2016 Big Sur Foragers Festival Announces

Fungus Face Off Winners

BIG SUR, CA — A celebration of an amazing array of wild foods was the centerpiece for the January 15 – 17th weekend of gourmet food, world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and the friendly chef competition with celebrity judges.

The event also 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 support the continued presence of local health care services. This year’s Big Sur Foragers Festival raised nearly $40,000!

On Saturday, January 16, the “Fungus Face-Off” was held on the deck at Ventana Inn & Spa! There was a friendly competition among some of the area’s notable chefs featuring chanterelles and other fabulous fungi. Judges included Mary Schley with the Carmel Pine Cone, Patrice Vecchione with Edible Magazine and Wendy Brodie, Art of Food. Attendees had an opportunity to taste along with the judges and to cast their vote for “People’s Choice”.

Most Creative Use of Foraged Ingredients

“The panna cotta from Big Sur Roadhouse had a delicate yet distinctive maple flavor of candy cap mushrooms. It was elegant and inventive, as well as not too sweet. We loved the contrast of the creamy texture with the crunch and crispness of the candied candy caps and bay laurel that garnished the dessert.”

Judges Choice – Best of Show

“Carmel Valley Ranch Chef Tim Wood created his signature crostini for this event. It featured candy caps as a savory creation combined with rich and juicy short ribs, ragout style. It was garnished with radish, apple and fresh herbs which added to the sweet savory burst of flavor.”

People’s Choice

Matt Glazer of Glazer Food and Beverage, with his Lemon Pepper Mushroom Chowder, using 9 varieties of mushrooms, including chanterelles, porcini, and black trumpets,topped with his lemon crema, made with Meyer lemons

As honorable mention the judges were so impressed with Rocky Point Chef Hernandez’s dish of 15 different items intertwined and layered in a beautiful and artistic presentation. His ingredients were “chanterelle, shitake and portabella duxelles in a mascarpone, regiano, parmesan, black truffle soft polenta, topped with Colorado lamb Osso Bucco, with a poached egg drizzled with white truffle oil and black mission fig chutney.”

Also as honorable mention Fernwood’s chef’s handmade corn tortillas pressed with Redwood sorrel which formed a little heart, so we thought their fantastic carnitas would make a perfect Mexican Valentine.

Participating restaurants, wineries and breweries were:

Winery and Brewery Partners Include:

  • Bernardus Winery
  • Belgian Pacific Brewing Company
  • Chappellet
  • Comanche Cellars
  • Filipponi Ranch
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Holman Ranch
  • McIntyre Vineyards
  • Mad Otter Ales  by Monterey Bay Brewing Company
  • Mesa Del Sol
  • Morgan Winery
  • Scheid Vineyards
  • Twisted Roots
  • Ventana Vineyards

Restaurant, Chef and Tasting Partners Include:

  • Chef Paul Corsentino, Ventana Big Sur
  • Chef Tim Wood, Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Chef Brendan Esons , Big Sur Roadhouse
  • Chef Jacob Burell, Big Sur Bakery
  • Miguel Vargas, Fernwood
  • Chef Herman Hernandez, Rocky Point
  • Chef Matt Glazer, Glazer Food and Beverage
  • Adan Moeda Chavez, River Inn

We would also like to thank Carmel Valley’s Quail and Olive for providing organic olive oil and vinegar tasting. And finally, a huge thank you to our event partner Ventana Big Sur.