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Evan Klein
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival





Southern California’s Largest Wine & Food Festival Awarded Over $50,000 in Cash & Prizes to the Festival’s Top Chefs

San Diego, CA  (Nov. 30, 2009) – Foodies and wine lovers from all over the country headed down to San Diego’s Big Bay to watch the action-packed “Chef of the Fest” Competition that took place at 6th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Culinary masters and up-and-coming chefs participating in the Grand Tasting Event prepared gourmet cuisine in hopes of winning $50,000 in cash and prizes and the title of “Chef of the Fest,” said Michelle Metter, the Festival’s co-producer.

“Each and every year the level of culinary talent, creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into each dish prepared by the chefs gets better and better” added Metter. “The ‘Chef of the Fest’ Competition sheds light on some true culinary innovation taking place in San Diego, and gives food-loving attendees the chance to sample from the city’s best chefs. It really is exciting to see and taste what each chef prepares in their quest to be named the ‘Chef of the Fest.’”

With the judging expertise of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), led by the San Diego Chapter president, Chef William Ramsey, along with a tiered judging process, a field of 40 chefs was narrowed down to a group of 10 finalists and five category winners. The results for the 2009 “Chef of the Fest” Competition is as follows:

1st Place Grand Prize Winner of the 2009 “Chef of the Fest” Competition: Chef Anthony Sinsay of Harney Sushi took home first place, top honors for his “Textures of Kabocha” - Sou Vide Kabocha with Kabocha Puff, Kabocha Panna Cotta, Carbonated Citrus and “malty” truffle air

2nd Place Winner: Chef Paul McCabe of Kitchen 1540 for his Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly, BBQ Consommé, Organic Root Vegetable Salad and Pickled Mustard Vinaigrette

3rd Place Winner: Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra Restaurant & Catering for his Shrimp Mojito with Avocado Wasabi Sorbet

4th Place Winner: Chef Eric Sarkisian of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse for his Scallops and Oysters Cortez with Chipotle Burre Blanc, Avocado Pico de Gallo, Cotija Cheese and Micro Cilantro

5th Place Winner: Chef Eric Bauer of Anthology for his House Ground Braised Duck Ragout with Parisienne Style Herb Gnocchi and Parmigiano Reggiano Broth.


  • Chef Andrew Knudtson of House of Blues for his Deep Seared Hand Garvested Diver Scallop with a Ying Yang Duo of Forbidden and Bamboo Rice, Sesame Walaami Salad, Yellow Curried Coconut Broth, Garlic Flower and Red Pepper Diamonds.
  • Chef Adam Bussell of Vela Restaurant for his Coriander Crusted Ahi Tuna with Pickled Watermelon, Heirloom Tomato and Arugula
  • Chef Ralph Rubio of Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill with his Grilled Gourmet Taco with Garlic Herb Shrimp
  • Chef Anthony Calamari with Sé San Diego for his Citrus Cured Scallops with Edamame Pureé and Shitake Mushrooms
  • Chef Sean Langlais with The Oceanaire for his Seared Ahi Tuna with Japanese 7 Spice served with a Seaweed and Cucumber Salad with Miso Dressing and Soy Reduction

Raw Category Winner: Chef Anthony Sinsay

Meat Category Winner: Chef Paul McCabe

Poultry Category Winner: Chef Eric Bauer

Fish Category Winner: Chef Anthony Calamari

Dessert Category Winner:  Chef Jonathan Hale of Blue Point Coastal Cuisine for his “Not-your-everyday ‘Fish Taco”: Sweet Tortilla, Tempura Fried Cream Cheese, Strawberry Mint Salsa and Caramel Queso Fresco

“The panel of 20 judges had a very difficult time narrowing down the chefs to just a top 10, let alone pick out a winner,” said Head Judge Chef William Ramsey. “The chefs this year really came prepared with top notch cuisine that showcased the best in innovative, fresh and creative cooking in San Diego. The ACF/CCSD would like to congratulate Chef Sinsay for his wonderful dish that highlighted the perfect balance of flavor and culinary innovation.”

The 10 finalists and category winners were chosen by a panel of judges who graded each restaurant with a point system including scores for presentation, flavor, innovation, quality of product, and preparation in the allotted time. 

