Preview of the 2019 Masters of Taste

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.

Chefs Michael Hung & Sammy Monsour

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.

Become a Master of Taste on April 3, 2016

Photo Courtesy of Master of Taste
(Photo Courtesy of Master of Taste)

I’ve been on the field of the historic Rose Bowl for a fundraising event and it is really cool. Especially if you are a UCLA Bruin and have sat in the stadium multiple times to watch a home football game. You get that certain thrill standing on the field imagining what the football players are feeling during the annual Rose Bowl game or a championship soccer game, or concert by an award winning musical group. It’s a bucket list experience

This Sunday, April 3 from 3 to 7 p.m., you too can feel the magic standing outdoor on the field with up to 2,000 influential food and beverage enthusiasts. Some of L.A.’s most notable chefs, sweet masters, juicers, brew masters, and mixologists will prepare fare, beverages and signature handcrafted cocktails.

Learn about wine from participating wineries that include Alexander Valley Vineyards from Healdsburg, Paso Robles’ Anglim Winery, the premium boutique winery Ascension Cellars and Ventura’s Four Brix Winery.

Sip a variety of pressed juices, and hand-roasted coffee, while listening to live entertainment.

Here is a spotlight on a few of the professionals scheduled to appear at Master of Taste. Come learn, enjoy new flavors and know that by participating you are helping a worthy cause.

(Executive Chef Matt Bata - photo courtesy of Master of Taste)
(Executive Chef Matt Bata – photo courtesy of Master of Taste)

Participating Masters of Taste professionals include Matt Bata, from Alexander’s Steakhouse – Located in Pasadena, this fine dining interpretation of the classic American steakhouse with hints of Japanese influence laced into the menu.  Alexander’s Steakhouse features certified Angus Beef, corn-fed from the Mid-West. Their dry-aging room features 28-day dry-aged American and imported Wagyu beef. At Master of Taste, chef Bata is serving beef & foiestrami tartare on a buckwheat rye crepe along with their “notorious” Celery Cocktail this Sunday. Visit:

Other chefs scheduled include:

Bernhard Mairinger of BierBeisl; Michael “Mick” Schepers of HACHÉ LA

YoyaTakahashi of Hamasaku; CarolosTomazos of Inotheke;

Sean Popcock of Made in Brooklyn; Kyle Schutte, of Wood & Vine

Neal Fraser of Redbird and Isaias Pena, of Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern.

Brewmasters include Alosta Brewing Co., Bootlegger’s Brewery, Iron Triangle Brewing, Indie Brewing Company and Golden Road Brewing.

(Photo courtesy of Master of Taste)
(Photo courtesy of Master of Taste)

NEKTER JUICE BAR will serve healthy juice to guests. The company started in 2010 creating healthy and affordable juice without processed sugars and artificial flavors. The first Nekter opened in Costa Mesa.

Proceeds from Masters of Taste benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a nonprofit organization based in Pasadena and committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Services include street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development.

A VIP Power Hour runs from 3 to 4 p.m.; General admission is from 4 to 7 p.m.

VIP tickets are $225; $125 for general admission tickets. Guests must be 21 and over.

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena.

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