A wonderful week of food and drinks concluded on Sunday as SF Chefs 2012 wrapped up an amazing five days. Here’s an overview of events in the latter half of the week.

Steam, Fried and Shanghai’d After Party: E&O Asian Kitchen hosted the first after party following Friday’s Grand Tasting in Union Square. The beautifully redesigned restaurant featured small, late night bites from chefs Arnold Eric Wong and Sharon Nahm and cocktails from Carlos Yturria. The highlight every year: Chef Hubert Keller taking to the 1’s and 2’s, spinning music for partygoers throughout the night.

DJ Hubert Keller

Test Your Wine Knowledge: I will be honest. As great as the tastings and parties were, the classes and demos were real hits in my mind. For me, perhaps the most enlightening was the blind wine tasting presented by Wine Spectator. Sommeliers Christie Dufault (Culinary Institute of America), Jessie Becker (Périphérique Wine Merchants) and Nico Sciackitano (A16) took guests through a blind tasting of six wines, thoroughly describing the process they go through when doing blind tastings. It was amazing to see and hear everything they saw, smelled and tasted. And many in the audience were just as knowledgeable! As a fairly uneducated wine drinker, I was thoroughly impressed.

Blind Wine Tasting

Saturday Night Grand Tasting: Saturday’s tasting was just as amazing as Friday’s. Walking through the tent, it was amazing to see all the restaurants, chefs, bartenders and hungry guests. More delicious food, wonderful drinks and great company. I think Saturday night’s event was really the first time I saw everyone let their hair down; plenty of people were dancing, plenty of booze was flowing and everyone seemed to be having a really great time. Lots of great dishes too.

Bites from Betelnut

Prime Your Palate: Libation expert Camper English and bar stars Neyah White and Brooke Arthur took guests through a tour of apertifs before the Sunday Grand Tasting event. Apertifs are normally cocktails that are lighter in terms of alcohol content, mainly consumed before a meal. On the menu: a Sparkling Chrysanthemum, Negroni Sbagliato and Japanese Whisky Highball. I know they weren’t particularly strong but at 11:00 in the morning and after the long week, they were an eye-opener. But really good too.

SF Chefs is an amazing event and I feel so very fortunate to have covered so many different classes, demos and tastings. Special kudos to the amazing staffs with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and Andrew Freeman & Co. I know that the work began a long time ago but it culminated over the past week with an amazing event that went off flawlessly. Staff was at each class and demo, helping guests with any questions they may have had. I am exhausted and I can only imagine how they feel on Monday. It was truly a magnificent effort by everyone involved.

In terms of next year, I asked Rob Black from the GGRA and Andrew Freeman from AFCO before the event. They expect more collaborative dinners, maybe even running year-round. They also said there could be a small group of chefs that travel around the country promoting the event. I know that they are already brainstorming ideas and preparing for next year’s event, but it will certainly be hard to top 2012 SF Chefs!!