The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest has announced its lineup of restaurants and chefs participating in the upcoming weekend event to be held on Friday and Saturday, February 27 and 28, 2009. The chefs will join 16 wineries and wine distributors in the event, which features Chef Vintner dinners at select homes on Friday evening, February 27, and, for the public, a Grand Tasting and Auction on Saturday afternoon, February 28 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. The Wine & Food fest benefits children’s charities.
“The pairing of wine and food is an important culinary concept and is the cornerstone of the Wine & Food Fest,” said Steve Machiz, M.D., Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest founding chairman. “We are thrilled by the caliber of our chefs and restaurants, the diversity of their culinary styles and their interest in serving the community.”
Visiting chefs Keegan Gerhard and Xavier Salomon join the event this year. Chef Gerhard was named one of the nation’s top 10 pastry chefs of 2002 and 2004 by both Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines and can be seen on TV as emcee and host of the live Food Network Challenge Series for the Food Network. Chef Salomon is from the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. Gerhard will join Norman Love of Norman Love Confections at the Grand Tasting and Auction’s dessert station on Saturday. Both Gerhard and Salomon will be preparing as part of the Chef Vintner dinners on Friday.
From Fort Myers and the beaches, chefs Norman Love from Norman Love Confections, Michael Ragusa from the Sandy Butler, Jayson Rydell from Flipper’s on the Bay/Lovers Key Resort, Todd Johnson from Artisan Bread Company, Richie Wilim and Josh Zeman from Cru and Shannon Yates from Bacchus will be featured in the Grand Tasting and Auction on Saturday. Wilim, Zeman and Yates join chefs Harold Balink from H2, Sean Boller from Sanibel Steakhouse, Gloria Cabral-Jordan from La Trattoria Napoli and Melissa Talmage from Sweet Melissa’s in preparing Chef Vintner dinners on Friday.
From Bonita Springs and Estero, chefs Nick Costanzo from Angelina’s Ristorante, Caroline Hostettler from 55 degrees, Jeffrey Lucas from Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Vincent Mazzoli from The Grape, Andreas Singer from the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point and Thomas Pedit from Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club will be featured in the Grand Tasting and Auction on Saturday. Pedit will join chefs Nick Costanzo from Angelina’s Ristorante, Danny Mellman from Danny Mellman Catering, Kristina San Fillipo from Robb & Stucky Culinary and Wade Lowe from Roy’s in preparing Chef Vintner dinners on Friday.
From Naples, American Culinary Foundation member/chefs Frank Setera, Ralph Serraco, Wilhelm Gahabka and Chris Jones will participate in the Grand Tasting and Auction on Saturday. Chefs Brian Roland from M Waterfront Grille and Derin Moore from the Ritz Carlton Naples Beach Resort will be preparing Chef Vintner dinners on Friday.
Northern Trust Bank is the main sponsor of the 2009 Wine & Food fest. Along with Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, other supporters of the event include Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, Grandeur Magazine, Saks Fifth Avenue, Specialty Risk Management and Private Client Insurance Services, Oswald Trippe, Pure High Net Wealth Insurance, Edison State College, Bank of Florida, Norman Love Confections, Angelina’s Ristorante, Palm Printing and Strategic Solutions.
The Wine & Food Fest Grand Tasting and Auction will be held in the Beach Clubhouse at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club and its outdoor waterfront venue. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is a residential waterfront resort community with over 700 acres of contiguous aquamarine freshwater lakes, three miles of private, white sandy beach and “Signature” championship golf. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is located in Miromar Lakes, just north of Naples.
The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is a signature event of the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides funding to local charities serving local children. The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is this year’s beneficiary and secondary charity is Edison State College’s pediatric nursing program.
For more information about Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest: swflwinefest.org or information on sponsorship or ticket sales, call 239-432-9722.