By Nina Fedrizzi
October 03, 2011

Food and wine festivals are becoming a ubiquitous fixture in every self-respecting dining destination, but until recently, the City of Angels had little to call its own.

Enter the first-annual Los Angeles Food & Wine (LAFW), presented by American Express Publishing (T+L's parent company): a four-day (October 13-16) festival that features more than 50 culinary events across four neighborhoods. From a California clambake in Santa Monica with chef Tom Colicchio, to a red carpet VIP event and pork and pinot noir party hosted by chef Todd English, to a musical performance by Train, the festival promises to levy L.A.’s megawatt star power while showcasing its considerable dining chops. We got the scoop from LAFW’s co-founder, David Bernahl.

Q: How did the LAFW come about?
A: There are all these rock star younger chefs that are really leading the culinary world right now, and we knew from experience that this is the best way to get people interested in food and wine. We set out two years ago to start creating something that was deserving of the city.

Q: Why Los Angeles?
A: Part of it is the city itself. It has these amazing backdrops, and we have diversity in L.A. that you don’t get in other cities. Whatever you wake up and decide you want to do in Los Angeles, you can do it.

Q: Is that what makes this festival unique?
A: Yes. It’s the first time we’re really able to showcase L.A. as a culinary destination. But also, at so many of these events, you don’t get a chance to taste food prepared by these [celebrity] chefs. They cook when they come to our event, and they put the food right on your plate.

Q: And of course, it’s in Hollywood…
A: Yes! It’s been a natural coming up. Every celebrity chef wants to be a movie star, every movie star wants to write their own cookbook. There’s so much crossover already, why not bring these things together?

The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival takes place October 13-16, 2011. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Nina Fedrizzi is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.