Masters of Taste 2022 returns to the Rose Bowl

It felt for years like we may never get here again but finally, the day has come where we can laugh and eat together at a food festival – but this one is outside on the field at the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl stadium. Come celebrate and be part of the 5th Anniversary Masters of Taste, L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival that will take place on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Masters of Taste is introducing Chef Vanda Asapahu as its first-ever female Host Chef of Masters of Taste 2022. Culinary Master and 2022 Host Chef Vanda Asapahu is the chef and owner of Ayara Thai and she has participated in Masters of Taste since the event’s inception in April 2016. Read about LaLaScoop’s time at Ayara Thai with Chef Vandu at her family’s location near LAX or at a drive-in movie night during the pandemic. We also wrote about Ayara Thai in LA Weekly in 2018 – Where to Dine and Unwind near LAX.

Asapahu went to college at UCLA and to graduate school at Yale, then she spent four years living, traveling, and working her way through Thailand before returning home to Los Angeles. During Asapahu’s stay in her native country, she took extensive notes, which included absorbing the Bangkok Street Food scene and reviving old family recipes. After cooking with relatives and eating her way through the streets and countryside, Asapahu brought back treasured old recipes and new flavors to share at Ayara Thai. While her mother, Anna Asapahu, still helms the family kitchen, Asapahu is the vanguard, taking up the torch of her family’s culinary tradition at Ayara Thai, and under her leadership in May of 2019 Ayara Thai was named one of Michelin Guide California’s 2019 Bib Gourmands.     

“I have had the pleasure of participating in Masters of Taste since its inaugural year,” states Asapahu. “As a proud UCLA alum (Go Bruins!), I’d give anything for the opportunity to cook, eat, and dance on the field of the Rose Bowl. Now I get to! The most amazing thing about Masters of Taste is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services and not many food festivals can say that. Union Station Homeless Services is committed to ending homelessness in Los Angeles.”

Masters of Taste 2022 will bring over 3,000 food and beverage enthusiasts together for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 100 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, top Beverage Masters who will be featuring signature handcrafted cocktail tastings from over 25 spirit brands and bars, along with select wineries, local craft breweries, cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, live entertainment and much, much more.  

This year, Masters of Taste falls in April, during which Thai New Year, Songkran, is also celebrated. Chef Vanda has invited 3 other L.A. Thai restaurants, to participate in the Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion, a celebration spanning the Rose Bowl’s end zone. The transformation will reflect a traditional Thai sundry general store and Songkran festival. As a culinary challenge, each Thai restaurant will prepare a dish, dessert, and/or cocktail using a common paste, sahm kler (which translates to “3 buddies”), and comprises white peppercorn, garlic, and cilantro root. This aromatic mixture is used in a variety of Thai dishes and is quite possibly the reason why Thai food is so special. Like sahm kler, the 3 buddies paste, the 3 other restaurants comprising the Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion are 3 of Chef Vanda’s personal buddies!        

Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to providing permanent solutions to end homelessness and rebuild lives. Headquartered in Pasadena, CA, Union Station has served the community for nearly 50 years and today it is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting homeless and very low-income adults and families. In addition to its recent expansion into El Sereno and Eagle Rock, Union Station Homeless Services is the lead County agency for Service Planning Area 3 (SPA 3), coordinating homeless services in 36 communities, with a combined population of over 1.5 million across the San Gabriel Valley. Union Station HomelessServices’ mission is guided by the belief that everyone deserves a life of dignity and a place to call home. In the last four years, Masters of Taste has raised over $2 Million in support of Union Station Homeless Services’ life-saving programs.

This year Masters of Taste 2022 will partner with Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, Los Angeles (C-CAP LA), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by culinary educator Richard Grausman in 1990 and Co-Chaired by Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) provides culinary, job, and life skills to over 20,000 middle-and-high school students in seven regions across the United States: New York CityNewarkPhiladelphia and CamdenChicagoLos AngelesWashington D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Arizona, including 7 Navajo Reservation schools and was named a National Apprenticeship Program by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2021.

Due to the restaurant industry labor shortage, the Los Angeles Region, C-CAP LA will be partnering with Masters of Taste by bringing high school student volunteers to assist this year’s Masters of Taste 2022 Culinary and Sweet Masters throughout the event to gain real-time event training while helping support these incredible chefs and restaurants that are participating in this year’s event.

Masters of Taste 2022 is made possible through the generous support of our Platinum Sponsors, Beam Suntory. The Songkran Thai SELECT Pavilion is made possible by Thai Trade Center Los Angeles, including Thai SPIRIT, Department of International Trade Promotion, Singha, N.A. Trading Company, Theppadungporn Coconut Co., and Sunlee. Gold Sponsors include Judith L. Chiara Foundation, US Bank , and Western Asset Management. The event is also made possible by Silver Sponsors: AppDynamics, Capital Group, Charlie and Rene Chiara, Hannah and Russ Kully, Homebridge Financial Services, Inc., HomeStreet Bank, Jim & Cary Moore, John and Marie Queen, Kaiser Permanente, Liz & Rhodes Trussell, Philip and Nancy Naecker, Union Bank MUFG, Vickie and Alex Taylor, Wells Fargo, Woodford Reserve; and Bronze Sponsors: ADP Foundation, Avantis Investors, Bank of America, Bart and Pam Wald, Catherine Simms & Garrett Bell, City National Bank, David & Janet Lazier, HKG LLP, Lonnie and Lorraine Schield, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, Sally Lash, Terry & Teresa Krupczak, Verlasso, Wendy Lees & Tom Boyle and Westport Construction. 

Ticket Information: Masters of Taste 2022 will take place on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022. A VIP Power Hour will be held from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and General Admission will be from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tickets to this event are only available for guests 21+ and over. For more information on Masters of Taste 2022 or to book your tickets directly, please visit https://mastersoftastela.com/tickets/.

Transportation and Parking: Guests are encouraged to utilize car services – Lyft, Uber, Taxi, etc. – since this event does serve alcoholic beverages and is a 21+ and over event. Complimentary parking is also available at the Rose Bowl.

Where: Pasadena Rose Bowl – 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103.

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