The countdown is on for San Francisco’s premier food and drink festival that attracts thousands of gourmands from around the country each year. Now entering into its 10th year, Eat Drink SF is set to take place this Friday – Sunday, August 24 – 26 at Fort Mason, its event home since relocating from Union Square in 2014.
If you are a fan of the event such as myself, you’ll remember its humble beginnings in 2009 as it was called SF Chefs and took over Union Square with big white tents, colorful lights and music. Seminars and demos were held across the street at the Westin St. Francis hotel and because it was a place to be seen, most of us were hoping that the weather would cooperate with our outfits, keeping the arrival of the fog and therefore chilling breezes at bay. The festival’s growth over the years has proven that San Francisco is truly one of the country’s top food meccas attracting diverse talent and leading the way for so many of today’s industry and food trends.
The goal of Eat Drink SF is simple; to show the best of the best under one roof for three delicious days. It is the best opportunity to sample the offerings of your favorite restaurants as well as those still pending on your list or just new on our taste buds’ radar altogether.
“We really try to find a diverse range of people, gender, cuisines to present,” says Gwyneth Borden who spearheads Eat Drink SF and is the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Borden notes that diversity is important when it comes to bringing talented chefs and restaurants together for the four grand tastings as well as the cooking demonstrations and industry discussions. There is a targeted effort to involve a diverse range of tastemakers who make San Francisco’s food scene what it is today.
If you haven’t grabbed your tickets for this weekend’s activities, I have to ask, “What are you waiting for?” Borden’s preview of this year’s event is not only a testament to all of the hard work that goes into pulling this off, but to the creativity that makes Eat Drink SF an unforgettable experience. There will be some familiar chef faces and a lot of great new ones. Some of my favorite event alums include David Lawrence (1300 Fillmore and Black Bark BBQ, both now closed) and Nelson German of alaMar Kitchen & Bar.
The first grand tasting starts Friday night and is noted as a foodie’s paradise with one-of-a-kind food experiences to include unlimited pours of more than 70 different beers, wine and cocktails. Repeat it all over again or join the fun on Saturday for grand tastings in the afternoon and evening while playing lawn games or hanging out in the Backyard Bites zone. Afternoon programming includes a participatory demo with Marker’s Mark where you get to choose the ingredients in a featured cocktail, a talk mini “Top Chef” reunion with three chefs from season 15 and learning the secrets of tossing pizza dough like a pro with World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani.
Sunday, don’t miss the chance to see San Francisco’s newly elected Mayor, London Breed, take the stage with her favorite restaurant State Bird Provision as they wrap up the afternoon and bring Eat Drink SF to a close.