Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Reveals Contestants for Chef Showdown

It’s game-on as the inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival reveals battle pairings for Friday’s Chef Showdown Competition and confirms a stellar lineup of participating restaurants for Saturday’s Grand Tasting Event 


Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is brought to you by CI Management. With over 15,000 visitors expected to attend, the festival showcases the talents of Tampa Bay’s leading chefs and culinary masterminds. By offering a diverse lineup of events in partnership with some of Tampa Bay’s leading chefs, the Tampa Bay Wine & Food

Festival caters to the most discerning foodies in the region. What’s more, the festival benefits a great cause with CI Foundation’s EAT SMART program, a program that provides healthy meals and nutritional guidance to Florida’s youth, and a portion of the proceeds from the Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival benefit the nonprofit.

The Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is owned and produced by CI Management. CI Management has been producing events for over 20 years in South Florida, most notably the South Beach Seafood Festival, Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week, Experience SOFI, and the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival, among others.

(TAMPA, FLA.) – MARCH 27, 2023 – Featured as one of the top reasons to visit Tampa this spring by Travel + Leisure, the inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival, brought to you by Breakthru Beverage and presented by GOYA Foods, is officially set to electrify the city beginning Wednesday, April 12th with demonstrations of culinary greatness and first-class entertainment. One major highlight of the festival is the riveting Chef Showdown, where some of the region’s top chefs will battle it out on Friday, April 14th. This year’s participating restaurants and competition lineup will include:

The four-day foodie extravaganza culminates with the “Grand Tasting” event on Saturday, April 15th, where Tampa Bay’s most notable chefs and celebrated restaurants will be showcased. Ticketed guests will be treated to flavorful items created by some of the region’s top dining establishments, which have been confirmed and are as follows: Allelo, American Social, Authentic Jerk Chicken, Azure at EDITION, Brickstreet Farms, Counter Culture, Datz, DeVito’s Italian Specialties, Forbici Modern Italian, Gather TPA, Haiku, Hales Blackbrick Chinese, King of the Coop, Kona Grill, M&R Café, Mata’s Philippine Cuisine, Meat Market, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Oxford Exchange, Palazzo Pizza, Predalina, Red Mesa Cantina, Rusty Pelican, Splitsville Southern + Social, Tacos Las Californias, Tanya & Matt’s Ice Cream Shop, The Battery, The C House, The Liberty Smokehouse, The Library, and Soulfull Biscuit.

The inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival consists of four events taking place throughout the week. The festivities kick off on Wednesday with “An Evening at The Tampa Club,” a private, invite-only ticketed experience featuring a beautiful evening at the Tampa Club on the 42nd Floor overlooking all of Downtown Tampa.

Thursday night, guests will gather at one of the area’s most stunning outdoor dining destinations for “Experience Hyde Park” where the festival has partnered with four different restaurants to create various dining experiences, to include Meat Market, hosted by Penfolds and Balvenie Scotch, Forbici Modern Italian, hosted by Folio Fine Wines to include Rare Champagne and Bibi Graetz, Timpano, hosted by Sonoma Cutrer, and Sur La Table, a unique French cuisine cooking class, hosted by Boisset. Guests will select their destination restaurant and delight in a unique four-course “off-menu” pairing dinner at their favorite hot spot.

On Friday, the legendary “Chef Showdown” competition debuts on Florida’s west coast as Tampa Bay’s top chefs and restaurants gear up for an exciting night of ultimate cook-offs judged by the attendees, with final points given by an impressive VIP judges panel.

Aerial view of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

On Saturday, the culmination of the festival, ticket holders will head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for an afternoon at the “Grand Tasting,” where an extensive array of flavor-packed bites and refreshing libations from Tampa Bay’s leading restaurants await, paired with internationally recognized wine, cocktail, and brewery experiences set for a VIP.
The day will include live music from featured Florida bands, to include Miami’s own, Mama Fuma Band, and headlined by Key West’s The Swayzees, along with interactive experiences by leading national brands, to include the kickoff of Milagro Margarita Mobile Tour, and the always popular GOYA FOODS sampling experience.

