Browsing articles in "food festivals"
Mar 7, 2014
Tina George

A taste of Le Tour is on the menu at Leeds food festival showcase

Yorkshire’s produce is famed around the world but in a special year for the county, a food and drink showcase will get a continental twist.

Just a month before the Tour de France rolls into town on July 5 and 6, tens of thousands of food-lovers will get a taste of what is to come as French culinary treats sit alongside traditional regional fare at the Leeds Food and Drink Festival 2014 from May 23 to June 8.

Spread across the city, the event will run over three main weekends and include a Kids Food Festival at The Tetley, in Hunslet, for the first week and the Yorkshire Food and Drink Show, in Millennium Square, from June 6 to 8.

Organisers of the festival aim for it to become the UK’s biggest and best urban food festival as it once again celebrates Yorkshire’s renowned culinary scene.

A brand new Yorkshire Post Le Grand DeParty section will showcase French food and drink including artisan breads, wines and cheeses as well as French cooking from the likes of Brasserie Blanc on the final weekend – marking a month until Le Tour’s arrival.

Nicola Furbisher, Yorkshire Post managing editor, said: “Excitement about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire is building – we’re already giving it huge amounts of coverage.

“What better way to celebrate it than to give a truly French flavour to this wonderful festival.”

As part of the YP event visitors will have the chance to ride a special Yorkshire Post-branded bicycle which will be mounted on a stand, with the fastest to ‘Go The Mile’ winning a special prize.

“You don’t need to be a professional cyclist or even a huge cycling fan to be part of the Tour de France celebrations, Le Grand Departy is proof of that. Enjoy the festival and enjoy the ride,” Mrs Furbisher added.

The festival will also see the return of the popular Pink Shed pop-up dining experience, which saw different restaurants serve intimate meals to select diners in a one-off venue in Trinity Leeds last year. Festival-goers will find the attraction inside the centre’s Trinity Kitchen food hall throughout the two weeks.

Organisers Leeds and Partners, in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Yorkshire Post, are hopeful that Yorkshire’s food and drink producers, restaurants, cafes, bars, critics and connoisseurs will get involved this year.

Opportunities for firms include themed or special products and menus, displays, events, special offers and recipes.

Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, explained that the Leeds City Region is rightly capitalising on the fact it produces 12.5 per cent of the UK’s food and drink turnover.

She said: “We have the credentials to hold and grow an amazing celebration of the region’s produce.

“These credentials mean our ambition for the Leeds Food and Drink Festival to become one of the largest and best attended food festivals in the UK is now more than an aspiration.”

She added that the region is home to one of the UK’s largest grocery chains in Asda, one of this year’s major event sponsors, as well as having a deservedly strong reputation for its independent food and drink scene.

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, said the firm will be encouraging colleagues to get involved in the two weeks of events that are taking place across the city.

Over just three days of the Yorkshire Food and Drink Show, in Millennium Square, over 60 businesses took part and 60,000 visitors attended in 2013.

And over the two weeks of last year’s festival, Leeds saw an 11 per cent increase in city centre footfall.

Coun Gerry Harper, deputy executive board member for development and economy at Leeds City Council, said: “The Leeds and Yorkshire food scene is something that we are incredibly proud of.

“Perhaps more importantly, food is great at bringing people together and helping to create a sense of community, that’s why we think the Leeds Food and Drink Festival is so important.”

HUGE INVESTMENT IN CYCLING FUTURE

The UK’s Tour de France triumphs have led to a raft of schemes aimed at getting people cycling in Yorkshire.

A 14-mile cycling super highway from east Leeds to Bradford, with Government part funding the £30m plan, is in the pipeline and should be complete by September 2015.

It comes after £77m of Department for Transport funding for UK cycling projects was announced in August.

Others include four South Yorkshire cycling routes through the Peak District dubbed phase two of Pedal Peak, while a feasibility study is currently underway to find whether a national cycling highway broadly following the planned HS2 rail route could be implemented.

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Mar 7, 2014
Tina George

South Australia Could Be the New Food and Wine Capital of the World

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South Australia food and wine

Is South Australia the food and wine capital of the world?

If you think Australian foodie culture extends about as far as meat pies and cold, metallic lager, then prepare to be surprised.

(PRWEB) March 06, 2014

Exsus, the luxury tour operator, and Shout, the multi-award-winning strategic digital agency, have collaborated on a long-form epicurean experience that explores the best of South Australia’s burgeoning foodie scene.

