azcentral.com Food & Wine Experience azcentralfoodandwine.com presented by Cadillac returns Nov. 4-6, 2016, featuring popular celebrity chef Mario Batali, a new Friday night opening event, 44 restaurants so far, and an expanded footprint that takes the diverse culinary showcase to award-winning Salt River fields.
Pre-sale tickets are available at azcentralfoodandwine.com featuring:
§ Opening Night “First Course,” Fri., Nov. 4
§ Grand Tasting of 70 restaurants over Sat and Sun, Nov. 5 & 6
§ Seated Dining Experiences [separately ticketed] Sat and Sun, Nov. 5 & 6
Mi-Ai Parrish, President & Publisher of Republic Media, said: “Year one of azcentral Food & Wine Experience was a special time for our guests, visiting and resident chefs, vintners, mixologists, spirits purveyors, and our sponsors. In year two, we fully anticipate topping ourselves and cordially invite everyone to reserve this weekend in November.”
Friday First Course. Fri., Nov. 4, opening night reception, 5:30-8pm, First Course is a gourmet evening under the stars, the convivial kickoff of the 2016 event, featuring tastings, music, wine, specialty cocktails and even potential celebrity chef appearances. The evening supports nonprofit, The Joy Bus thejoybus.org, dedicated to delivering fresh and healthy meals to homebound cancer patients.
Grand Tasting Saturday & Sunday. Azcentral Food & Wine Experience continues Sat., Nov. 5, and Sun., Nov. 6, with the Grand Tasting featuring at least 35 restaurants each day, with a largely different roster of restaurants and chefs Saturday and Sunday; unlimited food sampling; 200 varieties of wine; craft beer & spirits tastings; rare demonstrations & master seminars. A variety of Grand Tasting tickets are available, starting at $75 for azcentral subscribers offering a package that includes Chef Mario’s new book, at azcentral.com/insider. [Grand Tasting tickets do not include Seated Dining Experiences.]
The lineup of Grand Tasting packages ranges from the Saturday all-inclusive Molto Mario Grand Tasting to the two-day VIP Grand Tasting all available at azcentralfoodandwine.com:
- Molto Mario Batali Grand Tasting -Saturday only. Entry at noon. Mingle with Chef Mario Batali, co-host of ABC’s Emmy award-winning talk show “The Chew” in the AJ’s Fine Foods VIP Lounge. Includes all VIP Grand Tasting perks [see below]; Mario’s new book, 12 noon entry. Featuring exclusive passed hors d’oeuvres and beverages in AJ’s VIP Lounge. Limited availability. [Pre-sale $200]
§ VIP Grand Tasting -Saturday and Sunday. Entry at noon; enjoy all the Grand Tasting perks [see below], plus receive Mario’s new book; preferred parking, enjoy AJ’s Fine Foods VIP Lounge with passed hors d’oeuvres and beverages; private demonstrations and tastings from wineries and distilleries; preferred seating at Grand Tasting stage demonstrations [reserved first-come first-served]; VIP facilities [restrooms] [Pre-sale $120]
§ Grand Tasting -Saturday and Sunday Entry at 1pm; enjoy unlimited sampling of creations by at least 35 restaurants each day with a new restaurant roster on Saturday and Sunday; sip from 200 fine wines, rare craft beers, distinctive spirits; demonstrations, rare seminars and panel discussions. [Pre-sale $85]
§ Designated Driver -Saturday & Sunday. Entry at 1pm; for those who prefer not to drink alcoholic beverages or are a designated driver for the day; same enjoyment as Grand Tasting, above. [Pre-sale $65]
§ Subscribers to the Azcentral.com and The Arizona Republic -Saturday only. Entry at 1pm; this Grand Tasting package includes a FREE signed copy of Mario Batali’s new book out this fall, plus preferred position in line at book signing. Visit azcentral.com/insider to purchase this package. [Pre-sale $75]
