The Festival Took Place January 12-14, 2018

Thursday and Friday Night Fundraising Dinners, Special Raffle, Fungus Face Off, Mushroom Walk and Talks and More!

Big Sur Foragers Festival is excited to announce the return of their feature venue, the Fungus Face Off, to longtime partner, Ventana Big Sur, for 2018. The community’s non-profit, Big Sur Health Center, will receive the proceeds from all of the festival events to help support the continued presence of local healthcare services in the Big Sur area.

2018 Includes:

  • Thursday Night:  Join us at Lugano Swiss Bistro on Thursday, January 11th. The restaurant will be donating 25% of all sales on Fondue as well as all items off the menu including beer and wine on Thursday, January 11th to the Big Sur Foragers Festival benefiting the Big Sur Health Center. Lugano’s will also have live music that evening.  Dine, Laugh, Dance, Enjoy and Support the Big Sur Health Center!
  • Friday Night:  Rio Grill Restaurant will be donating 10% of all dinner sales on Friday, January 12th up to $500 to benefit the Big Sur Health Center and help kick off the Big Sur Foragers Festival weekend!
  • Friday Night Dinner at Il GrilloSeating #1:
    • Dinner at Il Grillo located at Mission St & 4th Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
    • Seating #1 5:30 p.m.
    • 6-course small-bite tasting menu  paired with Chappellet Wines.
    • Vegetarian & gluten-free option available for both seatings.

    Seating #2:

    • Dinner at Il Grillo Mission St & 4th Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
    • Seating #2 8:00 p.m.
    • 5 course mushroom and truffle feast paired with Chappellet Wines.
    • Vegetarian & gluten-free option available for both seatings.
  • Stay tuned for details on a special events to take place at Post Ranch in honor of the Big Sur Foragers Festival.
  • Don’t Miss Out in the Special Raffle
    Foragers Festival Raffle
    Tickets $5.00 Each ~ 6 for $25.00 ~ Need Not be Present to WinRaffle Item #1:Dine Around Package$100 Haute Enchilada$100 Portobello’s Salinas$100 Montrio Bistro, Rio Grill or Tarpy’s$300 ValueRaffle Item #2:Casa Cactus Cabo Pulmo3 Nights stay in Cabo Pulmo Baja Mexico (Air fare not included)$350 valueRaffle Item #3:VIP Tasting Experience at Bernardus Winery for up to 10 with wines paired with Artisan Cheese, Charcuterie and Chocolate Tasting$500 ValueRaffle Item #4:The Arts8 Tickets to Monterey Museum of Art4 Tickets to Monterey SymphonyNational Steinbeck Center (Books, Admission Passes, Festival Passes and more)

$500 Value

Raffle Item #5

Carmel Valley Ranch

One-Night Stay in a King Suite at Carmel Valley Ranch

Dinner for two at Valley Kitchen Restaurant (alc.& gratuity not incl.)

$800 value

Raffle Item #6

Carmel Valley Ranch

One-Night Stay in a King Suite at Carmel Valley Ranch

Two 50-Minute Spa Treatments at Spa Aiyana

$950 value

Raffle Item #7

Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea ($150)

Dinner at Bistro Moulin Monterey ($100)

$250 Value

Raffle Item #8

Dinner for 4 at Sur House at Ventana Big Sur

$250 Value

Raffle Item #9

One Night Stay at Ventana Big Sur

Dinner for 2 at Sur House at Ventana Big Sur

$750 Value

The sixth annual Fungus Face Off will take place at Ventana Big Sur Ocean Meadow Lawn. The Big Sur Health Center is looking forward to returning to Ventana Big Sur for 2018.

Participants Include


  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • A Taste of Elegance
  • Big Sur Bakery
  • Big Sur River Inn
  • Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Esalen Institute
  • Roy’s
  • The Sur House at Ventana Big Sur
  • Post Ranch
  • Fernwood

Wineries and Breweries

  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Baker and Brain
  • Bernardus  Winery
  • Blair Wines
  • Boony Doon Vineyards
  • Chappellet Vineyards
  • Chesebro
  • Comanche Cellars
  • Fillipponi Winery
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company

  • Flywheel Wines
  • Mad Otter Ale
  • McIntyre Vineyards
  • Mesa del Sol
  • Morgan Winery
  • Paul Lato Wines
  • Scheid Vineyards
  • Tablas Creek
  • Twisted Roots

Marketplace Vendors and Tastings

  • Carmel Honey Company
  • David Seefeld – Local Jade Artist/Jewler
  • Fattoria Muia
  • Quail and Olive
  • Percy Pies
  • Carmel Berry Co.