With features including an exclusive interview with the region’s legendary celebrity cook and restaurateur, Maggie Beer, and an exploration of the fascinating history of South Australian wine, interspersed with the view from the ground from many of the great and the good of South Australian cuisine and viniculture, the project offers a taste of a newly-minted food and wine capital. Users can discover the myriad highlights of eating and drinking SA-style, from street food festivals, to unimpeachably fresh fish, to luxe, beachy picnics, to wine that’s celebrated around the world.

The project celebrates the launch of Exsus’ tailor-made Australasia and South Pacific holidays, and the arrival of top Australia and New Zealand travel expert, Annette Morrissey.

To experience it for yourself, please visit:

South Australia food and Wine

The London-based tour operator specialises in creating bespoke, luxury holidays and tailor-made tours and itineraries around the world. For further information, please visit: http://www.exsus.com

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Mar 7, 2014
Tina George

Food and drink festival aims to be UK’s biggest

Organisers of the Leeds Food and Drink Festival have set out their ambition for the event to become the UK’s biggest urban food festival in the UK as the 2014 edition launches.

Running from 23 May until 8 June, local and regional businesses are being encouraged by Leeds Partners to get involved at the event which has Asda as headline sponsor together with support from Trinity Leeds and The Tetley.

The 2013 food festival saw record-breaking levels of participation and attendance, with more than 60 businesses taking part and 60,000 visitors attending the three days of the Yorkshire Food and Drink Show.

Over the two weeks of the festival, Leeds experienced an 11 per cent increase in city centre footfall.

New for 2014, the Leeds Food and Drink Festival will feature new highlight events and themes across the three main weekends, as well as a planned Kids Food Festival at The Tetley throughout the first week and the Yorkshire Food and Drink Show at Millennium Square during the final weekend.

Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, said: “The Leeds city region produces 12.5 per cent of the UK’s food and drink turnover.

“Its large food processing sector boasts significant expertise, skills and capability in research, process and precision engineering, which supports the growth and volume of production in the fast moving consumer goods industries.

“The food and drink sector is a major employer and contributor to the UK economy and has seen significant growth in recent years. We are also home to one of the UK’s largest grocery chains in Asda, as well as having a deservedly strong reputation for our independent food and drink scene.

“So, we have the credentials to hold and grow an amazing celebration of the region’s produce.

“These credentials mean our ambition for the Leeds Food and Drink Festival to become one of the largest and best attended food festivals in the UK is now more than an aspiration.”

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Mar 7, 2014
Tina George

99 Charleston Wine + Food Festival tips

Beyond the festival

1. Don’t assume that every restaurant is booked solid with or without festival events. You never know until you ask or check out OpenTable. We also swear by lingering lunches.

2. Grab lunch in the city. More often than not, a lot of “talent” doesn’t have plans during the day, and you can catch them (and their teams) at some of the favorite lunch spots around town: Butcher Bee, Two Boroughs Larder, Xiao Bao Biscuit.

3. My favorite late-night after-hours hang-out during the festival is The Bar at Husk. Great whiskey and always a great place to chat with the who’s who in Southern cooking!

4. Go to Martha Lou’s. It seems like everyone from out of town makes a stop at the soul food mecca. For my money, I head up to Bertha’s Kitchen. If it’s good enough for John T. (Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance), it’s good enough for me.

5. Jon Bonne’s book signing at Heirloom Books on Thursday is not an official festival event, but it will be mighty fun and enlightening. - Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine

6. Don’t hesitate to stray from the festival schedule, especially if an event doesn’t suit you. If a ticketed dinner feels like it’s dragging, it’s OK to duck out for a drink at a local bar.

7. All the food, wine and cocktails taste better when you are guilt-free. Start each day with a sunrise run along the Battery waterfront, and keep an eye out for dolphins: If it’s warm enough, you may spot one. - Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant Sons

8. The main areas around Marion Square are basically total chaos. As someone who loves to get away from that, I would suggest sneaking away for a picnic at Brittlebank Park off of Lockwood. No one is hardly ever up that way, and you can smell the salt air right off the Ashley and lay out a blanket without massive crowds trampling over you. Of course, you could also swing by Salty Mike’s and The Marina Variety store on your way back for a snack and a drink with some locals. - Geoff Rhyne, The Ordinary’s chef de cuisine

9. If you haven’t visited Charleston since last year’s festival, you’ll find lots of new restaurants in town, including Big John’s, Edmund’s Oast, Leyla, Indaco, DeSano Pizza Bakery, Craftsmen Kitchen and Taphouse, Basico, Coda del Pesce, Sweet Radish Bakery and Warehouse, which is winning national recognition for its Sunday brunch.

