Joanne Weir’s ‘Plates & Places’ at the Sonoma International Film Festival, Plus a Dinner With Jacques Pépin: Culinary Events Not to Miss

In addition to screening the best in new, independent cinema from around the world, the 25th anniversary Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) delivers some of the best culinary experiences from some of the world’s best chefs.

Joanne Weir is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, international cooking teacher and renowned chef. In Marin, she is most famous for owning Copita, a modern Mexican restaurant and tequileria in Sausalito, California, in partnership with restaurateur extraordinaire, Larry Mindel.

This years’ SIFF hosts Joanne Weir’s Plates & Places Lunch, presented by Northern California Public Radio, on Friday, March 25, with Marin Magazine and MacArthur Place Hotel as supporting sponsors. Chef Weir presents a three-course menu, inspired by her award-winning PBS cooking and travel show of the same name, including highlights from her show. The lunch also includes select wines and Thomas Adams Chocolates.

A fourth generation professional chef, Joanne spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and studied with Madeleine Kamman in France. Her ultimate calling is teaching others to cook throughout the world. She has had several award-winning television series, including “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Class”, “Weir Cooking in the Wine Country” and most recently, “Joanne Weir’s Plates and Places”, which features segments filmed during her culinary journeys throughout the Mediterranean. She has also published many books, including From Tapas to Meze, which was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Another amazing culinary event is the The SIFF | Devour! Chefs & Shorts Dinner on Thursday, March 24, which honors Chef Jacques Pépin with its first SIFF Culinary Excellence Award, and donates a $10,000 honorarium to the Jacques Pépin Foundation. The five-course meal — a course each from notable chefs Michael Howell (Devour! The Food Film Festival), Roland Passot (La Folie, Left Bank), Seadon Shouse (Timber Cove Resort), among others — is paired with a short food film and wines, creating an alchemy of culinary magnitude benefitting the beloved and admired Chef Pépin.  

Chef Jacques Pepin. Photo courtesy of Tom Hopkins
Chef Jacques Pepin. Photo by Tom Hopkins.

The iconic chef, television host, cookbook author, instructor and fine artist is culinary royalty, who has served as personal chef to three French heads of state, had a cooking show with Julia Child, is the publisher of multiple books including La Technique, and has been the star of over a dozen KQED cooking shows. He is also the founder of the Jacques Pépin Foundation, which supports free culinary and life skills training through community based organizations, helping individuals detached from the workforce gain confidence, skills, and employment in food service.

Robert Mark Kamen

And speaking of all things culinary, veteran screenwriter, and Sonoma vintner, Robert Mark Kamen, lent some of his famous lines from his iconic films — Karate Kid, Taken, The Fifth Element and Transporter — for a commemorative, limited edition set of plates celebrating SIFF’s milestone anniversary. Available as a four piece set or by individual plate, all purchases support the nonprofit.

Limited capacity tickets for both events and the plates are available at The best way to enjoy the festival is to buy a pass. Three levels are available, each providing various benefits during the live festival, as well as year round live and virtual events and screenings and discounts. Check out pass levels and benefit details at

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