Scott Conant disproves cutthroat reputation at Wine & Food Experience

LOS ANGELES — Scott Conant, known for his cutthroat criticism as a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped,” came to the USA TODAY Wine and Food Experience in Los Angeles on a mission.

He wanted to prove he’s actually nice.

“I want people to leave realizing I’m much nicer than they make me look on my TV show,” Conant told USA TODAY, ahead of his live cooking demonstration.

While making a ricotta gnudi for the crowd, the TV personality showed off not only his cooking skills, but also his sense of humor.

“I can see you laughing that this is disgusting! It’s really good I promise you!” he said at one point, while piling on butter.

According to Conant, live events like these give fans “a little bit of an insight.”

“The difference is that’s me unedited,” he said. “I like to have fun. I’m the biggest clown in the room whenever I’m shooting a show or I’m in the restaurants or I’m just hanging out. So I feel like it’s a little bit of a glimpse to see who I am in actuality.”

Conant was one of a handful of famous foodies at Los Angeles Center Studios for the festival Saturday afternoon. For three hours, guests mingled in the hot sun, sipping wine and munching on dishes at the downtown venue. 

The USA TODAY Wine and Food Experience came to Los Angeles Center Studios Nov. 10, hosting approximately 2,000 guests, according to festival organizers.

The USA TODAY Wine and Food Experience tour kicked off Sept. 7 in Brooklyn, New York, and has since had stops in Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Arizona. Its last two stops will take place in Chicago and Naples, Florida, this month.

According to festival organizers, 30 vendors and about 2,000 people were in attendance at the LA event.

“This festival gives you the best of the best,” Brie Bella told USA TODAY, in a joint interview with her identical twin, Nikki. “It’s like Vegas.”

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