10. Since food is the focus of the weekend, don’t miss a trip to Heirloom (Book Co.) and The Commons, the shared shop on Broad Street with new and vintage cookbooks side by side with some great kitchen wares made in America. - Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and the forthcoming Leon’s Oyster Shop

Getting around

11. Walk as much as possible to and from events. While we’re not saying you should head across the Ravenel Bridge to the Pluff Mud Oyster Roast in Mount Pleasant (not a bad idea, come to think of it), we try to pound the cobblestones when we can. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

12. Take a cab. You don’t have to worry about parking and you’re free to enjoy the tastes and sips with no hesitation. - Carrie Bailey-Morey, owner of Callie’s Biscuits

13. There is no secret parking lot: If you must drive, don’t count on being able to park close to the festival grounds.

14. Rent a golf cart. Not a lot of people know that golf carts are legal in downtown Charleston. If you’re staying downtown and going to events downtown, it’s nice to get around with the open air cruise of a cart. - Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and the forthcoming Leon’s Oyster Shop

15. Make plans to stay downtown and within walking distance to most of the activities. Drinking and driving is a no-no and who wants to be the designated driver at the biggest (and best!) food and wine festival of the year? - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

16. As wonderful as the downtown hotels are, don’t be afraid to stay a little bit off the beaten path. Charleston is a lovely town to take a nice 15-20 minute stroll to Marion Square, and you’ll want to burn off the calories. Plus, taxis and pedicabs are plentiful and relatively inexpensive to get you home after a long evening. It didn’t hurt that Hominy Grill was on the route between my hotel and the festival so that I could kick off the day with a “Big Nasty.” - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

Making friends

17. Say thanks to volunteers as often as possible. The event couldn’t happen without them. – Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

Making friends

18. Thank out-of-town chefs for participating. Thank hometown chefs, too. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

19. During any spare moments, pop into the Southern Foodways Alliance tent for stimulating discussion and tasty beverages. – Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

20. I am a big fan of trying to do something cerebral every day, preferably early so you have a clear head. In addition to learning something cool, you will also have something great to talk about late at night when the conversation starts to deteriorate. - Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine

21. Carry plenty of business cards to trade with new people you meet.

22. Maintain really good terms with your in-laws throughout the year, because you will never need a live-in baby-sitter more than during the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. - Nico Romo, culinary executive director of Fish

23. Don’t be afraid to miss a seminar that you’ve already signed up for if someone invites you to share a cab to a restaurant you’ve never heard of. The festival seeks to exalt the cuisine of Charleston, and not all of the best finds are set up in the tasting tent. - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

24. Work on a playlist of the weekend so you are always rolling with some theme music. – Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine

25. Chat up personalities if you see them milling about or waiting between events. – Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

26. If you can make it back to your hotel for at least an hour of downtime during the day, that’s a real plus. But if you can’t, make a friend in the Culinary Village so if you need to stash a backpack for an hour or so you can travel a little lighter. It’s appropriate to bring them back a little something to taste when you return for your carry-on. - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

27. Arrive at demos and seminars early or linger when they’re done so you can introduce yourself to chefs.

28. If you have a question, a nearby volunteer probably has the answer.

29. It’s servers’ time to shine: Knock (guests) socks off with your knowledge and expertise. Strut your stuff. Raise the bar. Show them why they’re here in Charleston and why we are a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world. Go that extra mile with every guest, make contacts, impress. - Brittany Galbreath, server at The Ordinary

Scheduling

30. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t spread yourself too thin by over-committing. Wine + Food events should be sipped and savored. Schedule time in between events to recharge, nap, take a run through the stunning streets of Charleston, or enjoy one of those lingering lunches. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

31. There is no better hour of the weekend than the Waffle House Smackdown. (And not to take sides, but: Go Mike Lata!) - Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

32. Take advantage of the many cooking classes and demonstrations offered. Where else can you learn how to cook from rock-star chefs like Anthony Llamas, Edward Lee, Lionel Vatinet and Steven Satterfield? - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

33. Enter your schedule into a spreadsheet so you don’t miss must-dos: Include after-parties and addresses.

34. If you aren’t in town in time to make it to Southern Foodways Alliance Potlikker, a combination food and film festival, you can watch the films they are showing on the SFA website. A little insider information: The films they are showing are “Helen’s BBQ” (Helen Turner, Brownsville, Tenn.) “Eggers: Caviar Fishermen on the Mississippi” and “Deadliest Throw: Inside the Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Toss.” Plus, a new film, “Sapelo: Red Peas on Sapelo Island.” The human subjects of Sapelo will be featured panelists at a discussion in the SFA Tent in Marion Square on Friday at 4 p.m. - Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine

35. Get to the after-hours event early. We were there right as it started, and you could see the place fill up in a matter of 30 minutes or so, whereas there were no lines at the beginning. You had to elbow your way to some booths within 45 minutes of it starting. - David Schnell, Brown’s Court Bakery’s head baker

36. Don’t miss the Culinary Village! You’ll meet chefs from across the country and discover wines that you’d probably never encounter otherwise. - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

37. If you want to make sure to catch certain chefs, clicking on the chef’s bio page on the festival website is the surest way to determine his or her agenda.

