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Big Sur Health Center, a non-profit organization offering affordable healthcare to the Big Sur community, announced January 13 – 15, 2017 as the dates of its annual Big Sur Foragers Festival. Held in Big Sur along California’s central coast and throughout Monterey County, the festival is a weekend-long celebration featuring an amazing array of wild foods, world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and a friendly chef competition with celebrity judges. This year’s partners include Carmel Valley Ranch, the sister property of longtime host Ventana Big Sur.

The event has traditionally served as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community’s non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to continue to support the presence of local health care services in the Big Sur area.

The three day festival affords Big Sur area restaurants the opportunity to host the culinary expertise of notable chefs who will be preparing unique fare ranging from rustic to elegant, paired alongside the central coast region’s amazing selection of wine and beer.

The Big Sur Foragers Festival may have changed the location of its annual Grand Chef Dinner for 2017, but the event’s culinary star power remains intact.

With a resort enhancement project in development at Ventana Big Sur, the festival moved its spectacular wine dinner to sister resort Carmel Valley Ranch, which was just named the No. 1 resort in Northern California in the Conde Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. Tim Wood, executive chef of Carmel Valley Ranch and the driving force behind its award-winning Valley Kitchen Restaurant, will co-host the January 15 event along with high-profile chef and restaurateur Rodney Worth, who owns six restaurants in the San Francisco East Bay and The Pear Southern Bistro in downtown Napa.  These two culinary contemporaries have much in common, as Wood and Worth each carry out a farm-to-table approach using local, sustainable ingredients, and are passionate supporters of sustainability initiatives including the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

An intimate forage-inspired feast paired with incredible wines provided by Chappellet Wines, the multi-course dinner from Chefs Wood and Worth begins at 6 p.m., and seating is extremely limited. Early-bird tickets on Eventbrite cost $150 if purchased before November 30 ($175 beginning December 1).

Carmel Valley Ranch will also host the Foragers Festival’s popular Fungus Face-Off on Saturday, January 14, in a beautiful tented setting on the resort’s Pete Dye-designed golf course. This popular event sells out early. There are 250 available tickets, priced at $65 per person.  The price includes samples of foraged foods prepared by local chefs, award winning local wines to taste and samplings of local craft beers.  A selection of handcrafted items will also be available for purchase from local artisan vendors.

 

Fungus Face Off Winery and Brewery Partners Include:

  • Holman Ranch
  • Mesa Del Sol
  • Bernardus
  • McIntyre Vineyards
  • Chappellet
  • Twisted Roots
  • Chesebro Wines
  • De Tierra Vineyards
  • Morgan Winery
  • Bonny Doon Vineyards
  • Filipponi Ranch Cellars
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Belgian Pacific
  • Blair Winery
  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Mad Otter Ale
  • Flywheel Wines
  • Scheid Vineyards
  • Comanche Cellars

 

Fungus Face Off Chef and Restaurant Partners Include:

  • Chef Tim Wood, Valley Kitchen, Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Chef Matt Glazer, Glazer Food and Beverage
  • Chef Chad Minton, Hyatt Carmel Highlands
  • Chef Soerke Peters, Basil Seasonal Dining
  • Chef Angela Tamura, Peppoli
  • Chef Cy Yontz, Rio Grill
  • Chef Todd Fisher, Tarpy’s Roadhouse
  • Fernwood
  • The Culinary Team at Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Quail and Olive
  • Carmel Honey Company
  • Big Sur Sea Salt
  • Salt Roots Soap Company
  • Moss Botanicals
  • Big Sur Driftwood
  • Percy’s Pies
  • Bellwether Ceramics

The nonprofit Big Sur Health Center will receive proceeds from all foraging events to help support the continued presence of local healthcare services in the Big Sur area. For Foragers Festival details visit www.bigsurforagersfestival.org. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/big-sur-foragers-festival-2017-tickets-26923723582.

 

Rodney Worth, Chef-Owner of the Worth Group 

Rodney Worth’s earliest memory of cooking was baking an apple pie while his mom was out grocery shopping. And his very first job, besides mowing lawns, was at Taco Bell. From those humble beginnings, and following an ill-fated career in the semiconductor industry, a his career in restaurants was launched. Worth enrolled in the culinary program at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and found part-time work at Wente Vineyards, where he was exposed to fresh ingredients and new flavors. His first real-world experience came at Bizou under the tutelage of world-renowned chef Loretta Keller. It was there that he found his niche and began to refine his craft, inspired by slow-cooked dishes and Old World recipes.

Worth purchased his first restaurant, a small sandwich shop in a San Ramon strip mall, less than two months after graduation. Lines stretched out the door from Day 1. He soon added dinner items and, within two years, purchased The Peasant & the Pear in downtown Danville. The restaurant received the “Best New Restaurant of 2006” award from Diablo Magazine. Worth has since been a six-time winner of Diablo’s “Best Chef” award, enjoying more wins than any other chef in the East Bay. He has also been recognized by and received media coverage from Michelin, Zagat and Bon Appetít Magazine. Worth’s charm and smile are what put him on the map of culinary greats in the Bay Area, but his unique menu and commitment to sustainability and local and organic products are what have kept him there.

Tim Wood, Executive Chef, Carmel Valley Ranch

Tim Wood began his culinary career in the Catskills region of New York’s Hudson Valley. It was here amongst the area’s countless small family farms that Wood learned the importance of local, seasonal ingredients. After his graduation from Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York, Wood moved to New York City and began his Manhattan restaurant experience as an extern at the famed Rainbow Room. In 2000, Wood connected with Chef Cal Stamenov at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. Wood and Stamenov worked closely together, travelling to an array of national and international events in Germany, Holland and Spain.

Wood joined Carmel Valley Ranch in 2009 and, in 2015, debuted a reimagined restaurant called Valley Kitchen as a cornerstone of Carmel Valley Ranch’s multi-million resort enhancement. Valley Kitchen serves as the communal table of the Carmel Valley with an ever-changing menu inspired by the people of the Valley and products from the organic gardens and farmstead practices at The Ranch. Wood has always loved to be so closely connected to local products and the people behind them, and wants his diners to know where their food is from and to understand the care that the purveyors granted it. Wood has won several local awards, including “Best Chef” in both the Monterey Weekly and Carmel Pine Cone readers’ polls.

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