Let the Food Festivals Begin!

By Kay Kipling January 4, 2011

Well, I can see my New Year’s resolution just went out the window. How can I resist these tempting events that serve fabulous wines with guest chefs preparing their culinary best dishes? Certainly I cannot follow a diet shake plan any sooner than February with all these scrumptious events about to happen. See below for yourself and you will understand…


An exciting new event will take place highlighting the dining scene of Bradenton. Four local restaurants and their chefs host a chef's competition at Mattison's Riverside Restaurant on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. Competing are Chef David Shiplett of SoMa, Chef Greg Campbell of Mattison's Riverside, Chef Gaetano Cannata of Ortygia Restaurant and Chef Alana Gerling of MartiniVille.

The chefs will prepare an entrée and dessert and will be judged by the audience and local food judges. Guests will enjoy a champagne reception and one bottle of wine per couple throughout the evening. A cash bar will also be available, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Women's Resource Center of Manatee through a raffle and auction. Tickets are $55 per person for this special and fun event.

For tickets, contact the sponsor, Taste Dining & Travel, at (941) 366-7950.



A star-studded cast of celebrity chefs will join­ The Gasparilla Inn & Club and executive chef Peter Timmins for the resort’s Fifth Annual Food and Wine Weekend. A multi-course Master Chef’s Dinner is the conclusion to the weekend, scheduled for Jan. 14 to Jan. 16. Gourmands and wine enthusiasts are invited to savor fine wine and discover new culinary flavors, led by Timmins and a host of guest chefs including Rick Tramonto and John Folse.


The weekend begins Friday evening with a welcome reception celebrating global flavors. Guests can explore the wines and foods of the world’s most famous culinary regions, including Alsace, Southern Italy, Japan and Argentina. Samplings of wines from each region will be paired with an array of flavorful dishes. On Saturday, guests are invited to attend culinary events including a Napa Valley wine tasting and a Cajun cooking demonstration with Chef Folse, the celebrated Louisiana chef and restaurateur.


Reservations are highly recommended; call (800) 996-1913 or (941) 964-4500.



This year’s Winter Carnival takes place Jan. 20, 21 and 22 at both the Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island and The Concession Golf Club in Manatee County. Proceeds from this food/wine/golf weekend benefit All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

The weekend starts off with an intimate dinner at the Beach Bistro on Thursday, Jan. 20. A seasonal luncheon at The Concession Golf Club as well as a golf tournament on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course takes place Friday, Jan. 21. That night Sean Murphy organizes an informal food and wine tasting of major proportions.

There’s a noon wine seminar Saturday, Jan. 22, hosted by Professor Michael Weiss of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Festivities conclude with a gala multi-course tasting dinner on Saturday night at The Concession Golf Club, hosted by famed chef Roy Yamaguchi (founder of Roy’s) and several celebrity guest chefs from all over the country.



Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, a four-day festival presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, unites food, wine and beer enthusiasts with regional chefs and vintners from around the world. The festival features winemaker events at area restaurants (Jan. 28, 29 and 30); interactive food and wine seminars (Jan. 29); The Grand Tasting in The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard (Jan. 30); and a trade event for area restaurants, retailers, and hotels (Jan. 31).

For more information, visit or call (941) 955-3663.



See, I told you it was going to be a tasteful month!

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