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Disney's California Food and Wine Festival kicks off this week

Event begins Friday in Anaheim and features chef demonstrations, cooking classes, wine pairings.

BY Beth HartnettPublished: April 20, 2009 12:49 PM

Disney Resorts are preparing for the annual California Food and Wine Festival, which starts Friday in Anaheim. Themed World Celebration, the festival is expanding to six weeks this year and will run through June 7. The event will feature more than 600 complimentary experiences, including demonstrations at Sunshine Plaza and the Pacific Warf areas, and wine, beer and spirits seminars and tasting.

Ticketed events include everything from question-and-answer sessions with celebrity chefs to dinners that celebrate different cuisines of the world. Though the complimentary events occur all summer long, tickets for signature events can be purchased at disneyland.com/foodandwine.

To get a look at some of the delights featured during one of the signature events – the Winemaker Dinners at Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel – the OC METRO Minute joined Chef Jason Martin, the man who plans the dinners. For Martin's full Yukon Potato Stack recipe, click here.

The Winemaker Dinners offer a chance to dine with selected winemakers and learn their techniques for food and wine pairing. They cost $135 and begin at 6:30 p.m. throughout Fridays in May. This year's winemakers include: Nat Komes from Flora Springs Winery on May 8; Kenny Koda of Rudd Family Wines on May 15; and Pat Henderson of Kenwood Vineyards on May 29.

The festival will also offer a smattering of other events around the park that highlight California's cuisine and wines:

Behind the Scenes with ... Meet your favorite celebrity chefs and stars from renowned cooking shows at question-and-answer sessions during the festival. The events will begin with appetizers inspired by the chefs' creations, paired with wines, as well as photo opportunities. The program costs $185 and takes place in the Animation Courtyard at California Adventure from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on select dates. Among this year's guests:

Tommy Lasorda of Lasorda Wines shares his Italian wines on May 21; and Guy Fieri of the Food Network, whose shows include "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" on May 31.

Sweet Sundays Learn how to make your weekends that much sweeter with all new Sweet Sundays, running from 10:30 to noon all six weeks at the Golden Vine Winery. For $65, enjoy a light champagne brunch and learn to make three signature desserts with acclaimed pastry chefs. They include: Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.'s Elaine Ardizzone and Donna Cellere on May 3; MILK's Bret Thompson and Dave Baker on May 17; and Keegan Gerhard of D Bar Desserts and also host of the Food Network's "Food Network Challenge."

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