Tasty Times

By staff March 1, 2009

Hanging out with celeb chefs at the Naples Winter Wine Festival—and more.


By Judi Gallagher

Emeril and Norman compare ideas before whipping up extraordinary wine dinners for the Naples Winter Wine Festival.


It has been a good week for culinary events. First, down in Naples I attended the newly added “Meet the Chefs” event for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, (with plans to return for a weekend getaway to the Inn at Fifth). From Emeril Lagasse to Norman van Aken, the famous chefs mingled with some of the culinary locals for a delightful afternoon of tasting and insight. Norman Van Aken sees a “better late than never attitude” with the farm to table movement slowly catching on in Florida. Emeril, who is looking fit and trim, has recently added small plate dining to his New Orleans restaurant; and everyone agreed that supporting the Naples Winter Wine Festival, (which raised $5 million this year) is a toast to the children of Collier County. Next up on the Wine Festival circuit-Sarasota’s own Florida Winefest and Auction, April 23rd- 26th with some new seminars and tastings added to fit all budgets. I recommend grabbing your tickets early before they sell out. 

The big hitters celebrate their newest event for the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

 Leave it to Gail Greco to plan an incredible experience of Venetian cuisine and culture for this year’s Italian Cultural Club luncheon. The red snapper and grilled radicchio and fennel at Michael’s on East was delicioso, but it was the spirit and good nature, history (and great shoes) that Gail provided that set the tone of the day. We missed the delightful Angel Algeri, who is recouping from back surgery, but her loyal board of directors did her proud.

It's all about the food, right?


The annual Girl Scout Cookie Bake off on Sunday, March 1 was a great sugar rush, and I was thrilled to be preparing a dessert for the cooking demo with weatherman and great cook, John Scalzi. While John was creating his trifle with two types of Girl Scout cookies, I attempted a baked lemon pudding with lemon chalet cremes- of course we did have to try a few boxes to help tweak our recipes- (recipes will be on

John Scalzi and I whip up a little fun together for the Girl Scouts.


March 8 brings back Chocolate Sunday benefiting UCP at Michael’s On East, so get ready to “get your cocoa on.” There’s also the Iron Chef competition for the Manasota Legal Aid over at Polo Grill. Rumor is Mr. Chatterbox is one of the judges- I had better behave!
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