To kick-off ticket sales for Masters of Taste 2019, I was recently invited to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to experience a preview menu. Approximately 100 sponsors and influential & beverage enthusiasts gathered inside the (not open to the public) stadium locker room for a special dinner.
We learned this year’s Masters of Taste takes place on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a nonprofit organization based in Pasadena. Union Station helps homeless men, women and children in rebuilding their lives. Services include street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development.
This year Executive chef Michael Hung from Faith & Flower is the Masters of Taste Host Chef. Hung was outside in a pop-up kitchen with his brother the Executive Chef Jon Hung from The Raymond 1886, along with Sammy Monsour of Preux & Proper, Jonathan Aviles from Salazar and Jon Hensley of Lark Cake Shop.
Before a sit-down dinner, we stood among beautiful wood lockers and banners above displaying historic and memorable events featured at the Rose Bowl. While sipping signature handcrafted cocktails by The Raymond 1886 and Ventura Spirits we met Cameron Masden, one of The Raymond 1886 mixologists. He made a “Kami of Dawn” with KI NO BI Dry Gin, lemon juice, Yuzu syrup, passion fruit, green chartreuse, and Cordo Marihana. He will be at the April 7 event, along with other beverage masters from top cocktail bars.
Bryan Chenault of Ventura Spirits made “East LA Spitz” with Amaro Americano, East Imperial grapefruit, tonic and a twist of orange. Slices of Pasadena’s Plant pizza were passed around the room.
The first course was prepared by Salazar’s Executive Chef Jonathan Aviles. He made Coctel de Camaron that was paired with a shot of H.E. Greer Back Bar Project Nuestra Soledad Mezcal.
The second course was a savory NOLA style seafood gumbo pot prepared by Chef Sammy Monsour the Executive Chef at Preux & Proper. It went perfectly with a glass of O’Melvaney Red Ale poured by Frank Martinez from the San Fernando Brewing Co.
Next Jon Hung at The Raymond 1886 prepared seared sea trout with lentils and plump sweet raisins. Russell Shin poured glasses of San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc ’18 to enjoy with this course.
When Jon’s brother Michael, the Host Chef of Masters of Taste and Executive Chef Faith & Flower, served his beautifully executed slow roasted loin New York Strip steak, we all remarked how tender and flavorful this was, especially with his classic French Bordelaise sauce. It was served with a lovely green pea tart. This dish was paired with a glass of San Antonio Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ’15.
We finished with a small box of artisan chocolates from Joe Terpoghossian’s Mignon Chocolates and a red velvet mini-cupcake from John Hensley of Lark Cake Shop. Both of these were served with a small glass of strawberry brandy from Bryan Chenault’s Ventura Spirits.
This year’s Masters of Taste is on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Attendees have the opportunity to stroll the 50-yard line while enjoying small plates from some of L.A.’s top chefs and restaurants. There are only a limited amount of VIP tickets left – Click on Masters of Taste 2019 to learn more.