A Taste of Baja California Culinary Fest

by Wendy Lemlin


So, you’ve been hearing all these great things about the Baja culinary scene, and have just been waiting for a good excuse (not that you really need one!) to experience it for yourself, right?  Well, you’ve got one—in fact two!

For the first time, Baja California Culinary Fest is teaming up with The Culinary Conference Ensenada Gastronómica to present five days of mouth-watering excitement. From October 29th to November 2nd, guests will be able to explore the many flavors of Baja and discover the local natural resources of the region that the rest of the world is clamoring for these days. Chefs’ dinners, outings, tours and culinary competitions are among the exciting events planned for this foodie extravaganza.

The 4th annual Baja California Culinary Fest kicks off with “Sweet” and “Savory” competition at Tijuana’s ultra-cool Culinary Institute on Wednesday Oct. 29. Tickets $35.  Later that evening, an Inaugural Dinner will take place in the colorful Mercado Hidalgo, featuring participating chefs presenting traditional Tijuana urban cuisine, regional wines and craft beer, among the vibrant setting of Tijuana’s largest market. Tickets $45BCCF Flyer

 Chefs’ Dinners will be hosted on October 30th at La Esperanza Baja Med (Valle De Guadalupe) with chefs Miguel Angel Guerrero and Martín Gonzalez, at Corazon de Tierra (Valle de Guadalupe) with chefs Diego Hernandez, Dominique Crenn, and Humberto Aviles, and Boules Restaurant (Ensenada) featuring chefs Gerard Bellver, Zahie Tellez and Bianca Castro.

On October 31stdinners will be served at  Manzanilla (Ensenada) featuring Benito and Solange, Bruno Oteiza and Manolo Baños, and at Convivia  in Encuentro Antiresorts (Valle de Guadalupe) with chefs Flor Franco, Luis Robledo and Esteban Lluis.

On November 1st choose between dinners at Malva Cocina de Baja California (Valle de Guadalupe) with chefs Roberto Alcocer, Francisco Ruano and Manuel Rubio, at Misión 19 (Tijuana) with Javier Plascencia, Ryan Steyn, Drew Deckman and Zahie Téllez, and Sano’s Steakhouse (Ensenada) with chefs Sano Hussong and Victor Zárate.

Reserve for dinners directly through the restaurants.  Prices vary.

On the morning of November 1 make your to the marina at Ensenada’s  Coral y Marina Hotel for a hands-on workshop to learn about shellfish and outdoor grilling techniques, and how to pair the results with excellent regional wines. $45

 Club Tengo Hambre, a roving Baja supper club, will lead two tours in conjunction the BCCF.

On Nov. 1, The Tijuana Street Food Tour with Sommelier will present sommelier Taylor Parsons from Los Angeles, to pair street food menu from several stops along the way with wines from the GuadalupeValley. Tour includes transportation, gourmet cuisine and wine and tickets are $115. On Nov. 2, the club is offering an Ensenada Street Food & Wine Pairing Tour with Sommelier Taylor Parsons, with seafood-centric stops at La Guerrerense, Muelle Tres, and Manzanilla. The $135 tour includes transportation, gourmet cuisine and wine

On November 1st interestedparticipants will meet at the Hotel Coral y Marina in Ensenada and take part in The Ruta Del Vino Outing, where guests will visit three local wineries in the celebrated Valle de Guadalupe. The trip includes two wine tastings at each stop, plus a tour of the Museo del Vino and a country-style lunch. $60

The last day of the festival, Novemeber 2, BCCF is offering an Aquaculture Farm Visit with a High Sea Brunch. After meeting at the Hotel Coral y Marina in Ensenada, guests will board a guided boat that will visit aquaculture farms, where hosts will explain process and production methods. The morning ends with a brunch on the water. $60

To close the event all are invited to Viñas de la ERRE, one of the Guadalupe Valley’s exciting new wineries for Food Trucks in the Valle, featuring the best food trucks from Tijuana, Ensenada, the Valle, and Mexicali,  regional wines and craft beer, live music, hot-air balloon rides and a gourmet showcase  of all of the local natural products, and foods such as preserves, cheeses, olive oils and artisanal bread. Free admission. Km 87.5 Ensenada-Tecate hiway (Route 3)

Ensenada Gastronomica Conference, in its third consecutive year, will be exhibiting the most important and transcendental topics in Mexican Cuisine on October 30th and October 31st at the Hotel Coral y Marina. Featuring demonstrations and workshops from Mexico’s premier chefs and special guests, this year’s theme will be “Sustainable Mexico, Local and Seasonal Cuisine.” Tickets for the 2 day event are $160 ($120 for culinary students).

 Both events promise a feast of opportunity to celebrate the culinary riches of the Baja region. For more information on times, locations and reservations go to:


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