"You've got to do another one," Fink says they'd tell him. Finally I caved in and said well if Relais will be my partner we can do it." This year just happens to be the 60th anniversary of Relais & Chateaux; a great excuse to throw a big birthday bash.
Fink wanted to bring back the intimacy and luxury of the Masters event, with international chefs and wineries that are legends, but add an element of showing off the tremendous local food and wine purveyors in and around Carmel.
The next day began with a decadent start -- caviar and Champagne.
Chef Johann Lafer created three dishes, basically all vehicles for caviar, in a morning cooking demo.
"The chefs and winemakers had a glass of wine or a plate of food with someone they didn't know.
I want people to take away that this is fun." More than 2,000 guests attended the 15 events over four days, with 11 of the 15 selling out.
He made blini, a potato and creme fraiche dished topped with a huge dollops of caviar.
He was part of the team that started the Masters of Food and Wine event at the Carmel Highlands Inn, a few miles south down the coast from Carmel. Fink is a member of the board of directors of Relais & Chateaux, a hospitality group that Fink's Carmel hotel and restaurant property L'Auberge Carmel belongs to.
You can tell this isn't the first rodeo for David Fink, Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group CEO and organizer of Gourmet Fest.
The weather cooperated beautifully, and Carmel was easy to navigate, not just by foot, but thanks to shuttle service provided by event organizers.
The first event was just a taste, but what a taste.
The Welcome Party on Thursday night, under a big white tent, paired Grand Chefs from Relais & Chateaux properties and bites they prepared from organic farms with world-class wines.