This year’s Masters of Taste – the weather could not have been more perfect, past years it was hot, but this year a nice breeze blew through with temperatures only at 69, just gorgeous, to match with all of this lovely food by various new and proven restaurants. What a glorious day!
Celebrating the sixth annual Masters of Taste, as L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival returned and took place on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the Iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl. 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a non-profit organization celebrating 50 years of providing homeless services and housing for thousands of neighbors.
Masters of Taste is introducing Chef Michael Reed and Kwini Reed as Hosts of Masters of Taste 2023 which also marks the 6th Anniversary of this celebrated event. Masters of Taste 2023 Culinary Master and Host Chef Michael Reed is a classically trained chef and restaurateur, who has spent 19 years as a chef for restaurants across New York and Los Angeles. Today, Chef Reed is the co-owner and Executive Chef behind two Los Angeles restaurants, Poppy + Rose of Downtown Los Angeles, and Anaheim’s Poppy & Seed. In addition to the two concepts, Chef Reed and his wife and co-owner, Kiini Reed also run an upscale catering company, Root of All Food.
Masters of Taste is benefitting the Union Station Homeless Services’, they get 100 percent of the proceeds, their mission is guided by the belief that everyone deserves a life of dignity and a place to call home. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary. In the last five years Masters of Taste has raised over $2.7 Million in support of Union Station Homeless Services life-saving programs. They recently expanding into El Sereno and Eagle Rock, Union Station Homeless Services.
Some of this year’s Masters of Taste 2023 participating Culinary Masters and Restaurants include:
Poppy + Rose and Poppy & Seed 2023 Hosts Chef Michael Reed & Kwini Reed – Downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim.
Angelenos’ Wood Fired Pizza Chef Carmen Samaniego – Los Angeles.
Arth Bar + Kitchen Chef Mihir Lad – Culver City.
Ayara Thai Chef Vanda Asapahu – Westchester.
1212 Santa Monica Chef Luca Maita – Santa Monica.
Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery Chef Thomas Kalb – Pasadena.
Alexander’s Steakhouse Chef Richard Archuleta – Pasadena.
Casa Cordoba Chef Rebelino Villalta – Montrose.
Celestino Ristorante Chef Calogero Drago – Pasadena.
Champion’s CURRY Chef Yoya Takahashi – Downtown Los Angeles.
Chili John’s Chef Stephen Hager – Burbank.
City Club Los Angeles Chef Victor Munoz – Downtown Los Angeles.
Fat Boys Chef Michael Gray – Pasadena, Los Angeles.
Gabi James Sarah Gabriele & Adam Aro – Redondo Beach.
Georgia’s Restaurant Nika Shoemaker-Machado – Anaheim, Long Beach.
Great Maple Chef Scott Floyd – Pasadena, Anaheim, Newport Beach, San Diego.
Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken – Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles.
Hank’s Chef Isaias Peña – Pacific Palisades.
Interstellar Chef Angie Kim – Santa Monica.
La Bohéme Chef Atsushi Kenjo – West Hollywood.
Lunasia Chef Lee Han Fu – Pasadena, Alhambra, Cerritos.
Marlou Chef Louis Huh & Chef Marcos Spaziani – Downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown.
Mercado Chef Jose Acevedo – Hollywood, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica.
Per L’Ora Chef Courtney Van Dyke – Downtown Los Angeles.
Pez Cantina Chef Bret Thompson – Downtown Los Angeles.
Ramen Tatsunoya Chef Ryuta Kajiwara – Pasadena, Silver Lake.
Santuari Restaurant Chef Seth Greenburg – Toluca Lake.
Smoke City Char Bar Chef George Huynh – Downtown Los Angeles.
Soulmate Chef David Joyce – West Hollywood.
Taishi Hainan Chicken Chef Theo Shio – Redondo Beach, Long Beach.
The Green Room Chef Czarina Sico – Burbank.
The Peppered Goat Chef JohnPaul Arabome – Van Nuys, Las Vegas.
VCHOS Wendy Centeno – Los Angeles.
West Side Banh Mi/Street Kitchen Chef Jack Ourfalian – Los Angeles.
World Empanadas Chef Matthew Hirtz – Burbank.
Yardbird Chef Eduardo Osorio – Los Angeles.
Yuca’s Restaurant Socorro “Mama Yuca’s” Herrera – Pasadena.
Sweet Masters: Bertha Mae’s Brownies, handcrafted pudding from Better Together Sweets, Creamy Boys Ice Cream, plain funnel cake from Drizzle, custom cakes and desserts from Butter Cake Shoppe, French macarons and gourmet cookies from Etoile Filante Patisserie, I Like Pie Bakeshop, Läderach Chocolatier Suisse, deliciously scrumptious scratch baked custom cakes and cupcakes from Lark Cake Shop and Nothing Bundt Cakes, Nomad Ice Pops, Pazzo Gelato, and the very famous, Porto’s Bakery & Café.
