A Taste From The Weekend

The 7th Annual Greenwich Wine + Food Festival had it all, from plenty of gourmet food to fine wines and spirits to world-class live music. Over 5,000 people ate, drank and celebrated the amazing food scene in this area, all to support the Mario Batali Foundation, the Festival’s primary beneficiary, as well as the Friends of James Beard Benefits and the Town of Greenwich Parks and Recreation Foundation. Here are some of the highlights from September 22 and 23:

The festivities started on Friday, when Scott Conant and the 2017 Serendipity Most Innovative Chefs were honored at the Master Chef Wine Dinner. This year, the group included: Carlos Baez (The Spread), Stavros Karipides (Famous Greek Kitchen), Lisa & Steve Maronian (Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes), Mike Pietrafeso (Ada’s Kitchen + Coffee), Brad Spence (Amis Trattoria), Ian Vest (Back 40 Kitchen) and Marc Weber (On the Marc Events).  In addition, Festival Ambassador Chefs including Mogan Anthony (Village Social), Rui Correia (Douro/Gaia), Constantine Kalandranis (273 Kitchen), Brian Lewis (The Cottage), Christian Petroni (Fortina), Debra Ponzek (Aux Délices), Nadia Ramsey (Méli-Mélo Catering), Robin Selden (Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning) and David Snyder (Char Restaurant).

Both the Innovative Chefs as well as the Festival’s Ambassador Chefs prepared their specialty dishes for guests (including special guest Adam Richman of Man V. Food), who enjoyed them along with carefully selected wines and signature cocktails. An energetic  performance by platinum-selling southern rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters was the perfect end to the evening.

Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day full of wine and food, centered around the offerings from 150+ vendors in the Grand Tasting Tent. Outside the tent, chefs like Mario Batali, Scott Conant and Alex Guarnaschelli did cooking demos, gave entertaining interviews in the green room and signed cookbooks for fans. Kathie Lee Gifford interviewed chefs together in an insightful and lively Meet the Masters Panel. A new addition, the ultimate Tailgate Party, was a hit. Competition highlights included the Burger Battle (Hapa Food Truck took home the “Judge’s Choice award while Darien Butcher Shop was named “People’s Choice”) and the Top Bartender Showdown (Juan Meyer from Eastend in Greenwich won “Judge’s Choice”, while Jamie Johel from Craft 14 Kitchen + Bar in Wilton won “People’s Choice”). VIP guests enjoyed an exclusive dinner cooked by the Festival’s Ambassador Chefs, with some opting for premiere on-stage or lawn dinners. Finally, the Ian Murray Band warmed the crowd up for Grammy award-winning band Train, who had the entire crowd dancing on Saturday evening.

The silent auction is still open! Go to 501auctions.com/gwff to bid now or make a donation; 100 percent of proceeds will benefit the Mario Batali Foundation.

Photographs by Sara Luckey