Star chefs to visit food fes­ti­val

Fes­ti­val events in Palm Beach

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION - By LIZ BAL­MASEDA

The tal­ent pool runs deep for this year’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Fes­ti­val, which kicked off ticket sales last week. The cast of vis­it­ing chefs fea­tures an un­prece­dented lineup of food stars from the New South, na­tional culi­nary pioneers and just top-notch chefs.

Those who fol­low such things may rec­og­nize the names: Ash­ley Chris­tensen, Nancy Sil­ver­ton, Ed­ward Lee, Alon Shaya, Jose Garces, Richard Blais. These and other fes­ti­val new­com­ers will join the wave of food dig­ni­taries ap­pear­ing at the fes­ti­val’s sit-down din­ners, walk-about tast­ings and re­sort-based events.

Food­ies will find a jazz­ier event lineup this year when the fes­ti­val re­turns for its 12th year Dec. 13. The fest, which this year hosts events in Palm Beach, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gar­dens, runs through Dec. 16.

Here are a few high­lights:

The “One Caribbean Night” din­ner, at Av­o­cado Grill’s Down­town at the Gar­dens lo­ca­tion, fea­tures Food Net­work per­son­al­i­ties Amanda Fre­itag, Marc Mur­phy and Robert Irvine. They’ll join Av­o­cado Grill chef/owner Julien Gre­maud for a spicy five­course feast with wine pair­ings ($185 per per­son).

The “Chillin’ ’n’ Grillin” af­ter­noon cook­out moves to the Eau Palm Beach Re­sort this year from its for­mer Four Sea­sons lo­ca­tion. New faces at the grills in­clude Philly-based chef Garces of Food Net­work “Iron Chef” fame and ac­claimed North Carolina chef/restaurateur Chris­tensen. The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15 ($140 per per­son).

“In­dulge.” That’s the name of the event that re­places the fest’s pop­u­lar “Street Food” party. It will be at the Four Sea­sons’ ren­o­vated pool­side ter­race Satur­day night. A dozen celebrity chefs — in­clud­ing new­com­ers Blais (“Top Chef”) and Shaya (James Beard Award-win­ning chef based in New Or­leans) — are cook­ing bites for the sexy, ocean­front evening ($140 per per­son).

West Palm Beach gets the 12th an­nual Grand Tast­ing. After three years at The Gar­dens Mall, the fest’s grand fi­nale heads to the Palm Beach County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on Dec. 16. The four-hour, walk­a­bout tast­ing event also hap­pens ear­lier in the day, start­ing at 2 p.m.

If there’s an un­of­fi­cial theme for this year’s fes­ti­val, it’s the un­ex­pected culi­nary icon. Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor David Sabin as­sem­bled a lineup that in­cludes chefs such as Sil­ver­ton, founder of Los An­ge­les’ beloved La Brea Bak­ery; Chris­tensen, who has re­de­fined the din­ing scene in Raleigh; and Charles Phan, founder of San Fran­cisco’s ven­er­a­ble Slanted Door.

“They’re in­dus­try lead­ers, peo­ple that are do­ing things that are com­pelling in many ways,” says Sabin.

Fest­go­ers will also find a di­verse batch of tal­ent thriv­ing in the mod­ern South. Among them are Chef Lee, who’s made his culi­nary mark in Ken­tucky by pay­ing homage to South­ern food and his fam­ily’s Korean roots, and Shaya, the Is­raeli-born chef who pop­u­lar­ized

An­nual cel­e­bra­tion of sus­tain­able seafood at PB Catch from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 13. $185 per per­son.

Dec. 13, sold out.

At Meat Mar­ket on Dec. 14, sold out.

At The Break­ers, Dec. 14, sold out.

At Four Sea­sons, Dec. 15, sold out.

Din­ner with lineup of a dozen all-star chefs, at Four Sea­sons from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 15. $140 per per­son.

Daniel Boulud is joined by fel­low chefs for brunch, which in­cludes walk-around tast­ing, Café Boulud from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $140 per per­son.

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mod­ern Is­raeli cook­ing in New Or­leans.

“I look at it as global in­flu­ences hap­pen­ing in the South,” Sabin said.

Sabin is more than fa­mil­iar with global South­ern eats — he’s mar­ried to Lind­say Autry of The Re­gional Kitchen & Pub­lic House.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, Autry will host a “South­ern Re­vival” lunch at her West Palm restau­rant, where she will cook a five-course meal ($120 per per­son) along­side Lee, Shaya and Chris­tensen.

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