Anne Lee Huffman owns Castle Gourmet Plant Based Cuisine and produces the EastSide Food Festival in LA. She is also a former record label owner, club promoter, and DJ.
What was the food highlight of your year?
The first ever EastSide Food Festival here in LA that I produced with Mack Sennett Studios and Food is the New Rock in November 2014. It was incredible! On the topic of food and restaurants in LA, the West side - be it Santa Monica/ Venice/ Beverly Hills - always seems to get the spotlight of attention from news outlets and ongoing food festivals that happen around town. The idea with EastSide Food Fest was to celebrate our neighborhoods and the communities on the EastSide - where some true talent is deep rooted, but often goes without the attention it deserves. We worked diligently to curate a phenomenal group of chefs and restaurateurs from LA's EastSide Communities to be a part of the EastSide Food Fest, an event independent of high profile magazines or newspaper backing. The result was something truly authentic and super delicious. We ended up with over 20 vendors that were very diverse - from "hot topic" spots like Pine & Crane or Alimento in Silverlake, to lesser known but amazing places like Little Beast or Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park, and even well known establishments like Umami Burger. Getting all of the best restaurants from LA's EastSide in one place at a sold out food festival event would FOR SURE be my food highlight of 2014! It was so awesome that we plan on doing it again this year, so look out for it!
What was the music highlight of your year?
Simian Mobile Disco live at Pappy and Harriet's in Joshua Tree. They performed 100% live (which for an electronic band is difficult and unusual) and used the live performance as the recording of their newest album - Whorl. It was mindblowing. Plus Joshua Tree is a magical place!
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
This is also an easy one, as i have to go back to EastSide Food Fest - the other aspect of this festival is that it's not all about food. We are embracing the culture of the
EastSide too. One of the ways we are trying to do that is to include a music element as part of the event. We hosted discussion panels and food demos throughout the day in which we wanted to include diverse opinions on each subject, so each included both chefs and musicians. There was the food and music "Superpanel" discussion, hosted by Zach Brooks of Food is the New Rock (a weekly podcast whose focus is both food and music) and Evan Kleiman of KCRW's Good Food. The panelists included Chef Jessica Koslow (Sqirl Restaurant and Jams), Chef Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth), Chef Ari Taymor (Alma), and musicians Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) and Morgan Kibby (M83/White Sea). They talked about their favorite local restaurants and dishes, answered questions from the audience about their late night go-to spots to eat then they are drunk, discussed the food culture of Los Angeles, and made jokes about "redefining the Eastside of LA", referring to the unexpected controversy around the name of the festival. It was amazing!