38. Get a heads up on the after-after party. Whether that’s late night oyster shucking on the Battery or moonshine swigging in a backyard, there are always fun opportunities to rub elbows with some great chefs, writers and food personalities once the official stuff has ended. - Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and the forthcoming Leon’s Oyster Shop

39. The Opening Ceremony (10:30 a.m. Friday) is the only free event on the festival schedule. You can also enjoy the public areas of Marion Square, where dogs and children are permitted, without a ticket, and at least get a feel for the festival.

40. There is definitely good people-watching Sunday at the main tent. - Drew Hedlund, chef of Fleet Landing

41. During the weekend, the Southern Foodways Alliance tent in Marion Square has a full schedule of really intriguing discussions. On Friday, Robert Barber, the owner of Bowen’s Island and Vinny Detolo from Animal in Los Angeles will headline a discussion on oysters. At 2:45, Rodney Scott, Chris Shepard and Bradley Taylor will preach some Whole Hog Gospel. Saturday’s SFA docket includes Frank Stitt leading a discussion on Alabama Ribs and Edward Lee discussing aging cured meats. - Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine

42. Get to the Opening Night Party early, and hit your favorite restaurants first. It’s important to plot out a plan as soon as you arrive; last year’s event at the Aquarium was a perfect metaphor because it’s easy to feel like a salmon swimming upstream if you get out of the flow of the crowd. – Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

43. Write a schedule of the events you want to check out. There is so much stuff going on that you may miss something if you get caught up in the village. - Boris Van Dyck, owner of Icebox

44. Mark which events you missed out on this year, so you can buy tickets for next year, as things always sell out. - Drew Hedlund, chef of Fleet Landing

45. Swing by the book signing to pick up a special gift for the favorite foodie in your life: It’s not every day you can get a signed copy from the chef! - Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant Sons

Social media

46. I take lots of pictures of wine bottle labels and save them to an iPhone app called Evernote for future reference. - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

47. Meet new friends through Instagram; tag personalities and the event. – Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

48. Take a picture of the products and recipes you like so you can remember the ones you love. - Boris Van Dyck, owner of Icebox

49. Follow @jdportman and @foragerman on Instagram. - Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

50. The festival’s Facebook page is one of the best places to buy, sell and trade tickets, although you can do the same at the Marion Square ticketing tent if you prefer to keep your swaps offline.

Stamina

51. There’s nothing wrong with sneaking a disco nap.

52. Grab a light-but-stomach-lining breakfast snack like croissants at Christophe (Artisan Chocolatier)’s or donuts at Glazed. - Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

53. Bathrooms are plentiful, but it doesn’t hurt to carry your own hand sanitizer (which is also useful in the tasting tent.)

54. Take a pedicab and grab some drinking-friendly comfort food at Xiao Bao Biscuit (mapo dofou) or Two Boroughs Larder (noodle bowl). - Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

55. There are going to be what look like small portable campers, but they are actually restrooms. They are very nice inside with real sinks and toilets, and are a lot better than waiting in line and using the plastic port-a-potties! - Jessica Wilkie, owner of Sweet Savory Cafe

56. Some practiced drinkers swear by Blowfish, an Alka-Seltzer-like tablet, for hangovers. Caviar Bananas keeps packets on the front counter.

57. You’re likely to outlast your phone: The festival for the first time this year is providing a charging station in Marion Square.

58. Coffee is an important part of the weekend survival for locals immersed in the restaurant industry, or visitors that might have too much fun from time to time. To refuel, I like the high octane bottomless cup of Marina Variety Store, and it’s a part of Charleston that you might miss otherwise. - Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and the forthcoming Leon’s Oyster Shop

59. Down a bottle of Underberg or grab a shot of Fernet Branca if you feel one step over the line. - Bradley Taylor, founder of Revival Foods

60. Dell’z Vibez makes fresh juices with coconut water: Something to remember in the morning. - Ann Marshall, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co.

61. If you purchase books or bottles of wine, and don’t want to lug them with you, there’s a FedEx shipping center on Calhoun Street, just one block east of Marion Square. (The festival isn’t offering shipping services this year.)

62. Biggest tip hands down: Know where the bloody marys are in the tent. Don’t be wooed by a specialty drink after a late night: Make that bloody mary your first stop and you’ll start the day off right. Then have that specialty drink or vino! - Libba Osborne, principal of Leapfrog PR Co.

