“The Food & Wine Festival is one of our most favorite events on The Reef! You don’t even have to know anything about food or wine to have a great time.” That’s how Kathy Celentano, a Food & Wine regular, described the festival. This year will be Kathy and husband David’s fourth time attending, and every year they invite several friends and family members to make it extra special – “We love the event so much; we want everyone to experience it!”
Kathy said she can’t pick a favorite event of the weekend, but she “absolutely loves” Friday night’s Food & Wine Experience – her group is always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. “We’re at Carysfort Hall right at 7 p.m. when the doors open. We love the opportunity to walk around and try new things, meet new people, and talk to all of the food and drink vendors who have so much passion and knowledge for what they do.” This year, there’s even more to enjoy on Friday as the Welcome Luncheon on the Town Hall Lawn returns to the schedule.
As self-proclaimed foodies and drink enthusiasts, the Celentanos make sure not to miss a second of what’s offered during the weekend. Kathy and David, who both come from cooking families, feel that everyone can gain something from attending Saturday’s recipe demonstrations and tastings – even those who are already experts in the kitchen. “Even if David won’t admit it, I consider him a great cook (I joke that that’s the reason I married him!). Though he and his parents are seasoned chefs, David always leaves Food & Wine saying, ‘Wow.’”
What is sure to make expert chefs and amateurs alike say, “Wow” this year, is headliner Emeril Lagasse, who will be here for the entire three-day Festival from Friday’s Food & Wine Experience, to an Interactive Recipe & Demo Tasting on Saturday, to preparing and presenting a delicious four-course meal for Saturday evening’s Grand Dinner Dance. Also doing demonstrations and tastings Saturday are acclaimed chefs Pascal Oudin, chef/owner of award-winning French restaurant Pascal’s in Coral Gables, and Paula DaSilva, “Hell’s Kitchen” runner-up and Executive Chef at Burlock Coast restaurant at the Fort Lauderdale Ritz-Carlton. You’ve seen DaSilva before in the Cooking School and at Vine to Table dinners.
“Ask anyone, we love the drinks just as much as the food – the Club always go above and beyond in making the beverage aspect equally as enticing as the food,” said Kathy, who also feels Saturday’s Spirit Demonstrations with David Ortiz are not to be missed. “David Ortiz is an amazing mixologist. He’s does more than make delicious drinks, he teaches you something and has so much to offer people who don’t know what to ask for when they go to a bar.” Kathy said the Club does a great job bringing in new people every year, but she also loves seeing the repeats and their favorites from the years before.
Something else to look out for at Food & Wine? New this year is a Rosé Wine Bar in a vintage Airstream trailer. To see how cool this is, you’ll have to experience it for yourself! Look for the Airstream throughout the day during Saturday’s food and spirits demonstrations.
The Friends & Family
“We love making the Food & Wine Festival a family affair,” Kathy said. Her children, Legacy Members Lauren and David, try to make it every year. “Food and drinks bring people together and we love the chance to meet new people and learn about their crafts.” The Celentanos are excited about what the 2019 Festival has to bring saying, “Every year is different and just as good as the last.”
The 2019 Food & Wine Festival is Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28. Individual day tickets are available as well as three-day all-inclusive event passes. Call Member Events at 305-367-6526 or visit oceanreef.com/foodandwine.