Golden State Meets Garden State

This year's New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort features chef David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, California—#62 on the 2014 San Pellegrino list of the World's 100 Best Restaurants.

David Kinch, chef of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, to be hnored at the 2015 New Jersey Food & Wine Festival. Photo: Eric Wolfinger

Manresa, Kinch’s restaurant, was recently rebuilt and reopened after burning to the ground, so the festival will honor him not only as a winner of two Michelin stars for nine years running but as a phoenix arisen from his own ashes.

Kinch, winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Pacific Award for 2010 and author of the bestselling cookbook Manresa: An Edible Reflection, will team with Anthony Bucco, the newly appointed chef of Crystal Springs’ signature restaurant, Latour, one of New Jersey Monthly’s Top 25 in the state. They will present a multi-course meal on Friday, March 20, the festival’s opening night.

“David is bringing ingredients with him from the coast, and it will be a true East Meets West,” says Robby Younes, Crystal Springs vice-president of hospitality and wine director. “David and Anthony are both very modern chefs, but they have different styles, and the combination of their talents will be amazing to experience.”

As Kinch and Bucco alternate courses, each course will be paired with wines from the Prisoner Wine Company of Rutherford, California, led by winemaker Jen Beloz, whose background includes 10 years at Ravenswood. Tickets for the dinner are $295.

At noon on Saturday, March 21, the first full day of the festival, chef Kinch will host a meet and greet ($35) and sign copies of his cookbook.

The Saturday schedule is packed as full as a Mason jar of preserved peaches. To name just a few events:

—Elite NJ coffee company Coffee Afficionado, featured in New Jersey Monthly’s upcoming Coffee Issue (April) will hold a tasting and seminar on Chocolate & Coffee ($30).

—Wine director Younes will hold one of his coveted Secrets of the Cellar tastings, featuring rare wines and great vintages from the resort’s 150,000-bottle world-class cellar ($150).

New Jersey Craft Distillers will offer a tasting of rum cocktails made with their Busted Barrel rum ($40).

—There will be a Wine-Macaron Happy Hour with macarons from Asalt & Buttery Bake Shop paired with sparkling and still wines ($40).

Ardbeg Haar will offer a tasting of its fine Scotches ($40).

The Garden State Chef Throwdown ($50) will pit three top New Jersey chefs against each other. Ticketholders will taste all the entries and the judges will decide the winner. Contestants are chefs John Greeley of Crystal Springs Resort, Francesco Palmieri of the Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield and Bryan Gregg of Escape in Montclair.

 

Saturday night’s big gala is the walk-around Grand Tasting, with a staggering lineup of top chefs and dancing to a 32-piece orchestra. ($150). Restaurants represented include…

Agricola
Andre’s
Axia Taverna
The Bernards Inn
Betony
Blanca & Roberta’s
Blu
Cravin’ Thai
Crystal Tavern at Crystal Springs
Del Posto
Elements
Escape
Fascino
Ho-Ho-Kus Inn
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen
Lunello
Maritime Parc
Mistral
Morris Tap & Grill
Ninety Acres
The Orange Squirrel
Osteria Morini
Pig & Prince
Prime Ninety Five
Ryland Inn
Strip House
Terre á Terre

Saturday evening will cap with the Meet the Chefs and Winemakers After-Party. “We decided to bring Cuba to New Jersey in honor of the opening of relations between our two countries,” says Younes. The Crystal Springs Biosphere, an all-weather, glass-enclosed pool area, will be decked out even more than usually with tropical plants.

“We will set up something like a Cuban street market for an amazing walk-around party,” Younes says. “It will feature Cuban fashion models from New York in tropical costumes created by two New Jersey women designers. There will be Cuban percussionists, exotic tropical drinks served in coconut shells and a Cuban-born cigar maker from Hoboken, Tony Santana, rolling fresh cigars from the best Dominican and Honduran tobacco. It will be quite a carnival.”

Still hankering for more fun on Sunday? Sign up for the Champagne Brunch ($50).

For more information and tickets, click here.

 

 

 

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