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February 6, 2012

A Preview of Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2012

Expect top chefs, tasting tents, technique classes, tippling and major food raves! AFWF tickets go on sale Feb. 14!

By Nancy Staab

Move over Miami and Aspen. From bourbon and whole-pig barbecue to Southern-inflected bahn mihs, “poetic greens,” and the South’s premiere chefs, this food fest, now in its second year, has major culinary street cred. Here’s an amuse bouche of what’s to come.

Clockwise:  wine, Chef Ed Lee, Blackberry Farm tart, founders Dominique & Emily, pork belly by Kevin Gillespie, Chef Clockwise: wine, Chef Ed Lee, Blackberry Farm tart, founders Dominique & Emily, pork belly by Kevin Gillespie, Chef




The Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival sponsored by Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure magazines.



May 10-13, 2012

A scene at Serpas from AFWF 2011 A scene at Serpas from AFWF 2011


Fest tickets go on sale beginning Feb. 14, 2012. Early bird prices will be offered until March 29. Ticket options include tasting tent passes, and general or connoisseur-level one or three-day passes. Special guest chef dinners at local restaurants and parties are a la carte. Ticket passes range from $85 for early bird tasting tent ticket to $1,500 early bird rate for the ultimate 3-day connoisseur’s pass with exclusive VIP experiences such as a special Blackberry Farm dinner and the fest’s closing Sunday Supper hosted by Anne Quatrano. We advise grabbing tickets early for this sell-out event! To purchase tickets visit:



The thematic Tasting Trails tents (fried chicken, whole pig, farm fresh, etc.), curated by Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie, will be located in the heart of Midtown, near sponsoring hotel Loews Atlanta. Many other panels, seminars, technique classes and cooking demos will take place at Loews hotel. Highlights include the Lee Brothers performing madcap culnary experiments with guest chefs Sean Brock (Husk, Charleston), Ashley Christensen (Poole's Diner, Raleigh), Ford Fry (JCT Kichten, Atlanta) and Andrea Reusing (The Lantern, Chapel Hill) and coctail historian/Esquire writer David Wondrich dispensing his esoteric libation lore. 


See the festival’s website beginning Feb. 14 for the complete schedule and locations of events, including special guest chef dinners at area restaurants.



The fest is the brainchild of Elizabeth Feichter and Dominique Love, co-owners of Corporate Community Outsourcing, LLC.



Chef Bryan Voltaggio Chef Bryan Voltaggio

The festival’s Advisory Board and 2012 participants represents a veritable who’s who of award-winning regional chefs and mixologists: Anne Quatrano, Kevin Rathbun, Hugh Acheson, Andrea Reusing, Sean Brock, Kevin Gillsepie, Frank Stitt, Richard Blais, Greg Best, Linton Hopkins, Todd Richards, Edward Lee, Gerry Kalaskala, John Besh, Bryan Voltaggio, Ashley Christensen, Mike Lata, Asha Gomez,  Duane Nutter, Bryan Caswell, Kristen Hard, Chris Hastings, Steven Satterfield, John Currence, Pano Karatassos Jr., Tyler Brown, Neal Bodenheimer, and Ford Fry, to name a few.



Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon

Sip small-batch Van Winkle bourbon, learn to pair chocolate with wine and concoct killer "Coke-tails;" polish your iron skillet cooking techniques; get the skinny on artisan ham slicing from The Fellowship of Country Ham; mingle with national and internationally regarded chefs and discover the South’s myriad culinary trails from Louisiana flavors, Korean soul food and Mississippi Delta tamales to Texas barbecue--plus a tour of Atlanta’s own exotic culinary stew known as Buford Highway. Last year nearly 6,000 attendees from 33 states and 6 international countries partook in the fest. This year expect more streamlined scheduling but double the toque talent and new programming on such subjects as Southern heritage sourcing, sustainable seafood, farm fresh produce, and foraging.





Kevin Rathbun will host one of his legendary parties at one of his restaurants with talented, under-the-radar local chefs.


JCT Kitchen will throw a Friday night Pig-Out, where guests can mingle with the fests chefs while enjoying barbecue and drinks from self-service beer, bourbon and moonshine stations, plus southern tunes.


New Orleans doyenne Leah Chase, Queen of Creole and owner of Dooky Chase, will host a dinner with John Besh (August, Luke, Domenica) and John Currence (City Grocery, Snack Bar) examining the bizarre influences behind Creole cooking from Canary Islands to Germany.


Blackberry Farm Blackberry Farm

The Blackberry Farm experience will be re-created by proprietor Sam Beall and his culinary team at a special dinner at a private Atlanta estate.



Empire State South’s Hugh Acheson and exec. chef Ryan Smith will host a “Shepherd to Table Dinner” with Tyler Brown (The Capitol Grille), Ashley Christiansen (Poole’s Downtown Diner), Bryan Voltaggio (Volt) and Joshua Hopkins (Abattoir, STG)


Steven Satterfield of Miller Union will host a heritage food themed-dinner with guest chefs Sean Brock (Husk, McCrady’s ) and Frank Stitt (Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega)


Chef Bryan Caswell Chef Bryan Caswell

Ford Fry will host an “Oceans 6” sustainable fish dinner at his just-opened seafood spot The Optimist with guest chefs Bryan Caswell (Reef), Mike Lata (Fig), Dean Max ( 3030 Ocean, and formerly, Mumbo Jumbo), Brandon McGlamery (Luma on Park) and Norman Van Aken (Norman’s)




Anne Quatrano will host a closing Sunday Supper with the theme of “poetic greens” and a guest poet in house. The dinner, while focused on greens, will also include some meats on the menu.



Proceeds from the festival will be donated to agencies that promote Southern food traditions, including the James Beard Foundation,  Atlanta History Center, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Oxford-American magazine and Wholesome Wave.


For tickets and more info visit: