This year, All-Star Chef Classic took place from March 9-12, 2016, at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles, same as the past two years. With four Master Dinner Series themed dinners that took place its trademarked Restaurant Stadium, two Strolling Events, and a Kids Cooking Class, All-Star Chef Classic was quite an epic series of events spread across four nights. I was invited to attend the Global Grand Tasting on Friday night.
The way the Strolling Events work at All-Star Chef Classic is that each attendee receives a booklet with one ticket for each participating chef/restaurant. At first I balked a little at this, having attended events that used similar concepts, but poor execution and enforcement made those events a bit of a mess. Not so at the Global Grand Tasting.
The lines were strictly monitored and attendees had to hand over the correct ticket for the appropriate line. Rather than coming off as draconian, since everyone was on the same page, it made things just a little more orderly. Though some bottlenecks occurred at the beginning of queues as people fumbled for the appropriate tickets, overall it wasn’t a big deal.
One of the benefits of the system is that chefs prepared an appropriate amount of food to make sure they could feed nearly all the ticket holders–I saw several mentions on social media of some chefs making 1,500 portions. The net result is that, as far as I could tell, no one ran out of food before 10pm; that’s with a 6:30pm VIP start time and 7:30pm GA start time. So attendees had at least 2.5 hours to trade in their tickets for food.
The only downside to this system is that if you really liked a dish and you were a “Silver” ticket holder, you couldn’t go back to get seconds unless you were with friends who weren’t using their particular ticket for your favorite. “Gold” and “Platinum” VIP ticket holders received an additional wildcard ticket redeemable at any booth.
But most folks attended with friends, and people who didn’t use up their booklets would leave them on tables for others to use. There were also some other food options available from various sponsors that didn’t require a ticket, and drinks were free and unlimited! In the last half hour of the event, from 10pm to 10:30pm, the line for one of the chefs’ booths serving hand-made ice cream sandwiches grew to epic proportions, but otherwise, unless you were completely impatient, they were all relatively reasonable.
The end result was that the event was actually one of the better run events I’ve ever attended. I didn’t have early VIP access, but still didn’t feel too rushed to hit every booth right away, yet I was able to try all but one of the 20 participating chefs’ dishes.
So what were those dishes? Funny you should ask! You can see the 17 dishes I posted to Instagram by checking out hashtag #offaloascc2016, but here were some of the highlights:
If you’re wondering why the lighting in all these shots were pretty good for an evening event, it’s because All-Star Chef Classic had set up two light boxes for people to use to take their food photos. It was very useful for food bloggers and Instagrammers, and pretty funny to watch all of us bringing our various dishes to these tables with the bright lights on them, like moths to a flame…
All in all, my first experience with All-Star Chef Classic was an amazing one, and I hope in the future I’ll get to attend one of those Master Dinner Series events, but I’ll be happy just to go back to the Global Grand Tasting, or the other Strolling Event, Grill & Chill!
Remember to check out the rest of the dishes I had at hashtag #offaloascc2016!