Beverage Masters include:
Bars & Spirits: Some of L.A.’s top bartenders and cocktail bars will be creating first-rate craft cocktails and top brands showcasing their finest spirits at Masters of Taste will include Amaro Angeleno, Beam Suntory, Dulce Vida Tequila, Empress 1908 Gin, Knox & Dobson, Krafted Spirits, Maker’s Mark, Maple Block Liquor Bar, Mario’s Hard Espresso, Mezcal 33, Mi Piace, Neft Vodka, Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal, Qué Padre, Raicilla La Reina, Smoke Lab Vodka, Tequila Juegos Mexicanos, The Raymond 1886, Xoloitzcuintle Tequila, and Woodford Reserve.
Brewmasters: Beverage Masters who specialize in barley and hops will be presenting top-notch ales, lagers, pilsners and more for guests to sample, sip and savor all throughout the event, including Southern California favorites 14 Cannons Brewing Co., L.A.’s All Season Brewing, Arrow Lodge Brewing, Arts District Brewing Company, Pasadena’s Cerveceria Del Pueblo, Downtown’s Homebound Brew Haus, Juneshine, Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Beer, LFG Seltzer, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Arcadia’s first Microbrewery Mt. Lowe Brewing Co., Native Son LA, Over Town Brewing Co., San Fernando Brewing Co., and Tarantula Hill Brewing Co.
Wineries and Sake: A specially curated collection of Wine and Sake Masters will be showcasing their finest varietals including Akagisan Sake, premium boutique winery Ascension Cellars, Bodegas de Santo Tomas, CRŪ Winery, Golden Star Vineyards, Hitching Post Wines, I Love Wine Collections, Moraga Bel Air Vineyards, Anderson Valley’s Navarro Vineyards, Sake High!, Tercero Wines, Veso Aperitifs, Vincola Casta de Vinos, and Warson Wine Company.
Non-Alcoholic Beverages: A variety of premium non-alcoholic Beverage Masters will also be on hand for those who wish to hydrate, caffeinate or regenerate with All Phenoms, Yerba Mate from Erva Brew Co., Humm Kombucha, fresh juices from Summit Juice Co., and boba milk tea from Sunright Tea Studio and Bearology.
There were so many stand-out dishes that it is hard for me to pick any, but here are a few. Celestino did a tri-color risotto, sweet pea, Alfredo, and beet risotto, so delicious, of course one of my favorites. I get why Gus’s fried chicken is so delectable, its super-hot and crispy on the outside with scrumptious tender tasty chicken on the inside. Alexander’s Steakhouse had a super succulent and tender slow cooked short ribs, just amazing. Maple block made their super tempting chicken wings with fries, their presentation is what sets them apart, by cooking massive amount of chicken on a rotisserie-type rack. Really fantastic. Santuari made a creamy ceviche with a fried plantain, it was simple but super fresh. Soulmates had a salmon carpaccio that was fresh and succulent, out of this world. Ayari Thai made a Khao Gee Koi Salmon, that was just a little mound of heaven. Georgia’s shrimp and grits with an adorable tiny cornbread muffin, was just straight to the point delicious. Taishi Hainan made a white rice and chicken with a standout spicy sauce. I Like Pie Bakeshop had an array of mini pies that were so pleasing to the eye. The strawberry chocolate at Mario’s was out of this world. City Club made an outstanding organic display with a poke type tostada, that was so wonderful. Casa Cordoba had a big-huge pot of paella, which was very authentic. The chili dogs at Chili Johns were impressive, dressed with onions and cheese. Hank’s did a delicious burger. The pot stickers at Ramen Tatsunoya were so tasty, another one of my favorites. Champion’s chicken curry was fragrant and delightful. The pink cookies at Butter Cake Shop were very addicting. All of the offerings were unique and different, so much fantastic food and drinks.
This event is so fantastic, a real staple in my culinary world. It has grown, with so many new establishments, no wonder each year gets better. The folks that put this on are wonderful. My contact, Lawrence Moore, is just the best food publicist, she is so sweet and caring, she really makes everyone’s experience worthwhile. All of the attendees were having the best time, no one is misbehaving and it is reflected in their demeanor. The lines get long as the day goes on, but everyone is kind and not upset with their wait. It’s really one of the best food events of the year here in Sunny Los Angeles. Next year run to buy tickets, you will not regret it.
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Masters of Taste
Pasadena Rose Bowl
1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103
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