Pebble Beach Food & Wine: Death Threats and Raw Lamb Heart


It turns out that this wining and dining is exhausting. Though the official start time of today's festivities was 10 a.m., things have been running on PBST (Pebble Beach Standard Time), no doubt owing to the quantity of food and wine being consumed. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the generous Acqua Panna, San Pellegrino and Driscoll berry sponsorship—not because it's so fabulous (though I do like having access to iced sparkling water wherever I go), but because it's like an episode of Top Chef—so blatant as to be funny. This morning, as I waited in line for the Thomas Keller demo, women in green dresses proferred up baskets of berries, asking each attendee, "Would you like to start your day with a Driscoll berry?" Um, no. Instead, I hit up the Illy espresso kiosk. God bless you, Illy.

But let's go back to last night. I finally found Chris Cosentino after walking in circles for a while. You have to respect our hometown boy: where other chefs were playing it safe with tequila-marinated shrimp and butterscotch pudding (yes, that one, from Osteria Mozza, Nancy Silverton presiding) Chris was serving up lamb heart tartare with paper-thin crostini flavored with lamb fat. On Chris' mind: PETA convincing Gavin Newsom to pull foie gras from the menus of all Plumpjack restaurants. Chris says he's now receiving death threats daily for serving the fattened liver, along with such a quantity of emails that his computer is literally shutting down. He does not plan to take this siege lying down (for background, read this smart letter by the owner of Incanto, Mark Pastore). Together with Rick Tramonto (who had to deal with a similar foie gras situation in Chicago) and Michael Ginor (a chef and owner of Hudson Valley Foie Gras) he plans to wage an attack against PETA and the rest of the activists. Says Chris, "I am going to bury them."

Whoa! A little drama here at Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Chris invited me to the afterparty, but I declined, citing my early morning with Mr. Keller. But tonight? Chris, I'll be there. I mean, what if there's some sort of showdown?

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