Celebrity chefs at Food and Wine Festival
This promises to be a gourmet weekend. From Friday, Oct. 16 to Sunday, Oct. 18, celebrity chefs and distinguished vintners stir the tastes and entertain guests at the Martha's Vineyard Food and Wine Festival. The union of famous guests working with local chefs and small businesses make this a very special event. Meals and other delicacies are prepared with fresh local ingredients. The wines are provided by Ruby Wines in Avon.
Louis Larsen, owner of Net Result, is donating 70 pounds of locally caught fish. He says, "I always donate locally. I believe in supporting the community and local businesses."
Dan Michaud, a wine specialist from Ruby Wines, will serve as master of ceremonies. Chefs include Bravo television's "Top Chef" finalist Stefan Richter of Stefan's Catering in Santa Monica, Calif., who has authored a memoir ("Dirty Dishes") and come out with a Cocky Chef clothing line, and Fox television's "Hell's Kitchen" contestant Andy Husbands, chef/owner of Boston's Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel, and twice a semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef award. Asked about working with Mr. Richter, Mr. Husbands, 39, says, "I'm totally looking forward to it. This will be an adventure."
Events include food and wine tastings, culinary seminars, wine dinners, and tours of a local oyster farm, Sweet Petites Oysters. Owner Jack Blake says, "We had 30 people tour the oyster farm last year and everyone really enjoyed it." This year, a 30 percent increase in attendance is anticipated. After the tour, participants will gather at the Field Club in Edgartown and sample wine and oysters.
Fall is beautiful on the Vineyard, and there is no better way to savor the full measure of its pleasures than with a weekend that combines gourmet food, vintage wines, and the relaxing Island atmosphere. The 36-year-old Richter says, "I love to cook, but I'm also looking forward to the moments I'll have to chill and enjoy quiet time on the Vineyard. Los Angeles has no down time. I'm very excited about this." He remembered being on the Vineyard 12 years ago and loving it.
This is the second year Mr. Husbands, author of "Fearless Chef," will cook for the festival. He is a frequent visitor to the Vineyard and has a special appreciation for the Island in spring and autumn when it is calmer than during the high season. "I like big well-developed flavors," he says, "and that is part of my approach to cooking." This year, he will cook Southeast Asian and Latin style dishes. "I want each element to stand on its own and work together. I pay careful attention to each flavor, each ingredient."
A grand cocktail reception will kick off the festival beginning tomorrow evening. It features tenderloin beef and seafood tastings grilled by Mr. Richter and Mr. Husbands at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. Emcee and wine connoisseur Dan Michaud will discuss complementary wines. After the reception guests may choose a wine dinner prepared by the chefs at either Atria, The Grill, Il Tesoro, or l'etoile.
Saturday is dedicated to education and entertainment along with eating. Take a tour of Sweet Petites Oysters. Attend cooking demonstrations and tastings, complete with tips and storytelling. Learn how to match different wines with gourmet cheeses. Indulge your appetite for chocolate while learning how to pair desserts with wine. Discover how to create boldly flavored cuisine with inventive global influences from Mr. Husbands.
The day will also feature the Grand Tasting, with cooking demonstrations and samplings from distinguished Island chefs Kevin Crowell of Détente, Christian Thornton of Atria, Antonio Saccoccia of The Grill on Main, and Levon Wallace of Water Street. End your evening with a Spanish Wine Dinner at the Harbor View Hotel, featuring the Spanish vintages 2006 Etim Seleccion and 2008 Espelt Vailet, courtesy of Ruby Wines.
The weekend festivities wrap up on Sunday with a fantastic five-course Champagne Tasting Brunch at Détente - the perfect end to a savory weekend. Bon Appétit!
The third annual Martha's Vineyard Food and Wine Festival, Friday through Sunday, Oct. 16-18. Entire weekend, $500. For details and prices of individual events go to mvfoodandwine.com
Mary Quinn is a freelance writer living in Oak Bluffs.