MASTERS OF TASTE 2022 RETURNS APRIL 3 WITH HOST CHEF VANDA ASAPAHU
A mile marker to a return to normalcy that I’ve really been looking forward to is celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Masters of Taste--L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival that will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2022, from 3pm to 7pm on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl.
This year, Masters of Taste is introducing Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai as it’s first-ever female Host Chef. Chef Vanda has participated in Masters of Taste since the event's inception in April 2016. Asapahu went to college at UCLA and to graduate school at Yale, then she spent four years living, traveling, and working her way through Thailand before returning home to Los Angeles. During Asapahu’s stay in her native country, she took extensive notes, which included absorbing the Bangkok Street Food scene and reviving old family recipes. After cooking with relatives and eating her way through the streets and countryside, Asapahu brought back treasured old recipes and new flavors to share at Ayara Thai. While her mother, Anna Asapahu, still helms the family kitchen, Asapahu is the vanguard, taking up the torch of her family’s culinary tradition at Ayara Thai.
"I have had the pleasure of participating in Masters of Taste since its inaugural year,” Asapahu said. “As a proud UCLA alum, I’d give anything for the opportunity to cook, eat, and dance on the field of the Rose Bowl. Now I get to! The most amazing thing about Masters of Taste is that one hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services and not many food festivals can say that. Union Station Homeless Services is committed to ending homelessness in Los Angeles."
Masters of Taste 2022 will bring over 3,000 food and beverage enthusiasts together for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 100 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, top Beverage Masters who will be featuring signature handcrafted cocktail tastings from over 25 spirit brands and bars, along with select wineries, local craft breweries, cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, live entertainment and much, much more.
This year, Masters of Taste falls in April, during which Thai New Year, Songkran, is also celebrated. Chef Vanda has invited three other L.A. Thai restaurants, to participate in the Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion, a celebration spanning the Rose Bowl’s end zone. The transformation will reflect a traditional Thai sundry general store and Songkran festival. As a culinary challenge, each Thai restaurant will prepare a dish, dessert, and/or cocktail using a common paste, sahm kler (which translates to "three buddies"), and comprises white peppercorn, garlic, and cilantro root. This aromatic mixture is used in a variety of Thai dishes and is quite possibly the reason why Thai food is so special. Like sahm kler, the three buddies paste, the three other restaurants comprising the Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion are three of Chef Vanda’s personal buddies.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2022 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to providing permanent solutions to end homelessness and rebuild lives. Headquartered in Pasadena, Union Station has served the community for nearly 50 years and today it is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting homeless and very low-income adults and families.
Some of this year’s Masters of Taste 2022 participating Culinary Masters and Restaurants include:
Ayara Thai 2022 Host Chef VandaAsapahu – Westchester
786 Degrees Chef Ali Haider – Pasadena, Sun Valley
1212 Santa Monica Chef Luca Maita – Santa Monica
Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery Chef Thomas Kalb – Pasadena
Alexander’s Steakhouse Chef Richard Archuleta – Pasadena
Arth Bar + Kitchen Chef Sagar Ghosh – Culver City
Bone Kettle Chef Erwin Tjahyadi – Pasadena
Celestino Ristorante Chef Calogero Drago – Pasadena
Champion’s CURRY Chef Yoya Takahashi – Downtown, Los Angeles
Drago Centro Chef Celestino Drago – Downtown, Los Angeles
Five 55 Chef Austin Lee – Monterey Park
Gabi James Sarah Gabriele & Adam Aro – Redondo Beach
Georgia’s Restaurant Nika Shoemaker-Machado – Anaheim, Long Beach
Gracias Madre Chef Justin Haefler – West Hollywood, Newport Beach
Granville Mark Dix – Studio City, Burbank, West Hollywood, Pasadena
Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken – Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles
Hank’s Chef Isaias Peña – Pacific Palisades
Holy Basil Chef Wedchayan “Deau” Arpapornnopparat & Tongkamal “Joy” Yuon – Downtown, Los Angeles
Iron Teapot Dim Sum & Bar Sally Chan – Los Angeles
Kye’s Feel Good Food Jeanne Cheng – Santa Monica
La Bohéme Chef Atsushi Kenjo – West Hollywood
Little Llama Peruvian Tacos Chef Jean Valcarcel – Downtown, Los Angeles
Lunasia Chef Lee Han Fu – Pasadena, Alhambra, Cerritos
Luv2Eat Thai Bistro Chef Somruthai “Fern” Kaewtathip & Chef Noree “Pla” Burapapituk – Los Angeles
Mercado Chef Jose Acevedo – Hollywood, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica
Mi Piace Chef Gille Saulnier – Pasadena
Open Face Food Shop Chef Lene Houck – West Adams, Los Angeles
Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee Chef June Intrachat – West Hollywood
Pez Cantina Chef Bret Thompson – Downtown, Los Angeles
Poppy + Rose and Poppy & Seed Chef Michael Reed – Downtown, Los Angeles, Anaheim
Qué Padre Chef Isaias Peña – Pacific Palisades
Ramen Tatsunoya Chef Ryuta Kajiwara – Pasadena, Silver Lake
Ruam Mitr Kwanklao Disbanchong & Benchawan Phoungtai – Los Angeles
Santuari Chef Seth Greenberg – Toluca Lake
Stand-Up Burgers Chef Kajsa Alger – Berkeley, Los Angeles
Taishi Hainan Chicken Chef Theo Shio – Redondo Beach, Long Beach
The Colony Club and SO.PA Chef Michael Hung - Palm Springs
The Raymond 1886 Chef Gabriel Cappelli – Pasadena
True Food Kitchen Chef Stephanie Nguyen – Pasadena
Vegan Sunday Supper Richard Klein – Los Angeles
We Olive Ervin Galvan – Pasadena
World Empanadas Chef Matthew Hirtz – Burbank
Yardbird Chef Eduardo Osorio – Los Angeles
Yuca’s Restaurant Socorro “Mama Yuca’s” Herrera– Pasadena
Kabobaholic Ali Pooya– Los Angeles, Orange County
Okamoto Kitchen Gerald Abraham – Los Angeles
The Tropic Truck Lauren Saravia – Los Angeles
VCHOSWendy Centeno – Los Angeles
Wings N Waffles Jontae Vinson – Los Angeles, Orange County
Sweet Masters: A select group of Los Angeles Top Sweet Masters will showcase an assortment of delectable desserts such as Bertha Mae’s Brownies, unique Indian treats from Banana Leaf, handcrafted pudding from Better Together Sweets, custom cakes and desserts from Butter Cake Shoppe, French macarons and gourmet cookies from Etoile Filante Patisserie, deliciously scrumptious scratch baked custom cakes and cupcakes from Fantasy Frostings, Lark Cake Shop, Chocolatier Mignon Chocolate, Nomad Ice Pops, homemade premium sorbets from Pop’s Artisinal Creamery, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and more.
