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Food, music, art and fabulous beverages will converge at the Encinitas Foodie Fest. Photo courtesy Jolee Pink
Community Community Encinitas Lick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Encinitas Foodie Fest to highlight the best of the North County culinary scene

With the explosion of all things culinary in North County, an event like the Encinitas Foodie Fest makes sense on so many levels. It’s a great opportunity to sample and meet the best culinary talent driving the food and beverage scene in the area.

Jolee Pink from Wabisabi Green and the team from Delicious Buzz are producing the event and have an amazing day in store May 21. We discussed the event recently with Pink on what will make the second annual fest stand out.

You have your fingers on the pulse of the San Diego foodie scene, have you always had an interest in all things culinary?

My background is in art and graphic design. My colorful ceramic sculpture is on permanent display at Rady Children’s Hospital. After remodeling my home in 2007 and receiving national media recognition, I launched an eco-friendly textile line of throw pillows and table linens. In 2013, Chefs Press published my cookbook/art book called “Living Coastal: Entertaining, Cooking and Decorating California Style.” The book focuses on sustainable seafood and features 18 different local chefs and artists inspired by the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Now my focus is on creative food/travel writing, ceramic sculpture and Foodie Fest.

The event is being held in Encinitas, which has become somewhat of a hub of the North County dining scene and is a perfect location to host an event like this. What went into the decision to locate the event in Encinitas?

I feel that the North County culinary scene is underrated and ignored by the mainstream food press. The Oceanside dining scene, in particular, is exploding with the introduction of new restaurants and microbreweries. I recently moved from Encinitas to Oceanside, and as a North County resident and food writer, I want to collaborate with the community-oriented The Coast News to see that the extraordinary, booming culinary talent of North County receives the recognition that it deserves.

This year you are celebrating sustainability. Are the chefs required or encouraged to utilize sustainable ingredients in their offerings? 

Absolutely! As the author of “Living Coastal,” promoting awareness of sustainable food and growing methods is extremely important to me. I hand picked chefs that are on the forefront of the farm-to-table trend such as John D. Miller of Bistro West, Samantha Parker of the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, Daniel Pundik of Local Tap House, Stephen Reyna of The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub. For example, Chef John Gonzales of Bottaro Wood Fired Pizza buys produce at the farmers market in the morning to use in the pizzas that he prepares the same day. And, I’ve asked all food vendors to use alternative materials made from renewable resources that are biodegradable and compostable for plates, utensils, cups and napkins.

Speaking of chefs, you have a stellar lineup of them this year, which is very exciting. Can you share with readers who will be cooking?

I am so excited about the incredible group of North County culinary talent at this year’s Foodie Fest. Top notch chefs and artisanal food purveyors represented at the Nosh North County gourmet food tasting are Angel’s Salumi & Truffles LLC., Barrel Republic Oceanside, Bistro West, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, Bottaro Wood Fired Pizza, Brothers Provisions, Chandler’s Carlsbad, Cheryl’s Caramels, The Cork and Craft, FishBone Kitchen, Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, Frazier Farms Market, Gourmet Culinary, Green Dragon Tavern & Museum, Jake’s Del Mar, Living Tea Brewing Company, Local Tap House & Kitchen, Masters Kitchen and Cocktail, Mission Ave Bar and Grill, Moto Deli, Nibble Chocolate, Panca Peruvian Rotisserie, Priority Public House, The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Q’ero Restaurant, Real Bar & Bistro, Sadie Rose Baking Company, So Rich Chocolates, Tasting Room Del Mar and the Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub.

Besides sampling great food from amazing chefs, what else can Foodie Fest attendees expect this year?

Three stages will feature farm-to-table demonstrations and the fourth a TV-style chef competition sponsored by Bistro West, FishBone Kitchen, Gourmet Culinary and Hamilton Meats and Provisions. Chef’s Roll is covering the competition. One dozen local companies are participating in the Barefoot Bar beer, wine and spirit garden with food pairings in the bar area. Attendees will enjoy live music by Jimmy & Enrique, Perfect Strangers Music, Ben Powell, West County and XANDRA. There will also be a reception for the Art for a Cure Exhibit benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation across the street at the E101 Gallery. The festival brings the best of North County San Diego’s culinary, musical and artistic talent together to provide a multi-sensory experience for all who attend. The full schedule of events and entertainment can be found here

There are a couple of events leading up to the Foodie Fest this year that look fun also, what do you have on tap for the pre-event festivities this time around?

First up, there’s the VIP Foodie Fest Encinitas Media Party May 12 at the Oceanside Museum of Art. The Fab Lushes Band are performing, there will be a Popup Art for the Cure Exhibit benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with delicious tastings from many of the participating restaurants.  Also May 20, Coral Tree Farm in Encinitas will host the VIP Sponsor Appreciation Dinner under the stars. The Barnwell Shift Band will perform and Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar will emcee a live auction.

Tickets are available online at at the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association Office and at Bamboo 2 U & Beach House Too in Leucadia.

David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at [email protected] or (858) 395-6905.