The Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, returns for its 7th year this March 24th - 26th.  This is a food event that I have heard a lot about and this year, I am finally going!  Not only is the chef talent going to be epic, but who doesn't love an excuse to go to Palm Desert?  This week I attended a special preview event with some of the chefs; Brooke Williamson, Stuart O'Keefe and Casey Thompson and it absolutely got me excited for March.

The evening started with poké samplers from The Venue, a sushi bar in Palm Desert run by Chef Engin Onural who will be participating in the event.  All were delicious!

After our mouths were nice and juicy from the poké, we got to watch two recipe demos! The first was from Irish Chef and Cookbook Author Stuart O'Keefe, who you might have seen on the Food Network.  His new book, The Quick Six Fix, features healthy, delicious recipes that take no more than six minutes to prep.  He prepared Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato, Lemon, and Large Shrimp...don't you find that the simplest meals are often the best tasting?  Great recipe...and it was not at all hard to watch him work if you know what I'm saying (wink).  

Up next was Chef Brooke Williamson, LA restaurant empress and Top Chef contestant. Her restaurants include Hudson House, The Tripel, Playa Provisions and the recently opened Da Kikokiko.  It's a good thing I like poké because that's also what Chef Brooke prepared for us!  She wanted to share the signature flavors of Da Kikokiko, which pays homage to Hawaiian street food.  Poké shops are turning up all over Los Angeles, this was definitely one of the best bowls I've tried.

Chef Casey Thomas, also a contestant on Top Chef, wasn't able to perform a demo, but she did show her support for the other chefs and got us all excited for March!

If you need more convincing for attendance here are some of the events that will be going on.

  • “An Evening in New Orleans” at Toscana Country Club, where Chef Tory McPhail will kick start the revelry on Thursday, March 23
  • James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon on Friday, March 24 with emcee Gail Simmons, food expert, Food & Wine Special Projects Director, and judge on Bravo’s Top Chef
  • “Celebrity Chef Reception” at the Ford Estate on the evening of Friday, March 24, where guests can meet and mingle with Gail Simmons and indulge in a one-of-a-kind meal expertly prepared by Brooke Williamson, along with a tour of the restored home
  • Two Days of Grand Tastings on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26, featuring tastings from 42 celebrated restaurants plus demonstrations from excellent culinary talent, and wines poured from over 60 vintners

*Tickets are on sale now, individual events range from $35-200, with additional package and VIP options. Please continue to visit for updates and details on full programming of events, chefs, wineries, sommeliers, and breweries participating at the 7th Annual Palm Desert Food & Wine presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.

Bonus, Palm Desert Food & Wine will donate 35 meals for every festival ticket purchased to Coachella Valley’s FIND Food Bank, which provides food and essentials to those in need throughout the community.

I hope to see you there!