63. Make good decisions. Instead of five drinks after your head-spinning night, try 1 to 3. You will thank me later. Later being the next day. - Brittany Galbreath, server at The Ordinary

64. It’s always good to start with a base with the food samples then move onto your wine. Makes for a better morning. - Hannah Bise of Rewined Candles

What to drink

65. Drink wines you haven’t tried. There will be more Virginia wines in Charleston than ever before this year, and many of them are well worth tasting. Trust us. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

66. Do your wine homework! The reality is that there are so many cool things in the big tents that it can be overwhelming if you don’t have a game plan. And there is such an abundance of talented winemakers sampling their own wine that it would be a shame to miss! Some of my must-taste tables would be: Peay, Melville, Arcadian, Torii Mor and Matthiasson. - Sarah O’Kelley, co-owner of The Glass Onion

67. Think outside the box. Wine isn’t the only adult beverage at the Wine + Food Festival. We’re talking explorations of rum, beer, sherry, Irish whiskey and more. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

68. Free water is nearly impossible to find at the festival. Bring your own bottle.

69. There is, yes, terrific wine all weekend. But much as I should be telling you to gleefully fill your wine glass, that would be disingenuous. Because: bloody Marys. And brown liquor. And rum. Honestly, it is hard to imagine a town with better taste in drinking than Charleston. - Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

70. Coffee in the morning? Kudu (4 Vanderhorst St.) is the local option closest to Marion Square. If you prefer chain coffee, there’s a Starbucks right across the street, but brace for a lengthy line.

71. When you need to get away from the craziness of the Square, Closed For Business has a strong selection of craft beers. - Ann Marshall, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co.

72. The festival’s commemorative wine glass is distributed at more than half a dozen events. Whether you keep a collection, it’s one of the simplest souvenirs.

73. Wine tent tip: Don’t hesitate; expectorate! That’s the fancy word for spitting, and while it might literally seem like a buzzkill, it will allow you to taste more and remember a thing or two. Plus, you might keep enough wits about you to avoid buying five cases of wine you barely remember the next day! - Sarah O’Kelley, co-owner of The Glass Onion

74. It is wise to plan your drinking slightly in advance. Bloody marys to begin. Make sure that bubbles – really, champagne and Lowcountry cooking were made to go together – factor in. Crescendo toward the whiskey. You’ve got a long day ahead. - Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

75. Check out the pop-up wine shop and grab that bottle you really enjoyed at one of the tastings. - Boris Van Dyck, owner of Icebox

76. Stay hydrated. Your liver will definitely need it. – Drew Hedlund, chef of Fleet Landing

What to eat

77. If you see a guy in a vest and an Outback hat roasting a whole lamb over an open spit, go stand in line. Don’t worry how long it is. It’s worth it. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

78. Also, oysters. If I leave town without having consumed one-third my weight in ‘em, I will have failed. - Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

79. Be prepared to taste lots of delicious foods and varieties of wines! I would suggest walking through the event and mapping out all of these foods and wines in front of you, then make your first round by literally just tasting small bites, so you can have the opportunity to try everything before filling up! - Jessica Wilkie, owner of Sweet Savory Cafe

80. The festival sells tasting plates with wine holders, but the stock tends to run out quickly. Consider bringing a dish.

81. Skip my Friday dinner and go to the McCrady’s dinner. Because Stephen Satterfield, Sean Brock and Tyler Brown. And Steve Matthiasson’s wines. Except, sold out. Darn it. - Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

82. You eat and drink all day at food festivals, but you never feel like you’ve eaten. Venture out to one of the restaurants on Upper King for a quick recharging meal: I like a track burger and a Moscow Mule at The Rarebit. - Ann Marshall, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co.

83. Check the Culinary Village schedule online to learn when your favorite chefs are manning the Tasting Tent: They take turns tabling, so you’re not guaranteed a sample from every participating chef.

84. Grab a big breakfast near the culinary village: Virginia’s (on King) is a great place to get some good food before trying all the great cocktails and wines at the village. – Boris Van Dyck, owner of Icebox

85. The nearest Waffle House is two miles down U.S. Highway 17, just over the Ashley River bridges.

86. Keep an open mind. Seated dinners in particular vary tremendously from year to year, and from restaurant to restaurant: Go without expectations. Eat outside of your comfort zone.