Wild Mushroom Walk and Talk

There will be a Beginner and Intermediate Mushroom Walk. Details To Be Announced.
Watch for more details soon here at

2017 Big Sur Foragers Festival… it’s a wrap!

And the Winners of the Big Sur Foragers Festival Fungus Face Off are …

Best Use of Foraged Ingredients (Savory)
Matt Glazer, Glazer Food and Beverage,
Wild Mushroom and Wild Boar Chili with Black Trumpet, Chanterelles, Hedgehog, Hen of the Woods and Porcini Mushrooms, garnished with a Tortilla Chip

Best Use of Foraged Ingredients (Sweet)
Paul Corsentino, Executive Chef and Saul Tejada, Pastry Chef, VENTANA Big Sur
Candy Cap Mousse Cake, Chanterelle Crème Anglaise, Candy Cap Honey Comb, Satsuma Marmalade, garnished with a striped White and Dark Chocolate Mini Straw

Judges’ Choice Best of Show
Todd Fisher, Executive Chef, Tarpy’s Roadhouse Mushroom Upside Down Steak “rather than smothering steak in mushrooms we smothered mushrooms in steak”, Roasted Chanterelles, Shiitake and Oysters, Shaved Button Mushrooms (AKA poor man’s truffle) sliced New York Steak, Cognac Demi and Whipped Bone Marrow

People’s Choice
Tim Wood, Executive Chef, Carmel Valley Ranch Ragout of Duck Confit and Big Sur Chanterelles, Foie Gras on Roasted Garlic Crostini

And in the wine arena…

Best White Varietal
Knights of the Vine:  DI TIERRA  – DRY RIESLING

Best Red Varietal
Knights of the Vine:  CHESEBRO – LA MONTAGNE SAUVAGE – Rhone-Style Blend

People’s Choice
CHAPPELLET who was pouring: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Pinot Noir

The Big Sur Foragers Festival took place on

January 13 – 15, 2017

This year’s partners include Carmel Valley Ranch, the sister property of longtime host Ventana Big Sur. Due to renovations at Ventana Big Sur, the Fungus Face-Off and the Grand Chef dinner will take place at Carmel Valley Ranch this year.

Important note: Due to the numerous mud slides and road closures in Big Sur, the Foraging Hikes will take place in Garland Park.  Everyone participating in one of the hikes should plan to meet in the parking lot of Garland Park at 8:30.
Garland Regional Park is located on Carmel Valley Road 8.5 miles East of Highway 1

(Click here for directions to 700 W Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924)

For the Fungus Face Off the event is covered but please wear appropriate shoes as it is on the grass!

2017 Big Sur Foragers Festival Announces Fungus Face-off (1-4pm) and Grand Chef Dinner (6pm) on January 14

Chef-host Tim Wood joins forces with Bay Area chef/restaurateur Rodney Worth to create a memorable feast, with each course complimented by award-winning wines from Chappellet Winery

New events for 2017 include

  • New Friday Night Dinner Added for January 13th, 2017.  Pamper your palette for a great cause with a gourmet meal benefiting the Big Sur Health Center on Friday, Jan. 13, at La Balena Carmel, an authentic Italian restaurant on Junipero Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues.  This very special dinner, part of the Big Sur Foragers Festival, will feature a five-course meal, lovingly prepared with wild mushrooms and black and white Italian Alba truffles, that were gathered during a recent three-week trip to Italy by La Balena owners Anna and Emanuele Bartolini.  Wines donated by Bernardus Winery and Chappellet Wines will be served with each course.
  • A Friday night winemaker dinner series will be held at select restaurants throughout Monterey County.  Will’s Fargo Restaurant + Bar in Carmel Valley and Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill in Monterey will each donate 10 percent. The Big Sur River Inn will hold a forager-themed brunch, also donating a percentage of profits to the event.
  • A vendor’s market will take place following the Fungus Face Off Saturday, January 14th from 1-4 p.m. Meet the local artisans during the Face Off, then shop at the market from 4-5:30 p.m. Each vendor-partner will donate a portion of their sales to the Big Sur Health Center.
    Participants include:

    • Carmel Honey Company: Jake Reisdorf’s fifth-grade report on bees developed into a successful business model with a non-profit component. Meet young Jake and his mom Becky as they detail the wonders of honeybees.
    • The Quail and Olive: Board-certified cardiologist Dr. Stephen Brabeck long recognized the health benefits of olive oil so he started a successful local business centered around a California olive oil experience.
    • Salt Roots Soap Company: Meet Stephanie Wise, who started this unique artisan company with her friend Shani Fridrich. Their soaps are handmade in small batches, which creates unique beauty in the variations of design, texture and color.
    • Big Sur Sea Salt: Anna Linden runs this new startup, taking advantage of the natural bounty that comes from pristine seawater along the Big Sur Coast.
    • Additional partners including Percy’s Pies, Big Sur Driftwood, Bellflower Art and Moss Botanicals!

Join us for a special evening at Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Executive chef Chad Minton and the culinary team will create a three-course meal paired with wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard. The evening will begin with a reception of passed appetizers, wines from Bonny Doon and live music from Dino Vera from 6:30–7 p.m. At 7 p.m. enjoy a three-course dinner in the legendary wine room. Meet the culinary team and representatives from Bonny Doon Vineyard! There are only 24 seats available. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased through

River Inn is donating a percentage of all sales from Friday night dinner, Saturday and Sunday breakfasts to the Big Sur Health Center!

Back by Popular Demand:

  • An exclusive Friday night dinner at Sierra Mar restaurant at Post Ranch Inn with a special menu and a unique opportunity to enjoy wines from their award-winning wine cellar. This event is limited to 14 people.
  •  The “Fungus Face-Off” will take place in a beautiful tented setting on the Pete Dye-designed golf course at Carmel Valley Ranch. This popular event sells out early. There are 250 available tickets, priced at $65 per person.

Stay tuned for more details coming soon. For event details and venue information, visit or follow on Facebook at

To see what happened at the 2016 event

Click here for the Roundup…