“Chef of the Fest” Judges included:

  • Chef William Ramsey, CEC, CCA – President of the ACF, San Diego Chapter
  • Chef Gary Thompson, CEC – Executive Chef, Viejas Casino
  • Chef Dustin Homen, CEC – Chef De Cuisine, Barona Resort & Casino
  • Chef Katherine Emmenegger, Executive Chef, Great News Cooking School
  • Chef Urs Emmenegger, CEC, AAC, Executive Chef
  • Chef Kurt Waefler – Chef Instructor, San Diego Culinary Institute
  • Chef Mark Blaauboer, CEC- The Art Institute of California- San Diego  
  • Chef Alex Dirolf, CEC - The Art Institute of California- San Diego  
  • Chef Tina Luu - The Art Institute of California- San Diego  
  • Chef Mark Sullivan, CCA- The Art Institute of California- San Diego
  • Chef Ed Glebus, CEC – Executive Chef, Qualcomm The Art Institute of California- San Diego
  • Chef John Miller, CEC- The Art Institute of California- San Diego
  • Chef Daniel Joly - Mirabelle at Beaver Creek, Executive Chef
  • Chef Morat Day – The Art Institute of California – San Diego
  • Chef Billy Strynkowski - Cooking Light Magazine, Executive Chef  
  • Chef Kenny Gilbert – Capella, Telluride
  • Chef Thierry Rautureau – Chef/Owner of Rover's  
  • Ira Falk -  Bailli of SD Chaine des Rotisseurs
  • Chef Suzette Gresham – Chef/Owner of Acquerello
  • Chef Brian Malarkey – Reality Chef Superstar (Bravo’s Top Chef)

“The level of culinary excellence was astonishing for all of the judges this year,” added Ramsey. “We were delighted by the amount of time and effort some of these chefs put into creating wonderfully prepared cuisine that really made you wanting to come back for more.”

The winner of the “Chef of the Fest” walked away with nearly $50,000 in cash and prizes this year. For his 1st Place Win, Chef Sinsay will receive a prize package including the following:

  • $2,500 Cash
  • Invitation back as a headliner at the 2010 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival with his own cooking class and featured as “2009 ‘Chef of the Fest’ Competition Winner”
  • Las Vegas vacation package with round trip airfare for two, a stay at the Wynn Las Vegas, and dinner for two at BARTOLOTTA, Ristorante di Mare, and ALEX
  • Friedr. Dick Corp. 8” Chef’s Knife
  • A 36” Professional Range donated by U.S. Foodservice
  • In print promotion in Cooking Light Magazine, as well as winning recipe, headshot and bio on Cooking Light’s website
  • Full-page Buzz Advertorial featuring both chef and restaurant in San Diego Magazine
  • Feature in Chef’s Spotlight in Dining Out Magazine
  • Half-page feature in Culinary Trends Magazine, highlighting the winning dish and recipe
  • Tommy Bahama Rum Gift Basket
  • Inclusion in Chef Works catalog photo shoot
  • General Cigar company Club Macanudo Ashtray and one box of 25 Punch Cigars
  • Coffee Ambassador Gift Basket
  • Chesapeake Fish Company “Seafood Party”
  • The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years

The second place winner receives a stay for two at The W Hotel with Spa Package, a feature in Culinary Trends Magazine and a Sub Zero/Wolf Free Standing Wine Storage unit. Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth place winners also receive a cash reward, knives by Friedrick Dick Knives, cigars from General Cigar Company, The Macallan Fine Oak 15 years and Tommy Bahama Rum Gift Baskets.


The 6th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods. Held November 18-22, 2009, the event benefits the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship program. Over 800 wines, 70 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies and exhibitors will participate in the 2009 Festival. For more information visit

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival was sponsored by Cooking Light Magazine, Cost Plus World Market, San Diego Tourism and Promotion Corporation, COX Communications, Viejas Enterprises, Union Bank, W San Diego, San Diego Magazine, San Pellegrino, Unified Port of San Diego, Marriott San Diego Hotel & Marina, U.S. Foodservice, Sadie Rose Baking Company, Macy’s, Acqua Panna, Leffe, Imbibe Magazine, Dining Out Magazine, American Culinary Federation, Hoegaarden, Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour, Vine Times, Wine Steals, Westfield Horton Plaza, Stella Artois, Graham Downes Architecture, Subzero Wolf, San Diego Wine & Culinary Center, Susan Rice Truffle Products, Classic Party Rentals, Black Box Wines, Alanas Marketing & Creative, Gayot, Just My Ticket, Taste of Wine TV, Chef Works, Chesapeake Fish Co, Inc., Fleming’s, Coffee Ambassador,, Dick Knives, Quarterly Review of Wines, Tommy Bahama Rum, Wine & Jazz, KerryGold, The Macallan.



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