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BEHIND THE SCENES AT A FOOD FESTIVAL

In case foodies did not realise it, meticulous preparation which rivals that of a military campaign is required to feed today’s equivalent of a loaves of bread and small fishes feast. Today being food-day-Saturday, it’s a good opportunity to peek behind the scenes.

Jeremiah Tower, that great American Leonardo, he who is equally at home discussing Blandy’s 1977 Malmsey as writing his regular Substack coverage Out of the Oven, keynoted the Pebble Beach Food and Wine. The 2024 event, 4-7 April, was the first full-monty since the pandemic.  Tower and his husband Curtis Cox flew to California from their home in Merida, obviously thus unable to bring any supplies in from Mexico.

Sponsors are key, to make such an event viable, and their power is evidenced by the fact chefs must work with products those sponsors favour (no, not that designer mezcal, sorry). The first night Curtis Cox and assistant Reagan, a trainee coast guard, shucked 1,000 oysters – they were Pacific Golds,  grown 122 miles south of Pebble Beach, and provided by sponsor Morro Bay Oyster Company, started by Neal Maloney.

The next night was a California Coastal Pacific Feast at the Beach and Tennis Club, hosted by Jeremiah Tower. Now it was a crowd-max of merely 500, who were regaled with a menu that included  Antonius Caviar (‘remarkably good’ – it gets its name from its founder, Antoni Lakomiak, and it’s still produced in Poland by his family). Teaspoonfuls of eggs landed precisely atop whipped cream on a base of a Pringle. So tasty one aficionado had five such memorable mouthfuls.

And so it went on, for four days.  Participants stayed at Casa Palmero, The Inn at Spanish Bay or The Lodge at Pebble Beach, and in the morning they were ready to continue festival-frolics – the entire event benefitted both The Roots Fund and The Pebble Beach Company Foundation, a non-profit for Montery youth.  Of course, as in any military campaign, generals need at least occasional breaks. For Jeremiah Tower and Curtis Cox, below, the ideal recovery pick-up was a simple Negroni.