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February 10, 2013

Preview: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2013

Expect top chefs, tasting tents, technique classes, tippling and major food raves when AFWF kicks off May 30-June 2

By Nancy Staab

Move over Miami and Aspen! From bourbon and whole-pig barbecue to Southern-inflected Dim Sum, Dixie-cultivated caviar and the South’s premiere chefs; this food fest, now in its third year, has major culinary street cred. Here’s an amuse bouche of what’s to come.

Clockwise:Ed Lee, Blackberry Farm tart, Dominique & Elizabeth, pork belly by Kevin Gillespie, Sean Brock& Gillespie Clockwise:Ed Lee, Blackberry Farm tart, Dominique & Elizabeth, pork belly by Kevin Gillespie, Sean Brock& Gillespie





The Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival sponsored by Food & Wine magazine.



May 30-June 2, 2013



Ticket options include tasting tent passes, and general or connoisseur-level one-day or three-day passes. Ticket passes range from $100 for a single-day tasting tent ticket to $2,000 for the ultimate 3-day connoisseur’s pass with exclusive VIP dinners each night including a special Blackberry Farm dinner Saturday night at a private estate. We advise grabbing tickets early for this sell-out event! To purchase tickets visit:




Chef Bryan Caswell of Houston Chef Bryan Caswell of Houston

Highlighted topics of this year’s fest include: Oysters & Beer (Bryan Caswell), Yardbirds (Gerry Klaskala), Creole Surf & Turf, Appalachian Appreciation, This Little Piggy Got Spicy (Asha Gomez), Liberate Your Lettuce (Ed Lee), Volcanic Vines, What I Learned in Spain and Italy, CSA CPR (Tyler Brown), Boozy Breads & Spreads, Brothers Grill (Kevin and Kent Rathbun), re-making vintage cake recipes aka Modernizing Mama (Eric Wolitzky) and cocktail historian and Esquire writer David Wondrich dispensing his esoteric lore about the Gin Ramos Fizz.

See the festival’s website beginning Feb. 14 for the complete schedule and locations of events.




The thematic Tasting Trails tents (Barbecue, Craft Beers, Southern Sweets, Imports & Inspirations, etc.) will be located in the heart of Midtown, near sponsoring hotel Loews Atlanta. Most of the panels, seminars, technique classes and cooking demos will also take place at Loews hotel. And the hotel will be the location for the exclusive Connoisseur’s Lounge for VIP experiences, tastings and relaxation, designed by Atlanta interior designer Bill Peace in a hip, Southern Hunting Lodge décor.



AFWF Founders Dominique Love & Elizabeth Feichter. [Photo by Nicole Love] AFWF Founders Dominique Love & Elizabeth Feichter. [Photo by Nicole Love]


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




The festival’s Advisory Board and 2013 participants represents a veritable who’s who of award-winning regional chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists: 

Anne Quatrano, Kevin and Kent Rathbun, Andrea Reusing, David Wondrich, Sean Brock, Kevin Gillsepie, Frank Stitt, Greg Best, Linton Hopkins,  Kelly English, Todd Richards, Edward Lee, Gerry Kalaskala, John Besh, Ashley Christensen, Mike Lata, Scott Crawford, David Guas, Justin Amick, Asha Gomez, Matt and Ted Lee, Duane Nutter, Bryan Caswell, Kristen Hard, Chris Hastings, Donald Link, Steven Satterfield, John Currence, Pano Karatassos Jr., Tyler Brown, Shaun Doty, Neal Bodenheimer, Eric Wolitzky, Ford Fry, and more.



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

Sip small-batch bourbon with Greg Best (Holeman & Finch, Restaurant Eugene), learn about Mississippi Delta food/culture/music with Sean Brock (Husk, McCrady’s); meet the South’s newest female moonshine distiller; polish your cast iron skillet cooking techniques; master the new “Renaissance in Butchering” and Urban Foraging techniques; and sample vintage Champagnes and Southern-born caviar. Enjoy mingling with national and internationally regarded chefs and discovering the South’s myriad culinary trails from Latin and Cajun flavors, Delta Mississippi soul food and sustainable seafood to Texas barbecue.This year, expect more streamlined scheduling but the same level of toque talent and new programming on such subjects as the crossroads between Southern and Latin food; vegetable dishes that no longer take a back seat to proteins; and women culinary talents in the fields of wine, food, chocolate, etc.



JCT Kitchen will throw a Friday night kick-off party with a Southern Tailgate theme. Guests can mingle with the fest’s top chefs, while enjoying barbecue and drinks from self-service beer, bourbon and moonshine stations, plus rocking Southern tunes.



Blackberry Farm in Tennessee Blackberry Farm in Tennessee

The Blackberry Farm experience will be re-created at a special dinner at a private Atlanta estate and will celebrate private growers in the region and their produce.


Kevin Rathbun will host one of his legendary parties honoring his hand-picked list of talented, up-and-coming Southern toques to watch, with each chef in the house.


NOTE: A few more culinary dinners will be added to the schedule closer to date.



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


For tickets and more info visit: