AUTHOR, RESTAURATEUR AND EXECUTIVE CHEF RICK BAYLESS HOSTS SAN DIEGO BAY WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL’S OPENING NIGHT FEAST ON NOVEMBER 16TH
Southern California’s largest food and wine classic returns to San Diego November 16-22 for its 12th season! Today we'll provides a sneak peak into the season’s most anticipated food and wine event, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. Listeners receive an exclusive preview of this year’s epic opening night feast, and get to know headlining Festival chef, restauranteur and author, Rick Bayless.
ABOUT CHEF RICK BAYLESS
Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated Public Television Series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time, is in its ninth season and is broadcast coast to coast. In 2012, Rick was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Best Culinary Host.
Rick has eight cookbooks. His second book, Mexican Kitchen, won the Julia Child IACP cookbook of the year award in 1996, and his fourth book, Mexico–One Plate at a Time won James Beard Best International Cookbook of the Year award in 2001. Fiesta at Rick’s spent a number of weeks on the New York Times best seller list.
Rick’s side by side award-winning restaurants are in Chicago. The casual Frontera Grill was founded in 1987 and received the James Beard Foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, in 2007. The 4-star Toplobampo served its first meals in 1991. And the wildly popular, LEED GOLD-certified, fast-casual Xoco has been around since 2009, serving wood-oven tortas, steaming caldos, golden churros and bean-to-cup Mexican hot chocolate. Rick’s quick-service Tortas Frontera have changed the face of food service at O’Hare International Airport, while Frontera Fresco has brought Frontera flavors to several Macy’s stores and Northwestern University. His award-winning Frontera line of salsas, cooking sauces and organic chips can be found coast to coast.
Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. Each year, grants are awarded to farmers for capital improvements to their family farms, encouraging greater production and profitability. To date, the Foundation has awarded 128 grants totaling over $1.3 million. In 2007, Bayless and his team launched the Frontera Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship that sends a Mexican-American Chicago Public School student to Kendall College to study culinary arts. In 2007 Rick was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his many philanthropic endeavors.
Rick has received a great number of James Beard Award nominations in many categories, and he has won six: Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who of American Food and Drink, plus two for his cookbooks.
The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.
Recently, Rick finished up a sold-out 5-week run on stage at Lookingglass Theatre, where he created Cascabel–offering theater goers the story of a meal, told through flavor, memory, song, dance and amazing physical feats.
JANINE AND ALAN TIBBETTS - OWNER/WINEMAKER, RANCHO DE PHILO PREMIUM TRIPLE CREAM SHERRY
Smooth, sweet and aged to perfection, triple cream sherry is the dessert wine’s dessert. Making it right takes time and it’s the quintessential consumable that proves the adage that some things only get better with age. Sherry never goes bad. Alta Loma winery Rancho de Philo has been creating award-winning sherry for more than 50 years.
Rancho de Philo was founded in 1974 by Philo Biane, former president and CEO of Brookside Vineyard Co. The fifth-generation wine maker developed Brookside’s table and dessert wines and later started Rancho de Philo’s sherry line in 1962. When Biane died in 1999, his daughter, Janine Tibbets and her husband, Alan, took over the winery.
Rancho de Philo creates its sherry with the Mission grape using the solera system, a Spain tradition of blending differently aged liquids. Grapes are crushed by Mira Loma’s Galleano Winery and the juice is allowed to ferment until it reaches 16 percent alcohol. Grape brandy is then added to kill the yeast and stop fermentation. Once delivered to Rancho de Philo, the wine is stored in an insulated tank with the temperature set at 120 degrees and allowed to bake for several months.
“I check it every couple of weeks and when the wine starts to turn brown and gets hazy that’s the beginning of the sherry creation,” Janine Tibbets said.
At that point, however, it’s still far from ready. The newborn libation will age between seven and 12 years. Labeled by year, it’s first kept in 150-gallon barrels, most more than 100 years old. After seven years the wine is introduced into the main “soleras,” or 50-gallon barrels, as needed before they are blended with older wines. From year to year, in a long, meticulous process, two-thirds of the sherry is blended from barrel to barrel, until each production is a blend of sherry aged 12 to 50 years when bottled. Each bottle is 18.5 percent alcohol and 13.5 percent sugar. Cream sherry is a bit on the pricey side because of the long process and the 30 percent evaporation it suffers between the grapes being crushed and the baking period. The 2013 blend, which is available in limited supply is $36.95, almost $9 more than the 2014.
The 2013 sherry blend has won five International Wine Competitions including Double Gold, New World; Gold, Pacific Rim; Gold and Best in Class, Orange County, Chairman’s Award and Platinum, San Diego. Each year, the winery produces 4,000 bottles available for sale to the public. Samples are available and encouraged. Also available are sherry glasses, bottle stoppers, trivets and pomegranate jelly. But Rancho de Philo is not a money-making venture, the Tibbets said. It’s about family, tradition and doing something worth doing because it’s done well.