An Interview With The KAABOO Celebrity Chefs

As you most certainly know by now, the four-year-old music festival KAABOO Del Mar is back, with headliners this year by Katy Perry, The Foo Fighters, Blondie, Halsey, Post Malone and Imagine Dragons.

Additionally, the PALATE program was announced, adding A-list celebrity chefs to the already stacked KAABOO lineup!

World-renown chefs that are participating in the PALATE program include Michael Mina, Ludo Lefebvre, Marc Forgione, Michelle Bernstein and Daniela Soto-Innes. San Diego celebrity chefs Richard Blais and Brian Malarkey are also to be featured at the three-day festival on Sept 14-16.

I was lucky to interview two of the celebrity chefs that are going to be featured, Michelle Bernstein, who is the owner of MBA Michelle Bernstein Catering company and known for her delicious Latin Flavors. The second is an Iron Chef and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” Marc Forgione.

Here’s a sneak peak of what they are most excited about.

What’s your favorite aspect about the dish you’re going to be showcasing at KAABOO? Which artist from KAABOO would you pair this particular dish with?

Michelle: The fact that I’m using ingredient 4-5 ways! Foo Fighters; they’ve been around as long as I have and seem to love all genres…

Marc: I really love showing people how to take one animal and use all the different parts so I’m excited to show people how to break down a beautiful whole fish and use the belly, collar, bones, etc. in a variety of different dishes. I would pair this dish with Alice and Chains since they’re from one of my favorite cities, Seattle, which is also known for it’s amazing seafood.

Which artist are you most excited about?

Marc: I’m definitely most excited about Stone Temple Pilots

Michelle: OMG! I can’t narrow that down! Billie Idol was the first concert I’ve ever been to; my sons favorite artist (he’s 6) is Katy Perry. I love Imagine Dragons and their music but especially for what they are doing for the LGBTQ community; Boulevards and Nelly are both equally amazing and so talented, Better Than Ezra…I could go on forever.

What’s your go-to San Diego food or drink spot / or dish?

Marc: I actually haven’t been to San Diego in a really long time but I’m looking forward to eating all the great seafood in the area!

Michelle: I’m embarrassed to say I have only been in San Diego once and it was only for 8 hours!

At what point did you know you wanted to focus on food for a living?

Michelle: At 21; I had studied nutrition, thought it was the food focus I was looking for but then I began professionally cooking and the rest is history.

Marc: Because of who my father is, I definitely tried to resist following the path of being a chef but when I realized cooking is what I really loved doing I decided to stop fighting my destiny, haha.

Can Miami Latin cuisine work outside of Miami? Say in San Diego? What lesser known Latin dish would you recommend?

Michelle: Of course! It can work anywhere! I would go for a Picadillo with a side of ripe plantains, frijoles negros and white rice!

How do you self-describe your cooking style?

Marc: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I’ve been really lucky to work with some amazing people who have different cooking styles – American, French, Japanese, Laotian, etc. so my food is always influenced by many cooking styles and techniques.

Michelle: Clean, fun, powerful flavors

See you at KAABOO!

I can’t wait to see what these amazing chefs come up with!

About Food with Frances

Frances is a half Japanese, half English food and wine lover. She was born in Tokyo and has lived internationally (Hong Kong, London, Vancouver) most of her life.  She moved to LA when she was 17 years old, but now calls San Diego home. She went to UC San Diego and Kings College London. She currently works at a media company and gets to hob nob with some amazing food and wine people. She’s a certified wine specialist and has  collaborated with experts in the restaurant industry for over nine years.  She’s happy to chat about food, wine, and your favorite spots! Fun fact: she can also respond in Japanese :). Visit her site to learn more.