May has been FOOD BOWL month in Los Angeles, a 31-day festival of curated events produced by the Los Angeles Times to celebrate the city’s dynamic and diverse culinary scene and bring awareness to food waste and hunger through programs with chefs and food-justice activists. The charity partners include No Kid Hungry, PATH & Food Forward.

Last night I was among the two dozen or so journalists and influencers invited to a “friends + family pairings dinner” at Plant Food + Wine in Venice. These dinners have been held every Friday night in May, a collaboration between Chef Matthew Kenney and his plant-based lifestyle brand Plantlab and the luxury champagne purveyor Moët & Chandon.

Both companies are committed to sustainability. Chef Matthew wants to “craft the future of food to support the rapidly global demand for cuisine that is sustainable, nourishing and flavorful.” His restaurants include Plant Food + Wine in both Venice and Miami, Double Zero in NYC, Make Out in Culver City, plnthouse at the 1 Hotel in South Beach, Florida, and Matthew Kenney NM at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills.

Moët & Chandon has a long-term vision of sustainable growth. It holds dual certifications in “High Environmental Value” and “Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne.” Their commitment to green initiatives has deep, deep roots; after all, this is a Champagne house that dates back to 1743. By 2018, the vineyards will be completely herbicide free. In addition to carbon footprint reduction goals, water reduction and energy consumption reduction initiatives, electric vehicles and tractors are used for all daily operations.

The food that Chef Matthew and his team beautifully plated was every bit as luxurious as the bubbles. Dishes included smoked hummus crostini paired with Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008, hearts of palm ceviche complemented by Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial Rosé, a gorgeous vegan heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna with macadamia ricotta and pistachio pesto that was served with Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2008.

Plant Food + Wine’s lovely patio is available for buyout and culinary workshops are offered on the second floor of the restaurant, which overlooks that plant-filled space.

Held at the United Center Sept. 21-23, 2018, the Laver Cup—a men’s tennis tournament pitting six top European players against six of their counterparts—marked the first time this major event has been held in the United States. Total event attendance was more than 93,000 people, with fans from around the world traveling to Chicago for an unforgettable experience with the game’s best players. “The Laver Cup was a huge win for Chicago,” says Kara Bachman, executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission.

 

Lucky Strike served as the host venue for the third-annual Hospitality Fest, which gathered more than 750 meeting and event planning professionals for a four-hour evening event. With the goal of spotlighting options across Chicagoland for holiday parties, 74 table sponsors showcased ideas for F&B, event spaces and corporate activities. The teams and volunteers wore bowling shirts with presenting title sponsors’ names on the front to create a fun, laidback atmosphere.

 

From new interactive F&B ideas to clever ways for introducing bold flavors to picky palettes, consider this your guide to more creative cuisine in 2019.