Friday, September 23, 2011

American Institute of Wine & Food

To quote Julia Child, “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Speaking of the one and only Julia Child, there is an organization near and dear to my heart that she helped create that not everyone is aware of. This non-profit organization and public charity is the American Institute of Wine & Food (also known as AIWF), and it was started in 1981 by Julia, Robert Mondavi, Richard Graff and others with the goal of providing a forum for the study and enjoyment of gastronomy.

I have belonged to the San Diego Chapter now for the past three years and I am also a two time Scholarship recipient. The scholarships have given me the opportunities to attend classes with Master Tim Gaiser at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and to continue my WSET Diploma studies with Master Peter Neptune. Along with scholarships the AIWF has a fantastic program called "Days of Taste". "Days of Taste" provides a hands on experience for fourth and fifth graders with local chefs providing them with knowledge and appreciation of fresh food and local ingredients...from farm to table.

My favorite, not to be missed AIWF event each year in San Diego is part of the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. It is the Celebrity Chef Luncheon and AIWF Big Bottle Auction (this year it is Sunday, November 20). It is a six course luncheon and wine pairing. This luncheon is not only a deliciously fantastic experience for attendees, but the auction proceeds benefit the scholarship program. This year as well as fifteen wineries, Master Joseph Spellman (from Justin Vineyard & Winery) and Chef Gale Gand (one of my favorite celebrity Chefs) of Tru in Chicago, will be in attendance.

Membership does indeed have its well as year round discounts to local businesses, magazine subscriptions, and dinners one receives invitations to exclusive member only parties and events showcasing the best and brightest in the world of wine and food.

Today the organization has 24 Chapters (including San Diego, LA, Chicago, Boston...) with over 3,000 members all over the country. For membership information and chapter locations visit AIWF and enhance your gastronomic knowledge and experiences!

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