87. Visit the booths with a buddy for double portions of your favorite dish. - Jeanette Davis of Rewined Candles

What to wear and carry

88. It’s a wine and food festival. Not a fashion show. On the grounds of Marion Square or on Wadmalaw Island, function always trumps fashion. - Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

89. Wear your most comfortable shoes at all times. If you have stretchy pants or some Sans-a-Belts to accommodate your expanding waistline, patrons will excuse your fashion risk. - Chris Chamberlain, food writer and regular contributor to Nashville Scene

90. Wear sunscreen (even if it’s cloudy.)

91. Trade show tip: Bring multiple types of shoes if you plan to spend all three days in Marion Square. - Ann Marshall, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co.

92. Even if you don’t have any official duties, you may want to bring your own white apron for collecting chefs’ signatures.

93. Have rainy day gear and shoes on stand-by. The event has had its share of drenching and downpours in past years. – Lynn and Cele Seldon, travel writers

94. All the events, seminars and socializing can be demanding on your time. Ladies, refresh and re-groom with a blow out at Tease Dry Bar on King Street, just steps from the tents at Marion Square. – Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant Sons

95. Tasting gets messy. Either avoid wearing white, or carry a stain remover stick.

96. Always keep your ID with you, no matter how weary you anticipate looking by the end of the festival. Events are restricted to of-age adults, and staffers will check.

97. Servers, starch your uniform, tighten your apron strings and hold on tight! They come in droves, for days! - Brittany Galbreath, server at The Ordinary

98. If you have cookbooks authored by participating chefs, tote them with you: Writers are always happy to personalize their books, no matter where you bought them.

99. Never underestimate the value of one of the wine glass holder lanyards. - Anita Holly of Rewined Candles

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Mar 7, 2014
Tina George

Despite cold weather, Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s opening party still hot

Cypress’ Craig Deihl smoked two whole goats for the gyros he served at Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s opening party, but the dish element which ultimately gave him trouble was the pita bread: Like everybody else in attendance, he hadn’t figured on 45-degree weather, punctuated by rain and gusts of wind.

“This is our makeshift pita warmer,” Deihl said, showing off the sheet pan he’d slid over a clutch of Sterno heaters. “Normally, we’d toast them in the restaurant; bring them and put a lid on it. They would have been good.”

But the air temperatures put a crimp in Deihl’s plans, rendering his house-made rounds of bread unappealingly clammy. Deihl was one of a number of Charleston chefs inconvenienced by the eccentrically cold and damp conditions, although the event’s hundreds of guests didn’t seem ruffled by the conditions. Heaters and thoughtful flooring prevented any aggravations, even for the most comfort-oriented attendees:

“You enjoyed it, I hope,” Wild Olive’s Jacques Larson told a guest who announced he’d visited the Johns Island restaurant.

“Oh, we liked the parking part,” the guest replied.

Chefs who had the foresight (or good fortune) to serve up soups manned the evening’s most popular stations.

“Soup is the go-to,” High Cotton’s Joe Palma said.

Ryley McCillis of Jasmine Porch prepared a Georgia clam chowder; Nico Romo of Fish offered a shellfish stew and Fred Neuville of Fat Hen made plenty of friends with his shallot cream-drenched oysters with country ham and mushrooms, spilled over grilled garlic bread.

“It’s a little bit chilly out here,” Neuville conceded. “This is very comforting.”

A few chefs who had banked on balmier weather served dishes which would typically be completely appropriate for March, but initially read as unseasonable on a cold, wet night. Fortunately, the food was executed with the aplomb that Charleston chefs always apply to their Opening Night contributions: Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill served an excellent octopus salad, and Peninsula Grill’s Graham Dailey catapulted his yellowfin tuna into dazzling territory by garnishing it with tangerine lace, a punchy microgreen sold by Limehouse Produce.

“Definitely, I thought it was going to be warmer,” Dailey said. “That’s why I did cold, raw fish. At least I don’t have to worry about it going funny.”

Deihl also found an upside in his elaborate pita-reheating system, which produced discs of bread so hot they could have doubled as handwarmers.

“Maybe it’s affected us in a really good way,” he mused. “It’s a really successful weather failure. Adapt and conquer. That’s the whole theme.”

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival continues through Sunday.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 937-5560.

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Mar 6, 2014
Tina George

Confusion Through Sand captures life during wartime

The soldier’s life has long fascinated filmmaker Danny Madden.

The 26-year-old director and animator, who grew up 30 miles outside Atlanta in Peachtree City, witnessed many of his hometown friends enlist in the armed forces after high school. During that time, he also poured himself into military memoirs to better understand the military experience. As the years passed, he continued to think about making the animated film that would become Confusion Through Sand.

But it wasn’t until early 2012 that the film’s subject came together on a several-month trip to Mali. The war-torn sub-Saharan nation reminded him of photos he had seen of Iraqi and Afghan villages where people he knew were stationed. Throughout his travels, he contemplated the differences between his world travels and a gun-toting reserve’s stint halfway around the world.

