To spend an entire day in a dreamy destination like Bacara Resort & Spa enjoying panoramic views while meeting with renowned chefs, vintners, authors, marketing stars and foodies from around the country at the 2nd Annual Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend was beyond delightful.

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Origins of Modern Cookbooks Tasting Items


There were over eighteen seminars and tastings on Saturday April 17 at the Bacara, many scheduled at the same hours and guests could select one from each time frame. The seminars I selected to attended were all so interesting and well presented, and the chef food demonstrations offered a taste of some unforgettable samples and sips. From a cookbook promotion guru like Lisa Ekus to renowned authors like Anne Willan it was both highly educational and totally inspiring for guests who love to cook, love fine food and wine, love the history of cookbooks, or need to know what to do with all those cookbooks they’ve collected over the years that are collecting dust.

Julia Child Foundation curators lead a Seminar on Julia’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian in Washington that was outstanding. The Scoop on Julia’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian seminar was packed with guests to hear the story on Julia’s Kitchen and details for the upcoming Food History Weekend in October, plus announcements on the upcoming Julia Child Award Gala. It was great fun to hear curators Paula Johnson & Tanya Steel share the their personal memories on how Julia’s Kitchen finally made it into the Smithsonian.

Foley Wines sponsored a blind tasting that was a sipping party for a huge group of guests at the Bacara weekend event, and a good time was had by all in their charming Foley Wine Tasting Room located on the Bacara hotel property. This venue is a perfect atmosphere to relax and taste some of the 200 wines being poured daily.

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Margerum M5 Wine


Doug Margerum, one of my favorite vintners in Santa Barbara, poured wines at a demonstration done by Executive Chef Mayet Crystobal – Bon Appetit Management Comany – Getty Museums, who prepared Manila inspired appetizers that were sensational. Her husband Chef Bobby Bognar, The Point Restaurant owner and History Channel Food Tech host was an able assistant and Mayet’s Tuna Kinilaw and Slow-Braised Octopus Adobo presentation got raves from the audience.

Author Anne Willan gave a brilliant seminar & tasting on Origins of the Modern Cookbook, and Lisa Ekus, Lisa Ekus Group Culinary Talent Representative, assisted Anne Willan with “Secrets from the La Vareene Kitchen” display. The seminar on the history of cookbooks included tastes of medicinal Ypocras wine, cheese balls and historic seedy cake. I was thrilled to meet Anne, and have been a huge fan of her cookbooks for years. Anne Willan, who has written The Cookbook Library, One Souffle At A Time, and her new book La Varenne Kitchen, being released this month. Anne was accompanied by her husband Mark Cherniavsky, who co-authored The Cookbook Library with her. Lisa Elkus gave her own seminar on collecting cookbooks, and was interviewed by Todd Schulkin of the Julia Child Foundation.

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Author Anne Willan with Lisa Ekus


The Celebrity Chef Seafood Lunch featuring dishes by Chefs Suzanne Goin, Lucques Restaurant & David Lentz, Hungry Cat Restaurant was amazing, and Thekla Sanford poured a variety of wonderful Alma Rosa Wines for guests to pair with their luncheon selections. The menu included a salad with walnuts and perfectly cook asparagus, a creamed polenta with snap peas, a ceviche appetizer and entree selections of salmon with crisp lettuce and green goddess dressing or breaded chicken steak. Dessert was provided by McConnell’s local ice cream, and was tempting on a cookie with raspberry sauce.

Dessert lovers enjoyed an informative seminar and divine tasting with renowned chef Jim Dodge, director of specialty culinary programs for Bon Appetite Management Company who has won numerous James Beard awards and cookbook kudos for books he has authored on baking. Jessica Foster, the Santa Barbara chocolate lady left everyone sighing over her chocolate truffles sampled with a variety of local wines.

East vs West Panel, Russ Parsons, Kim Seversen & Todd Schulkin JCF

East vs West Panel, Russ Parsons, Kim Seversen & Todd Schulkin JCF


A fantastic East vs. West Panel Discussion included Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times Food Editor and Atlanta Bureau Chief for the New York Times Kim Severson, which was narrated by Todd Schulkin of the Julia Child Foundation. The banter was both interesting and amusing. A good time was had by all listening to different views and approaches to food trends from opposite points in America, and the food experts gave the audience some hearty laughs, as well as some serious food for thought!

Year in Champagne

Year in Champagne

The evening screening of “A Year in Champagne” a delightful film on the joys and sorrows of making champagne, which premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) last year, was written & directed by David Kennard and featured wine expert Martine Saunier. It is a truly magical look at the making of French champagne and gives a new awareness to the value of making a toast! The reel deal finale included chocolates with champagne and was the sweetest ending to an unforgettable day.



By Bonnie Carroll