If you’ve been reading about trendy new restaurant openings and are convinced that excellent food exists solely in Manhattan, L.A., and maybe Austin, prepare to have your mind blown. Great chefs and food events are planted all around the country, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Hit the road and find a food event — it may be nearer than you think.
Atlantic City Restaurant Week
Atlantic City, NJ
Packed with steakhouses, seafood restaurants, bistros and authentic Mexican, Cuban and Japanese cuisine, Atlantic City offers a delicious and diverse culinary scene. The city’s 6thannual Restaurant Week offers multi-course dinners for $33.14 (prix-fixe lunches are $15.14) at favorite restaurants including Wolfgang Puck's American Grille, Buddakan, Dos Caminos and The Cellar 32.
The Unbearable Importance of Soil
Pocantico Hills, NY
The Cook it Raw Community, a collective of chefs, producers and artisans committed to sustainability and culinary excellence, hosts a fundraising cocktail hour and dinner at Dan Barber’s picturesque Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Enjoy cuisine by guest chefs April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, Mads Refslund of ACME, Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy and other culinary authorities, and prepare to get educated.
Red, White & Snow
Park City, UT
Scenic Park City, Utah is the perfect locale for the National Ability Center’s annual celebration of food, wine and skiing. The event kicks off with a wine seminar from critically-acclaimed sommeliers Fred Dame and Merry Edwards and continues with “Wine on the Mountain,” a slope-side wine tasting and luncheon accessible by ski or snowshoe. Additional events include vintner dinners held in private homes around Park City, and a gala dinner and auction hosted by celebrity emcee Bill Engvall.
Charleston Wine and Food
The BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival celebrates Charleston’s distinctive Lowcountry cuisine while benefitting scholarship programs for the culinary and hospitality workplace. The festival kicks off with a Top Sommelier Competition where local wine connoisseurs test their tasting skills against 2013 champion Rick Rubel of Charleston Grill. More events include “Butterscotch and Barley: The Union of Candy and Beer” cooking demonstration and tasting with Chef Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate Restaurant and a Southeast Asian street food demonstration and tasting with Chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok restaurants in New York and Portland.
Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference
The 21st annual WCR Conference will be held in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, and this year’s theme is “Keeping it Green.” These food and drink superstars will be discussing how financial and environmental factors affect the culinary industry. Don't miss “American Lamb: Nose-to-Tail Butchery,” in which master butcher Kari Underly, the author of the James Beard Award-nominated book “The Art of Beef Cutting” will give a hands-on master class on how to divvy up meat most economically. “Truth in Living” is a seminar in exploring and clarifying food labels, and at “Yoga for Green Living,” WCR Director Lisa Necrason will teach culinary professionals the value of getting out of the kitchen and onto the yoga mat for some much needed meditation and relaxation.
Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival
Hilton Head Island, SC
28 years ago, the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival began as a simple three-hour tasting, but it's expanded into a full week of wine dinners, author receptions, movie screenings, seminars and grand tastings. At the “Wine & Cinema Festival Kickoff Event,” viewers will enjoy a private screening of SOMM the Documentary with hors d’oeuvres catered by Redfish and award-winning wines. At the public tasting at the Historic Honey Horn Plantation (that is, the largest tented outdoor tasting on the East Coast), guests can sample 250+ wines and purchase gourmet treats from premier restaurants on the Island.