With apologies to baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, the new American triple play belongs to cured pork, bluesy guitar licks and frosty mugs of beer. And when you combine all three into a single afternoon, you end up with the Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival, coming Saturday to the Monterey Fairgrounds.
The brainchild of personal chef, restaurant consultant and TV producer John Guinivere and local marketing maven Tanya Moore, the festival was born on social media.
"It started with a Facebook post," said Guinivere. "I suggested my friend George have a bacon party since he likes bacon so much. He suggested blues, and Tanya added the brews, because you have to have beer."
That late-night Facebook conversation happened six months ago, and since then Guinivere and Moore have furiously put together a top lineup of local chefs, blues bands, breweries, wineries and the Peninsula's own Minister of Bacon, Tony Baker, chef-partner at Montrio Bistro and founder of Baker's Bacon.
"When I first heard about it, I found out they were in talks with some mass-produced bacons out there, and I thought to myself, 'over my dead body, this is my town. I make bacon and it seems ridiculous that I shouldn't be part of this.' So I called the organizers and I'm so happy that we're involved in it.
Baker will supply his artisanal double-smoked, dry-cured bacon to a lineup of local chefs and restaurants who will create special pork creations to serve to attendees — and compete with each other in a bacon challenge (the winning chef gets a trip for two to Las Vegas, staying at the famed Venetian Hotel, along with a spectacular Chef's Table Dinner for two at Valentino's).
So look for some motivated chefs, among them Carmel's Chris Caul of Christopher's, who's practically packed for Vegas.
"Praise the lard," he said, hinting only that he's incorporating into his red bell pepper oil infused with bacon fat.
Joining Caul in the quest for Sin City is: Jean-Paul Peluffo of The Forge in Carmel, Jason Giles from Jacks at Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, Brian Christensen from Brophy's Tavern in Carmel, Mark Ayers from Cannery Row Brewing Co. in Monterey, Chilango Luna from The Mucky Duck in Monterey, Chef Ana Melissa at The Bakery Station in Salinas and many more. Peter B's Brewpub in Monterey will lead the way on the beer side, with brewmaster Kevin Clark working the taps.
Moore, who runs Moore Media and handles marketing for musicians, coordinated the entertainment, headlined by Les Dudek. The renowned bluesman is known for his powerful lead guitar and writing compositions on many multiplatinum records, including the Allman Brothers' "The Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica" and lending his guitar riffs to Boz Scaggs' "Lido Shuffle" and "Low Down." His guitar and writing skills have been heard on songs by Stevie Nicks, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason and more, and he's released six acclaimed solo albums as well.
The highly acclaimed Las Vegas fun-blues ensemble Pete Contino Band should induce a dancing frenzy, while the Bay Area's blues-guitarist and singer Volker Strifler may drop some jaws with his level of hard-blues talent. Also performing is Santa Cruz's favorite blues band Harpin' Jonny, who will feature many locally respected musicians.
"It's all about local," said Moore. "I want to feature our top craftsmen, chefs and restaurants, breweries and wineries all in one spot, and what better place to do it than the place I call home."
Guinivere, from Monterey, started cooking at age 9 and graduated from the California Culinary Academy at age 20 in the Top 3 of his class in 1984. Within two years he owned his first restaurant, in Concord. In 1998 he launched the website Cheflive.com, which produces TV and Internet cooking shows.
"My whole life has revolved around food, but I've never done an event like this, and would not even think about it without Tanya," he said. "We have everything you need for a great party — lots of great food starring bacon, great music and craft beers. It takes a lot to put on a festival, and I have a new respect for all those who've done it. This has been one of the biggest challenges in my life."
Those living near the fairgrounds will wake up to the aroma of bacon on Saturday, but will have to wait until the gates open at noon. The festival runs until 6p.m., followed by an exclusive after-party. General admission tickets are $40 ($50 at the gate), and VIP passes with all the perks start at $75 ('VIP only' early-entrance at 11a.m. for a private concert by Rollin' & Tumblin' in the Turf Club, with a host-bar, exclusive food samplings and "swiney" swag bags). The after-party will feature more music from Rollin' & Tumblin' along with surprise musical guests. After-party tickets are $10.
All tickets are available at www.ticketderby.com or at Montrio, Peter B's Brew Pub inside the Portola Hotel & Spa and Pajaro Street Bar and Grill in Salinas.
Raffle tickets will be sold and announced each hour for a chance to win prizes, including packaged-weekend vacations. Proceeds from raffle sales go to the Drummond Culinary Academy in Salinas, with all bottled water and soda proceeds going to The Family Network adoption agency in Soquel.
If you go
·What: Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival
·Where: Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey
·When: noon to 6p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27
·Tickets: $40 general admission ($50 at the gate); VIP packages start at $75; after-party $10; at www.ticketderby.com.
If you go