5th Annual Baja Culinary Fest Takes Over Tijuana This October 8-11 With A Taste Of Countryside & Sea

September 29, 2015

The Baja Culinary Fest returns to Tijuana for its fifth year from Thursday, October 8 through Sunday, October 11, offering a bustling line up of dinners, seminars, panels, workshops, culinary contests and deliciousness, as well as a free-to-enter tasting showcase with some of Baja's best wine, beer and food vendors at the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT). San Diego's top chefs will also join forces with some of Baja's best for a series of multi-course meals during this year's event. With the theme "A Taste of Countryside and Sea," this year the festival will focus on sustainability and responsible product sourcing while spotlighting the best ingredients in Baja.

The products and food offered by Baja California’s exceptional culinary talent, it's outstanding wine culture and burgeoning craft beer industry, have made the state one of the most important gastronomic destinations in Mexico. The Baja Culinary Fest will bring together the most prominent creators, restaurants and chefs of the area's culinary movement and shall offer over 3,000 square meters of stands, in addition to VIPs and guest chefs who will share their experiences through panels and keynotes.

In addition to the impressive program of events, this year's Baja Culinary Fest will feature 10 specialty, multi-chef, multi-course dinners at some of the top restaurants in Tijuana (reservations can be made by contacting the location directly), including:
  • iPA'A Cocina Mexicana - Wednesday, October 7 at 8pm with Chefs Adrian Herrera, Benito Molina and Manuel Rubio ($83)
  • Misión 19 - Friday, October 9 at 8pm with Chefs Jason McLeod, Darren Walsh, Daniel Ovadia, Elsa Flores and Javier Plascencia ($83)
  • La Querencia BajaMed Cocina - Friday, October 9 at 8pm with Chefs Mathew Beaudin, Alfonso Cadena, Esteban Luis, Hermila Corbala and Miguel Angel Guerrero ($83)
  • Verde y Crema - Friday, October 9 with Chefs Bianca Castro, Mario Peralta, Edgar Nunez and Drew Deckman ($83)
  • La Diferencia - Friday, October 9 at 8pm with Chefs Sara Polczynski, Juan Pablo Ussel, Jose Burela, Francisco Javier Cuevas and Ilean Padilla ($57)
  • Culinary Art School - Friday, October 9 at 8pm with Chefs Pily Vidales, Lety Otamendi, Iker Castillo, Luisteen Gonzalez, Antropologist Raquel Torres and Sommelier Ana Laura Martinez ($57)
  • La Justina - Saturday, October 10 at 8pm with Chefs Abel Hernandez, Marco Rodriguez, Ryan Steyn and Chad White ($57)
  • Caesar's - Saturday, October 10 at 8pm with Chefs Carlos Salgado, Rachel King, Eddy Ruiz, Wes Avila, Javier Plascencia, Ray Garcia and Sommelier Jill Gubesch ($83)
  • Chan's Bistro - Saturday October 10 at 8pm with Chefs Karrie Hills, Amy DiBiase, Nancy Leon and Denisse Zamudio ($57)
  • La Caza Club - Saturday, October 10 at 8pm with Chefs Jorge Udelman, Ruben Silva, Pepe Ochoa, Rodolfo Luviano and Jordana Salas ($57)
On Thursday, October 8, the Baja Culinary Fest will kick off with a culinary competition at the Culinary Art School. The afternoon will include the Opening Night Gala Dinner, highlighting the pioneers of Baja's cuisine, in which organizers will pay tribute to some of the great pioneers of the Baja culinary movement and those who have made history with their iconic restaurants. Some of the honorees include Adrian Pedrín from La Costa, Felipe Pavlovich from El Rodeo, Natale Matteoti from Matteotti's, Juan José Plasencia from Giuseppis, Humberto Brambila from La Especial, Leopoldo Borquez from Bol Corona, Ricardo Martinez from Tortas Ricardo, Tilly's of Mariano Escobedo and, of course, Santini and Cardini's with their worldwide famous Caesar Salad created at the iconic Caesar's. At this opening dinner, different chefs will be invited to re-interpret the legacy of each of these pioneers, giving a contemporary twist to the classic dishes that they contributed to the Baja-style cuisine.

On Friday, October 9, the Fest will begin with a lecture by keynote speaker Edgar Núñez, chef and co-owner of SUD 777 - voted one of the best eateries in Latin America. Nuñez is also considered to be one of the founding members of the Mexican Association of Food Trucks. “Resource optimization model for the food industry” will be the theme of Nuñez’ conference. Following the conference, there will be a workshop called "A Tribute to Smoke" with chef Poncho Cadena - the talent behind restaurant concepts such as La Leche and Hueso, where his style is a fun and carefree way of playing with local ingredients to reinvent everyday dishes.

On Saturday, October 10, another conference will highlight Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s "Your choices make the difference" initiative touching upon their Seafood Watch project. This seminar will be a call to action focusing on the production, responsibility and sustainability of seafood consumption. There will also be a workshop led by Chef Daniel Ovadia, the chef behind Paxia. Ovadia - a successful, multifaceted chef who also has his own brand of Mezcal, Tequila and wines - who has received countless national and international awards, positioning him to be one of the most successful Mexican chefs of his generation.

To close out Saturday morning, there will be a seminar by keynote speakers Diego Hernández andEdgar Núñez. These chefs have restaurants that have been selected within the top 50 in Latin America by The Restaurant magazine. They will share the stories that led to their success and their similarities in ingredient preferences - fresh, organic, endemic to the region – as well as their affinity for the farm to table concept.

Tickets to the Baja Culinary Fest are available online. Single day tickets are 500 pesos or around $30, and 3 day passes are 1400 pesos or about $83. Regarding travel to Tijuana, either park on the U.S. side of the border and use taxis or Uber, which is well established and very inexpensive in Tijuana (promo code SDVILLE saves $30 on first ride) or drive across. Be sure to bring your passport!

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit bajaculinaryfest.com or email [email protected].