Getting Figgy at the San Diego Public Market | Inaugural San Diego Fig Fest Wows With Brilliant Dishes Demonstrating the Versatility of the California Fig

Dish offered by Chef Bernard Guillas
of the Marine Room
September 13, 2013

California figs were truly honored at the first ever San Diego Fig Fest, which took place on Sunday, September 8 at the outdoor National Plaza of the San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan.  Over 400 attendees endured San Diego's heatwave to enjoy offerings from some of the finest chefs of Baja and San Diego.  Nearly 40 restaurants and food purveyors joined together to showcase the versatility of the fig, and they did so elegantly with inventive dishes that ranged from crepes, to dumplings, to gazpacho and on, and on, and on.

Organized by California Figs, the Les Dames d'Escoffier's San Diego chapter and the San Diego Public Market, the San Diego Fig Fest was actually the 10th reincarnation of the event, which has been held in Fresno the previous nine years.  San Diego Public Market made the perfect venue for its entry into America's Finest City.  White tents aligned in rows, shielding the chefs from the afternoon sun; live music entertained the crowd, who paraded through the aisles, nibbling bites and sampling wine, beer from Manzanita Brewing and even cocktails featuring fig-spiked vodka.

The Red Door/Wellington's offering
The dishes weren't just for enjoyment purposes, as the chefs were competing before a lineup of VIP judges, as well as for votes from participants. The VIP judges awarded Waters Fine Catering and Event Design 1st place for their Frozen Fig Mousse Sandwich. Second place went to The Red Door / Wellington's Warm Fig and Cauliflower Salad with Honey, Tangerines, and Sage, and third place to Terra American Bistro for their Vanilla Melon Gazpacho with Blue Crab and Fig Strawberry Relish. The Consumer Choice winner was Great Maple's Smoked Beef Brisket with Cocoa Nib Braised Brown Turkey Figs and Gorgonzola. Second place went to Monello's Risotto in Raspa Dura Cheese with Balsamic Figs, and third place to the The U.S. Grant Hotel's Grant Grill's Citrus Braised Pork with Figs and Couscous.

We had our favorites too!'s Top 4 in no particular order - Great Maple (Smoked Beef Brisket with Cocoa Nib Braised Brown Turkey Figs and Gorgonzola), The Marine Room (TXO Crispy California Figs, Pecan Fig Risotto, Mission Fig Chutney, Preserved Fig Cranberry Relish, Almond Black Mission Fig Cake), Miguel Angel Guerrero (Mesquite Grilled Figs), and whoever made the dish in the photo to the right (we still can't figure it out even with the whole list of dishes below)!

Upon departing the Fig Fest, participants were treated with a nifty handout featuring recipes for all the dishes offered at the event, and certainly, everyone had a new appreciation for the range of the California fig.

Keep on your radar so you're in the know for next year's event, or just keep visiting SanDiegoVille and we'll make sure you're informed!  The full Fig Fest menu is below with additional photos for your sensory pleasure.

Water's icemousse sandwich
Full Menu at the San Diego Fig Fest

Chef Jeff Jackson, A.R. Valentien:
Fig, Onion and Almond Tart

Chefs Nicolas Bour & James Kozak, Avant
Avant Fig Mostarda

Chef Amy DiBiase, Baleen
California Fig & Pear Salad

Chef George Morris, Beaumont's Eatery
Alderwood Smoked Figs with Emerald Beauty Plums, Arugula,Whipped Goat Cream, Vanilla Bean, Sea Salt

Tender Greens!
Chef Patrick Ponsaty, Bellamy's Restaurant
Black Mission Figs with Bleu Cheese, Bacon, and Honey

Chef Amber Smith, Biscuit Gourmet
Spiced Biscotti with Figs, Honey, and Toasted Almonds

Chef Gayle Covner, Blueprint Cafe
Pork Dumplings with Fig and Fennel

Chef Katie Grebow, Cafe Chloe
Crispy Thyme Crepe with Honey Lavendar Roasted Fig and Stilton Cheese

Chef Joanne Squires-Sherif, Cardamom Cafe & Bakery
Sticky Figgy Brie Baked in Cardamom Brioche Tart

Cupcakes Squared
Beatriz Ledezma, Caxao Chocolates
Alhambra Figs dipped in chocolate

Catherine Perez, Con Pane
Drunken Fig, Blue Cheese and Walnut Bread with Orange HoneyButter

Robin Ross, Cupcakes Squared
Amaretto Fig Almond Cupcakes and Lemon Poppyseed Two Fig Cupcakes

Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach, Cups
Fig Leap Cupcakes

Chef Olivier Bioteau, Farm House Café
Artisan Pork & Fig Sausage

Chef Flor Franco's dish
Fran Lovello, Fresh Start Foods
Fig Anise Soup

Chef Mark Kropczynski, Grant Grill
Citrus Braised Pork with Figs, Couscous, and Citrus Fig Gastrique

Chef Carmine Lopez, Great Maple
Smoked Beef Brisket with Cocoa Nib Braised Brown Figs andFried Gorgonzola

Chef Flor Franco, Indulge Catering & the Chefs of Baja
Estacion de Oficios Pork Belly and Tiger Stripe Fig Compote

Miguel Angel Guerrero: Mesquite Grilled Figs
Chef Drew Deckman: Crispy Figs with Duck Confit and Arugula

Chef Benito Molina's
Chef Benito Molina: Figs with Quail Carnitas

Chef Martin San Ramon: Receta

Chef Javier Plascencia: Short Ribs in Fig Leaves withMission Fig Black Mole

Chef Ryan Steyn: Fillet Mignon with Fig Puree and Praline

Chef David Baron, Jackie's Jam
Fig jams

Chef Guido Nistri, Monello, Bencotto
Fig Risotto in Raspa Dura wheel

Chef Rachel King, NINE-TEN
Cream Cheese Panna Cotta with Honey-Glazed Figs

Chef Michael Alves, Roseville Cozhina
Crostini of Figs

Sugar & Scribe's Fig and Orange Scone minus the dressing
Chef Maeve Schulz, Sugar & Scribe
Fig and Orange Scones

Chef Matt Richman, Table 926
Grilled Fig Panini, Taleggio, Mortadella, Farmers MarketArugula, Fig Mostarda

Chef Jean-Michel Diot, Tapenade
Fresh & Dry California Mission Figs, Gorgonzola PannaCotta, and Caramelized Walnuts

Catherine Demuth-Pepe, Temecula Olive Oil
Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Appetizer

Chef Bradley Austin, Tender Greens
Caramelized Figs, P Balistreri Guanciale, Baby Kale, Pistachios and Drake's Goat Cheese

Monello had people lining up for this!
Chef Jeff Rossman, Terra American Bistro
Vanilla Melon Gazpacho with Blue Crab and Fig StrawberryRelish

Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver, The Marine Room
TXO Crispy California Figs, Pecan Fig Risotto, Mission FigChutney, Preserved Fig Cranberry Relish, Almond Black Mission Fig Cake

Chef Karrie Hills, The Red Door/Wellington
Warm Fig and Cauliflower Salad with Honey Tangerines andCleveland Sage

Gina Frieze, Venissimo Cheese with Bread & Cie
Broiled Blue Bite

Chef Dawn Parks, Wild Thyme
Fig and Apple Cobbler with Cardamom and Smoked Whipped Cream

Chef Joe Burns, Waters Catering
Frozen Fig Mousse Sandwiches