Some of this year’s participating Beverage Masters include:
Bars & Spirits: 2022 Masters of Taste Platinum Sponsor Beam Suntory will be premiering their House of Suntory Tiny House on the 50 Yard Line along with a Maker’s Mark Lounge, and more. Some of L.A.’s top bartenders and cocktail bars will be creating first-rate craft cocktails, including Maxwell Reis ofGracias Madre and Miguel Perez of 1886 Bar at The Raymond. Top brands showcasing their finest spirits at Masters of Taste will include American Born Whiskey, Dulce Vida Tequila, High Road Spirits serving Lucky Dog Sake Juice Boxes, Knox & Dobson, Krafted Spirits, Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal, Pomp & Whimsy, Smoke Lab Vodka, Ventura Spirits, Veso Aperitifs, Wild Roots Organic Vodka, Xoloitzcuintle Tequila, and Woodford Reserve will be exclusively featured in the Rose BowlCourt of Champions.
Brewmasters: Beverage Masters who specialize in barley and hops will be presenting top-notch ales, lagers, pilsners and more for guests to sample, sip and savor all throughout the event, including Southern California favorites 14 Cannons Brewing Co., L.A.’s new All Season Brewing, Arts District Brewing Company, Pasadena’s Cerveceria Del Pueblo, hard kombucha from Flying Embers in Ojai, Downtown’s Homebound Brew Haus, North Hollywood’s Lawless Brewing Co., Arcadia’s first Microbrewery Mt. Lowe Brewing Co.,Ola Brewhard seltzer,Over Town Brewing Co., San Fernando Brewing Co., and 2022 Thai Sponsor Singha Beer.
Wineries and Sake: A specially curated collection of Wine Masters will be showcasing their finest varietals including premium boutique winery Ascension Cellars, CR? Winery, Ferguson Family Wines, Golden Star Vineyards & Winery, Hitching Post Winery, Kikusi Brewery (Sake), Obvious Wines, Anderson Valley’s Navarro Vineyards, Seisyu Akagisan Sake, Tobias Glen Vineyard, and more.
Non-Alcoholic Beverages: A variety of premium non-alcoholic Beverage Masters will also be on hand for those who wish to hydrate, caffeinate or regenerate, such as Yerba Mate from Erva Brew Co., Humm Kombucha, distilled and elegantly blended non-alcoholic beverages from Optimist Drinks, boba milk tea from Sunright Tea Studio and Bearology, natural ginger beer from TrueRoots Brewing Co., handcrafted beverage starters from The Base Co., and more.
Sponsors: Masters of Taste 2022 is made possible through the generous support of our Platinum Sponsors, Beam Suntory. The Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion is made possible by Thai Trade Center Los Angeles, including Thai SPIRIT, Department of International Trade Promotion, Singha, N.A. Trading Company, Theppadungporn Coconut Co., and Sunlee. Gold Sponsors include Judith L. Chiara Foundation, US Bank , and Western Asset Management. The event is also made possible by Silver Sponsors: AppDynamics, Capital Group, Charlie and Rene Chiara, Hannah and Russ Kully, Homebridge Financial Services, Inc., HomeStreet Bank, Jim & Cary Moore, John and Marie Queen, Kaiser Permanente, Liz & Rhodes Trussell, Philip and Nancy Naecker, Union Bank MUFG, Vickie and Alex Taylor, Wells Fargo, Woodford Reserve; and Bronze Sponsors: ADP Foundation, Avantis Investors, Bank of America, Bart and Pam Wald, Catherine Simms & Garrett Bell, City National Bank, David & Janet Lazier, HKG LLP, Lonnie and Lorraine Schield, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, Sally Lash, Terry & Teresa Krupczak, Verlasso, Wendy Lees & Tom Boyle and Westport Construction.
Masters of Taste 2022 will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2022 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. A VIP Power Hour will be held from 3pm to 4pm and General Admission will be from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets to this event are only available for guests 21+ and over. Click here for ticket information. Guests are encouraged to utilize car services since this event does serve alcoholic beverages. Complimentary parking is available at the Rose Bowl.