several exquisite culinary events and activities that will exceed the expectations of the most discerning palette (we hope they mean "palate," although food can indeed be art). Multi-flight vertical and horizontal wine tastings from the world's cult producers as well as thematic lunches and dinners prepared daily by top celebrity chefs will be available for guests to enjoy."

Part of the proceeds from the event will be given to local charities and to help create culinary and enological scholarships.

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