Artists, chefs and vintners to gather for Celebrate the Craft


Lovers of California’s scenic rolling hills, sandy beaches and rare Torrey pines won’t want to miss the 6th annual Celebrate the Craft event, which will bring together culinary experts, farmers and vintners from the California region as well as Plein Air artists from around the nation.

“What I try to do at Celebrate the Craft is…I want the best of the whole world, I want the best wine, the best food, the best products to work with, also the best time for people and that includes the people who are participating in it,” said Jeff Jackson, executive chef at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Twenty talented Plein Air artists kickoff the festival as they set up their canvases onsite the Torrey Pines State Reserve, across from The Lodge at Torrey Pines, where the festival will take place.

It all begins Oct. 30 and there’s a full weekend celebration planned through Nov. 2 to keep your eyes, ears and taste buds satisfied with sweet treats as you explore the vast array of delights offered in La Jolla’s backyard.

On Oct. 30-31, artists are free to paint wherever they desire and on Nov. 1, painters will allow their inspiration to dance on their canvases as they participate in the Torrey Pines Plein Air Invitational, where they will paint among the pines while the public observes.

Visitors can enjoy a picnic in the Torrey Pines State Reserve while watching artists work their magic.

A dinner reception and art auction will follow in the evening on Nov. 1, with an opportunity to bid on paintings created throughout the weekend. There will be a silent auction followed by a live auction of award-winning pieces. Proceeds will benefit the Torrey Pines Reserve Endowment Fund. Approximately $60,000 in auction proceeds benefited the Endowment Fund last year, according to Steve Pelzer, executive vice president of sales and marketing at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

The Picnic on the Arroyo Terrace event on Nov. 2 will feature about a dozen food stations and will give guests an opportunity to meet local farmers, chefs and vintners, which have been carefully paired together for a delectable experience. Guests will have one more chance to bid on paintings during the Nov. 2 event during a silent auction.

“Each chef will put their spin on that product, whether it’s salads, chicken, vegetables… so you will be able to eat yourself silly and talk not just to chefs about what they do but also to the providers, the ranchers, the growers, the vintners. It’s a very interactive exchange of product knowledge, cooking experience and wine tasting, so it’s pretty special,” Pelzer said.

This is an intimate opportunity for guests to meet the faces behind the colorful foods that they buy from their farmer’s markets and grocery stores everyday, to mingle with and watch chefs create innovative food and to sample various local wines.

“It’s just like a big family reunion - it’s as much about sharing a moment with people of like mind and taste,” said executive chef Jeff Jackson. “It’s really a fun thing.”