Seated Dining Experiences Saturday & Sunday. Azcentral Food & Wine Experience also features extraordinary seated dining Experiences with paired beverages included, in a private Orchard setting. Chefs host and provide guests an insider’s view of culinary inspirations and coveted techniques. These are separately ticketed, limited-seating events and exclude the Grand Tasting. Seated Dining Experience pre-sale tickets are available at azcentralfoodandwine.com; the initial lineup includes:
Seated Dining Experiences Sat. Nov. 5:
§ Lunch with Mario Batali. Join global favorite Mario Batali for this midday mangia — an exclusive lunch featuring recipes inspired by Mario’s new cookbook. Guests receive Mario’s new book –included with lunch purchase. Limited availability. [Pre-sale $99] Sat. Nov. 5, noon
§ Scotch, Steaks & Stogies. James Porter, Christopher Gross & friends deliver the Happiest of Happy Hours! Porter leads with a high-country experience straight from TERRA farm + manor, his exclusive spot in Williamson Valley. [$39 pre-sale] Saturday, Nov. 5, 3-5pm
§ Not Your Average BBQ & Brews. Scott Holmes, Stephen Jones & Bernie Kantak elevate the classic American barbecue. Think wagu beef vs classic pulled pork! Select beer pairings included. [$49 pre-sale] Saturday Nov. 5-8pm
Seated Dining Experiences Sun., Nov 6:
§ Eat. Drink. Give. Sisterhood of the Stove is the 13 female-chef lineup* presenting their gourmet bites & cocktails in a mini Grand Tasting. Music, laughter and goodness. Benefiting The Joy Bus
*featuring Chrysa Robertson of Rancho Pinot; Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals; Charleen Badman of FnB; BJ Hernandez of the now-closed Havana Café; Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery; Helen Yung of Sweet; Shannon Plowman of La Vie Marketplace & Cafe in Pinetop; Danielle Leoni of the Breadfruit & Rum Bar; Tammie Coe of Tammie Coe; Eugenia Theodosopoulos of Essence Bakery; Rachel Miller of Pistol Whipped Pastry; Olashawn Weaver of The Wild Thaiger; Sacha Levine of Ocotillo .[$99 pre-sale] Sunday, Nov. 6, 11am-1pm
§ East Meets West. Nobuo Fukuda & Friends beckon guests to savor cuisine of the East with a West Coast flair. Be forever enlightened with insights on delicate yet satiating creations. [$39 pre-sale] Sunday, Nov. 6, 12:30-2:30pm
§ The Grand Finale. Gio Osso & Friends present a superlative multi-course meal with fabulous pairings, capping off 3 days of rare food and beverages. A finale passionately prepared. [$99 pre-sale] Sunday Nov 7, 5pm
Celebrity Chef Mario Batali. Chef Batali is special guest Sat., Nov. 5, just as his newest cookbook lands on store shelves this fall. Batali is known for his numerous television shows, and an ever-expanding empire that includes 26 restaurants from New York to Las Vegas to Singapore, 10 cookbooks to date and his daily cohost duties on ABC-TV’s The Chew.
The celebrity chef will present “Lunch with Mario Batali,” a seated dining Experience Saturday; and also mingle in the AJ’s VIP Lounge with guests who purchase a “Molto Mario Grand Tasting” ticket. And of course he’ll appear throughout the event, as well as conduct a book-signing. More coming soon.
James Beard Award-winner Christopher Gross commented on last year’s inaugural event: “It was nicer than I could have imagined it. It reminded me of Aspen Food and Wine, but better. I was very happy to be involved and the chefs from out of town were friends. It was fantastic seeing and working with them.”
Robert McGrath, another James Beard Award winner, and host of Arizona PBS Emmy award-winning Check, Please! Arizona, said: “Having done food festivals all over the United States, this particular one was over the top. I was proud to see Scottsdale step up. I think this is the Barrett-Jackson of food festivals in Arizona.”