One of my favorite events of any year, Masters of Taste, is back!!! Now that most of us are emerging from our two-year hibernation, this fabulous foodie fest, which takes place this Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 from 3PM-7PM, is not to be missed.

Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste, as is the one at the top of this article.

In case you don’t know, Masters of Taste is a fun and delicious all-inclusive one-afternoon food and beverage event that’s held on…the Rose Bowl field! The pal who’s accompanying me there this year is even more restaurant-obsessed than yours truly, so I was shocked that he was equally excited about the prospect of not only going to the iconic Rose Bowl for the first time ever, but to get to walk on the actual field! (I have to admit that, even though I’ve been on that field many, many times—particularly when I was friends with lots of UCLA athletes—I still get a thrill as I enter the stadium and see the tableau.)

And the fact that it’s a totally outdoor event means that you can be as close to, or far away from, strangers as you choose to be. That’s another reason it’s a perfect first outing for those of us who have been wise enough to hole-up for these past couple of years!

Over one hundred restaurants/caterers/food purveyors/beverage masters will be participating this time, with each one featuring an item or two of their most popular dishes. The variety is so wide that I’ve always found that there are truly multiple treats for everyone.  As you may have figured-out by now, I’m, for sure, the pickiest restaurant critic ever, but even I have very many choices Masters of Taste; I never know which booth to stop by first! I’m like a whirling dervish trying to get to all of them!

Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai. Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai. Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

This year, because the Thai New Year is in April, there will be a concentration on Thai restaurants, which will be all featured together in a special pavilion in the Rose Bowl end zone. I can’t wait to meet Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai, who is the first-ever female Host Chef of Masters of Taste. It appears that she and I have a few things in common, particularly that she graduated from UCLA, which was my own third of four colleges. And she did her graduate work at Yale, which is the first place I ever smoked marijuana!  (Okay, so her resume is a tad classier than mine. But we’ll still have a lot to talk about.)

As if the delicious food, beverages, (many alcoholic,) classic location, and being able to experience some camaraderie again, (especially after missing out on all that for the past two years,) were not enough, the kind among us, (which, after all we’ve been through and are actually still going through, should now be all of us,) will appreciate this aspect of Masters of Taste—all of the proceeds will benefit Union Station Homeless Services, which is a nonprofit organization committed to helping the homeless rebuild their lives. With more and more encampments popping-up all over Los Angeles, (and I do mean all over—even in neighborhoods where you’d least expect them,) this organization’s services are needed more than ever!

Another good aspect of Masters of Taste this go-round is that they’re partnering with Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, Los Angeles, (C-CAP LA), which is a non-profit that provides culinary, job, and life skills to thousands of middle-and-high school students across the United States, including here in LA. A group of those students will even be volunteering to help at this year’s Masters, so we get to meet some future restaurateurs.

One of the featured dishes from the past. Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

One of the featured dishes from the past. Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

Knowing that we’re helping others is the best part of the day for me. And that we’re really enjoying ourselves while doing it is the icing on the cake! (See what I did there? A food reference.)

And here’s some more good news—parking at the Rose Bowl for this event is free!!! How often does that happen in LA?!

I hope to see you all there, even though I admit that I’ll have eyes for only the food. We all need to just make sure to not eat or drink for three days beforehand to enjoy it all! Yu-um!

For tickets and more info, please go to: www.mastersoftastela.com.


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