First published in the March 31 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
People attending the fifth anniversary of Masters of Taste, an outdoor food and beverage festival, will be helping address the homeless issue in the Los Angeles area.
The event will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, at the Rose Bowl.
Participants will include more than 100 restaurants. Several bars, breweries and businesses that sell sweets will also participate.
All of the proceeds from Masters of Taste will benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a nonprofit that provides solutions to end homelessness and rebuild lives. Headquartered in Pasadena, Union Station has served the community for half a century and is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting the homeless and very low-income adults and families.
In the past four years, Masters of Taste has raised more than $2 million in support of Union Station’s programs.
Meanwhile, Chef Vanda Asapahu, owner of Ayara Thai restaurant, is the event’s first-ever female host.
“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 100% of the proceeds go directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services, and not many food festivals can say that,” she added.
This year, Masters of Taste will be held in April, during which time the Thai New Year, called Songkran, is celebrated. Chef Asapahu has invited three other L.A. Thai restaurants to participate in the Songkran Thai Pavilion, which will span the Rose Bowl’s end zone.
This year, Masters of Taste will partner with the Careers Through Culinary Arts program, Los Angeles, a national nonprofit founded by culinary educator Richard Grausman in 1990 and co-chaired by Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
The program provides culinary, job and life skills to more than 20,000 middle and high school students a year in seven regions across the United States: New York City, Newark, Philadelphia/Camden, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C./Maryland/Northern Virginia and Arizona, including seven Navajo Reservation schools.
Due to the labor shortage in the restaurant industry in the the Los Angeles area, the culinary arts program will be partnering with Masters of Taste to bring high school student volunteers to assist with this year’s event.
Some of the restaurants participating will include Ayara Thai, 786 Degrees, 1212 Santa Monica, Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery, Alexander’s Steakhouse, Arth Bar + Kitchen, Bone Kettle, Celestino Ristorante, Champion’s CURRY, Drago Centro, Five 55, Gabi James, Georgia’s Restaurant, Gracias Madre, Granville, Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken, Hank’s, Holy Basil, Kye’s Feel Good Food, La Bohéme, Little Llama Peruvian Tacos, Lunasia, Luv2Eat Thai Bistro, Mercado, Mi Piace, Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee, Pez Cantina, Poppy + Rose and Poppy & Seed, Qué Padre, Ramen Tatsunoya, Ruam Mitr, Santuari, Stand-Up Burgers, Taishi Hainan Chicken, The Colony Club and SO.PA, The Raymond 1886, True Food Kitchen, Vegan Sunday Supper, We Olive, World Empanadas, Yardbird and Yuca’s Restaurant
Food trucks will include Kabobaholic, Okamoto Kitchen, The Tropic Truck, VCHOS and Wings N Waffles.
Sweets will be served by Bertha Mae’s Brownies, Banana Leaf, Better Together Sweets, Butter Cake Shoppe, Etoile Filante Patisserie, Fantasy Frostings, Lark Cake Shop, Mignon Chocolate, Nomad Ice Pops, Pop’s Artisinal Creamery and Nothing Bundt Cakes
Some of the participating breweries will include 14 Cannons Brewing Co., All Season Brewing, Arts District Brewing Company, Cerveceria Del Pueblo, Flying Embers Homebound Brew Haus, Lawless Brewing Co., Mt. Lowe Brewing Co., Ola Brew, Over Town Brewing Co., San Fernando Brewing Co. and 2022 Thai Sponsor Singha Beer.
Serving wine and sake will be: Ascension Cellars, CRŪ Winery, Ferguson Family Wines, Golden Star Vineyards & Winery, Hitching Post Winery, Kikusi Brewery (Sake), Obvious Wines, Navarro Vineyards, Seisyu Akagisan Sake and Tobias Glen Vineyard.
Serving non-alcoholic beverages will be: Erva Brew Co., Humm Kombucha, Optimist Drinks, Sunright Tea Studio, TrueRoots Brewing Co. and The Base Co.
The event is for people 21 years old and older. For more information or to buy tickets, visit mastersoftastela.com/tickets/.