Masters of Taste Returns to Pasadena's Iconic Rose Bowl. Get Your Food Fest Pants On! Sunday, May 7th

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Last year, Masters of Taste enjoyed its debut at the legendary Pasadena Rose Bowl. This year the delicious event returns and tastier than before. Why? Well, more restaurants, bakers, confectioners, brewmasters, wineries, and cocktail wizards for starters. There's just more of everything this time around. Take a peek at some of the lineup below.

118 Degrees - Chef Jenny Ross (Tarzana)
Alexander’s Steakhouse - Chef Matt Bata (Pasadena)
Bacchus Kitchen & Eatery and Claude & Co. - Chef Claud Beltran (Pasadena)
Bone Kettle and Komodo - Chef Erwin Tjahyadi (Pasadena and Los Angeles)
CAST at the Viceroy Santa Monica - Chef Larry Monaco (Santa Monica)
Celestino - Chef Calogero Drago (Pasadena)
Church & State and Spring - Chef Tony Esnault (Downtown Los Angeles)
Crossings - Chef Lalo Sanchez (South Pasadena)
HACHÉ LA - Chef Michael “Mick” Schepers (Silver Lake)
HokePoke - Chef Lauren Haas (Downtown Los Angeles)
Hamasaku - Chef Yoya Takahashi (Los Angeles)
Hyperion Public - Chef Paddy Aubrey (Silver Lake and Studio City)
INTRO Art Gallery & Chef’s Table - Chef Paul Shoemaker (North Hollywood)
Little Beast - Chef Jose Perez (Eagle Rock)
Magnolia House - Chef Evan Colter (Pasadena)
Mama Lion - Chef Michael Hung (Koreatown)
Mexikosher - Chef Katsuji Tanabi (Los Angeles)
Milk & Honey - Chef Lulu Cai (Hollywood)
Miro - Chef Gavin Mills (Downtown Los Angeles)
Momed - Chef Alex Sarkissian (Beverly Hills and Atwater Village)
Nerano - Chef Michele Lisi (Beverly Hills)
Prince of Venice
Ramen Tatsunoya (Pasadena)
SpireWorks - Chef Kuniko Yagi (Westwood Village and Eagle Rock)
Redbird - Chef Neal Fraser (Downtown Los Angeles)
The Raymond 1886 - Chef Tim Guiltinan (Pasadena)
True Food Kitchen - Chef Phil Noresetter (Pasadena)
Venice Whaler - Chef Nick Liberato (Venice)

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2016's Masters of Taste event was the launch so the crowd was Goldilocks-sized, not too big, not too small. There was never a long wait for any particular restaurant's booth. This is the advantage of attending a new food festival. This year should be manageable too, I predict. But if they are slammed, good for them!

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The portion and quality of some of the restaurants' food were outstanding. One memorable plate was served up by Hyde Sunset, the sceney but very food-focused spot on Sunset Boulevard.

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Top Chef alum and fan-favorite Chris Crary was there to hand out the meaty portions of braised beef cheek. He was also available to take selfies (ahem, like mine) for his throng of fans and admirers. That's one of the very cool things about food festivals like Masters of Taste. You can get up close and personal with the talented chefs whom you may not get to meet at their restaurants.

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Celestino Italian restaurant generously offered sauce smothered ravioli and a treat of cannoli freshly piped with ricotta.

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Celestino's chef Calogero Drago was on hand to serve the inaugural crowd for Masters of Taste.

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There was some excellent, fancy poke too. Lots of people loved this poke chock full of fresh fish and roe. It was probably the most popular booth. I'm not a big fan of the stuff. But what do I know. This one was very good though.

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One of my favorite chefs, Brendan Collins of Birch, manned his booth. This master of charcuterie didn't disappoint with his housemade pate.

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And, hey, if you were craving pizza, they got it too. In fact, the Made in Brooklyn Pizza truck was probably one of my top 5 favorites at the event. They greeted festival foodies as we walked in.

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They were true New York slices, thin, blistered, cheesy and friggin' good. Nothing fancy, just an honest to goodness slice, baby!

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The view of the Sensual Foodie was great too.

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Bonus: this food festival is at the Rose Bowl. So you can run around the field recreating all your fantasy football fantasies (just not in your underwear on your laptop).

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Masters of Taste is a touchdown! And I'm Tom Brady.

See you there, this Sunday afternoon May 7th at the Rose Bowl. Ticket info here.

Best of all, this is 100% for a great cause:

100% of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2017 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Union Station is part of a premier group of human services agencies in Los Angeles County that are leading the way to end homelessness in our community and offers an array of services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development. Last year, Masters of Taste 2016 raised over $435,000 for Union Station Homeless Services, and this year Masters of Taste hopes to grow that number to $560,000.

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