By Antoinette Allison

Spring was definitely in the air March 29 when MPINCC
celebrated the fourth anniversary of Corks & Forks, and for
the first time we had a theme – A Culinary Art Experience.
This year the event was held at Gallery 308 at Fort Mason
Center for Arts & Culture. Jensen Architects, the creators of
SFMOMA’s acclaimed rooftop garden, have taken extreme
care to rehabilitate the gallery to its original aesthetic. The
space played a role as the passport to a flavorful culinary and
wine experience. Before the networking portion, Ali Bouzari,
culinary scientist, well-known chef and author, gave a lecture
about Flavor Innovation and Creativity.

Corks & Forks has become one of the chapter’s most popular
events. Nearly 300 guests from all over the Bay Area came
to Fort Mason with a mission to experience some incredible
wine paired with culinary finesse by North Bay chefs. With
a picturesque venue and extraordinary food and wine, what
better arena to network and enjoy oneself.

Ten of the Bay Area’s top caterers and executive chefs were
partnered with award-winning wineries to pair their food
with the perfect varietal. Each was put to the test of creating
harmony between wine and food. Guests were able to taste
delectable bites paired perfectly with wine and then asked to
choose their favorite team.

This year’s catering contestants were Atelier Fine Foods
& Catering, Elaine Bell Catering, Feast Catering, Fraiche
Catering, Global Gourmet Catering, La Bonne Cuisine Catering
& Events, Ramekins Catering, St. Francis, Straw SF, and
Treasury Wine Estates. The participating wineries were Buena
Vista Winery, Chimney Rock Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves &
Vineyards, MacPhail Wines, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards,
Rutherford Hill Winery, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, St. Francis
Winery, Sterling Vineyards, and William Hill Estate Winery.

For the second year in a row, Global Gourmet Catering was
awarded first place. They created braised beef short rib with
spring peas, pioppini mushrooms, and opal basil piperade
sauce paired with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2015 Artemis
Cabernet Sauvignon. Scott Fairbanks, senior account executive
and creative director, described their vision. “MPINCC’s Corks
& Forks event presented an interesting challenge – to pair food
and wine under the creative umbrella of ‘The Art of Food.’
In presenting our entry, we chose the magical inspiration
of Jackson Pollack, presented with an urban street art vibe.
To accomplish this, our chefs ‘painted’ a culinary canvas as
guests watched, took photos and, ultimately, partook in the
edible canvas.”

Not to be out done, Feast Catering came in second place
delivering some mouth-watering lobster mac and cheese
lollipops paired with Gloria Ferrer’s Sonoma Brut Sparkling. It
was a close competition with third place going to Fraiche with
their spring citrus scallop crudo paired with William Hill’s
2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The best design award was
awarded to Fraiche for their adaptation of spring.
Guests with winning raffle numbers had a fun opportunity
to randomly pick a disguised bottle of wine off the riddling
rack. Rose Stanton from Wine Country Destinations sponsored
the Riddling Rack Raffle and secured the wine from Napa and
Sonoma partners.

Thanks to NYC & Company for sponsoring the education
and the event. We also could not have done it without our other
invaluable sponsors: Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture,
Denon & Doyle Entertainment, Verducci Event Production,
Orange Photography, Mosaic Global Transportation, La Tavola,
and Hensley Event Resources. What a fun event!