“It was interesting to think about what if I was here with these other intentions and trained to defend myself to kill people,” Madden says.

Following Ornana Films’ premiere of his experimental full-length feature euphonia last SXSW, Madden, producer Jim Cummings, and producer Ben Wiessner moved out to the San Francisco area — and raised more than $30,000 via Kickstarter along the way — so they could devote their time and resources toward the animated short.

Confusion Through Sand, Madden says, tells the story of teenage military recruit who’s “alone in a hostile desert, scared as hell and trained to react.” To conduct research for the film, Ornana’s co-founders interviewed more than a dozen military veterans in Georgia, Texas, and Washington about their active duties. Madden kept hearing similar themes emerge from vastly different experiences that spanned numerous decades and multiple wars.

“Boring was a word that came up a lot,” Madden says. “It’s mostly just really boring. You’re in these undesirable places, you’re thirsty, and you’re eating shit food. Then, all of the sudden, ‘boom!’ You’re adrenaline’s up 100 percent and you’re expected to perform perfectly.”

With Confusion Through Sand, the filmmaker wanted to recreate the full spectrum of emotions felt in a young soldier’s combat tour. That includes getting sand in one’s eyes, temporarily losing hearing from fired gunshots, and the moments of isolation between those high-octane rushes. Over the course of 12 minutes, the film frequently shifts perspectives to purposely throw viewers off-kilter in an effort to capture his character’s harrowing experiences.

To reflect the calm and chaos of warfare, Madden drew more than 6,000 frames over nine months and colored each picture with markers on different kinds of recycled paper during the next two and a half months. For two additional months, Cummings and Wiessner helped photograph individual frames and assemble the film’s edits.

One of Madden’s most formative experiences during the making of Confusion Through Sand came during the recording and mixing process at Skywalker Ranch in California. Employees from the legendary sound design studio, where sound design takes place for countless Hollywood blockbuster films, invited him to set up shop and offered complete access to their world-class facilities.

“They opened the doors to me in such a casual way,” Madden says. “It’s an absolute dream of a lot of filmmakers to step foot on the premises.”

Madden carefully designed audio that captured the sounds of life during wartime. He recreated the sonic experiences of whirling sandstorms and whizzing rocket-propelled grenades — all on a trusted handheld recorder to ensure its realism.

Now that the film’s finished, Confusion Through Sand is set to debut SXSW this week. Soon after, the animated short will be screened as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. Ornana will likely show the film at other independent festivals throughout the remainder of 2014.

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Mar 5, 2014
Tina George

PEI restaurateur Liam Dolan elected Chair of Restaurants Canada

TORONTO, March 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Liam Dolan, chef and owner of three leading restaurants in Charlottetown, is the new Chair of Restaurants Canada for 2014 – 2015.

Dolan was elected chair at the association’s annual meeting today. Restaurants Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, revealed its new name and look last week. The association is celebrating 70 years as the voice of foodservice in Canada.

As Chair of Restaurants Canada, Liam will lead the volunteer board of a business association representing 30,000 members in Canada’s $68-billion restaurant industry — one of the country’s largest employers, providing career opportunities for 1.1 million Canadians. Restaurants Canada represents restaurants, bars, caterers and other foodservice businesses in all provinces and works on their behalf as a voice to government, source of cutting-edge research and partner for money-saving programs.

“I’ve worked in foodservice since I was a teen, and I’m honoured by this opportunity to use my passion for the business for the greater good of Canada’s restaurants,” said Dolan.

“We are the only type of business that is in every community in this country.  We are the number one provider of first-time jobs, and we create thousands of spin-off jobs for everyone from farmers to furniture makers,” he said. “This is an industry that governments need to get behind, and I look forward to delivering that message.”   

About Liam Dolan:
Liam has served on the Board of Directors of Restaurants Canada for nearly 13 years. He started studying as a chef at the tender age of 16 in his native Ireland, and later moved to Prince Edward Island where he worked as a chef in hotels around the province. He opened his first restaurant in Charlottetown more than 30 years ago, and now operates three restaurants –  the Claddagh Oyster House, the Olde Dublin Pub and Peake’s Quay Restaurant and Bar – which are crown jewels in the city’s restaurant scene.

Liam is one of the biggest cheerleaders for PEI’s tourism industry. He founded the PEI International Shellfish Festival, which has grown into one of the biggest food festivals in the country. He made headlines around the continent for serving a signature seafood dish on “Live with Regis and Kelly” that changed the mind of Regis Philbin (who had been a self-proclaimed seafood hater).

About Restaurants Canada:
Restaurants Canada is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers.  Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper. 

Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

NOTE TO EDITORS:  A high res photo of Liam Dolan is available at the following URL: http://www.crfa.ca/dolan/

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 416-649-4254, or 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254, Email: pvasanthakumar@restaurantscanada.org.

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Mar 5, 2014
Tina George

Nashvillians to Show Off Their Chops at Charleston Wine + Food Festival

CWFF.jpgThis coming weekend is the big Charleston Wine + Food Festival being held all over Chucktown March 6-9. Not just a showcase for Charleston chefs, it features many regional and national personalities in the weekend of special dinners, cooking demos, tasting tents and pop-up events. Music City will be well-represented as some of our own notable culianarians add some spice to the proceedings.

Capitol Grille’s Tyler Brown earned one of the prime spots as guest chef at Friday Night’s McCrady’s Family Style Southern Supper, where he’ll be cooking with Steven Satterfield from Miller Union in Atlanta. Brown will be serving beef he has helped to raise at Double H Farms, so Middle Tennessee will be doubly featured there.

Chef Charles Phillips from 1808 Grille will be participating in an event with the tongue-twister name of “Rewined Candles + The Local Palate Magazine Presents Passport to Pairings.” Wineries will pour a red and white wine and will be paired with a chef who will artfully prepare a dish for each wine at the Gov. Thomas Bennett House in what should prove to be a great afternoon of eating and drinking on Friday afternoon. Conveniently, the event will be just a few blocks away from the cheap hotel I’ll be staying in on the west side of town, which is to say, not very close to the main events on Marion Square.

Husk’s Lisa Donovan will be contributing her cheery disposition and delicious pastries to the proceedings, providing that the cooler full of treats that I volunteered to schelp from Nashville to Charlestown in the back seat of my car arrives intact and uneaten. I’d put the odds at 50/50.

Finally, Andy Little of Josephine will be cooking at a popular underground event that travels around food festivals, called Lambs and Clams. Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters provide the proteins, and a cadre of chefs prepare fun tastings of delicious surf ‘n’ turf at this party, which is usually publicized by word of mouth.

It’s not too late to buy tickets for some of the events, and any weekend in Charleston is worth the trip for serious food fans.

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Mar 4, 2014
Tina George

Culture without borders

Culture without borders

4 March 2014

Every year, a dedicated band of culture ambassadors continues to remind us of the need for books and their irreplaceable place in human lives, be it at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, the Reykjavik International Literary Festival, the Jaipur Literature Festival, or the UAE’s own Emirates Airline Festival of Literature that starts in Dubai today.


WHEN I HAVE a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes, wrote 15th century Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus. If the dog is man’s best friend, then books are everyone’s best friends, and manna for the soul besides. Literature is the window to civilisation and the bond that brings societies closer. Every year, a dedicated band of culture ambassadors continues to remind us of the need for books and their irreplaceable place in human lives, be it at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, the Reykjavik International Literary Festival, the Jaipur Literature Festival, or the UAE’s own Emirates Airline Festival of Literature that starts in Dubai today.

Started by British expatriate Isobel Abulhoul, the fledgling home-grown celebration of writing started six years ago is now a cultural landmark, not only in the UAE but in the entire Middle East. A bridge between East and West, it has brought renowned writers including Nobel laureates to the UAE; at the same time, it has introduced Arabic and Emirati writers to the non-Arabic speaking world. Authors who have not attained the popularity their powerful pens deserve due to lack of translation get a platform to reach out to the outside world through the interactive sessions at the festival, where simultaneous translation is made available. While cosmopolitan with its eclectic mix of authors who range from Americans to French, Malaysian, Indian and Britons, the Emirates festival also has a distinct regional flavour with its focus on regional cultural forms like calligraphy and Arab poetry. A pearl in the thread that contains other cultural festivals like film festivals and food festivals, the LitFest goes a long way in establishing the UAE as a multicultural and multilingual hub. While its founder today is recognised as one of the 50 most influential Britons in the UAE, she is the first to acknowledge the invaluable contribution by a tireless team of volunteers whose enthusiasm has added to the vitality of the event. 

Books survived the threat posed first by the cinema and then the television. When a festival funded by hard-headed successful businesses is perpetuated, it is a glad sign that books will also survive the perceived threat from the Internet, social networking sites, mobile games and other devices. In the UAE, the written word gets another boost with the establishment of the Emirates Literature Foundation last year. The foundation plans to open an international writers’ centre and host year-round activities, which will strengthen the UAE’s place on the cultural map of the world. Dubai plays a special role in this, thanks to its image as an open and welcoming city whose government is modern, progressive and encouraging of the arts.

Views expressed in Opinion columns and articles are those of our contributors and columnists. 


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