Hop into the Stoli Vodka lounge, stop by and enjoy cocktails from Woodford Reserve or Whistle Pig, or visit the Ready to Drink Cocktail village featuring Onda, Ohza, Sips Margs, and more. Sip on wines from Treasury Wine Estate featuring Matua and 19 Crimes, Rabble Wines, Sonoma Cutrer, Folio Fine Wines, and the list continues.

El Dorado Furniture, the official outdoor furniture partner of the festival, has an ultimate dance party ready for you, and be sure to stop by and hydrate thanks to the official water of the festival, Mountain Valley Spring Water. At Saturday’s festival, attendees will serve as judges as they indulge and vote in competing dishes; participating voters will automatically be entered for a chance to win a grand prize: A 7 day cruise to the Caribbean, courtesy of Celebrity Cruises. The “Best of the Fest” bite-winner will be crowned at the end of the day and awarded a monetary prize (and bragging rights!). Be sure to visit the Celebrity Cruises Silent Disco throughout the day to get a sneak peek on what it’s like at sea with Celebrity Cruises.

“Our goal with the inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is to serve as a platform that amplifies and connects notable figures and top brands of the region’s hospitality industry with excited fans to shine a light on the incredible culinary talents that are booming throughout the Tampa Bay area,” says Valerie Roy, Director of Marketing and Client Strategy at CI Management, producers of Tampa Bay WFF.

“By bringing the best of the area’s local and national culinary talent with the help of nationally recognized brands to one place for all to enjoy, we are making that happen for the community to engage and experience what the destination has to offer. Guests can expect four days packed with thrilling culinary experiences and a variety of cuisines that will leave them looking forward to next year!”

CI Management, the team behind some of South Florida’s leading wine and food festivals and experiences (including the immensely popular South Beach Seafood Festival), is ready to celebrate the best restaurants and creative kitchen talent of the Tampa Bay area with a week of events in support of community initiatives that engage the future leaders of the area.

In addition to celebrating regional culinary talent, the festival supports CI Foundation’s EAT SMART program, a 501 © (3) nonprofit program that provides healthy meals and nutritional guidance to the local community and Florida’s youth through programs in our event destinations local school systems and partner education non-profits. Since its launch, the program has raised over $1 million for several South Florida non-profit organizations.

Inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Event Schedule 

DAY 1: 

Wednesday, April 12, 7Pm – An Evening At The Tampa Club
The festival starts off with a private, invite-only ticketed experience at The Tampa Club. Guests will enjoy a kick off cocktail party on the 42nd floor at the members only, Tampa Club, overlooking downtown Tampa to celebrate the start of the inaugural year. The event will feature dishes from Executive Chef Thomas paired with cocktails showcasing cocktails by Milagro Tequila and Stoli Vodka, and wines by Treasury Wine Estate.

Tickets: Invite Only
101 E Kennedy Blvd #4200, Tampa, FL

DAY 2:

Thursday, April 13, 7 Pm – Experience Hyde Park
Escape into the modern oasis of Tampa’s beloved outdoor destination, Hyde Park Village, for this one-of-a-kind evening. Guests will select one of the four partner culinary destinations that have opened their doors to create a succulent, four-course dining experience. Get ready to enjoy and experience the incredible restaurants of Hyde Park. The festival’s selected restaurant partners are Meat Market, hosted by Penfolds and Balvenie Scotch, Forbici Modern Italian, hosted by Folio Fine Wines to include Rare Champagne and Bibi Graetz, Timpano, hosted by Sonoma Cutrer, and Sur La Table, a unique French cuisine cooking class, hosted by Boisset .

Tickets: $100-$250 depending on the restaurant. Update: Meat Market and Sur La Table are sold out.
1602 W. Snow Ave., Tampa, FL

DAY 3:

Friday, April 14, 7 Pm – Chef Showdown
A fan favorite in South Beach, the Chef Showdown, presented by GOYA and Mountain Valley Spring Water, is now set to be a major event on Florida’s West Coast. Celebrate Tampa Bay’s top chefs with an evening of competitive culinary cook-offs, where 14 chefs will battle head-to-head in seven unique showdowns and guests will judge their culinary prowess, and it is the ULTIMATE night of the weekend. Throughout the night, guests will visit their sampling pavilions; sip; sample; and vote for their favorite chef in each battle before the chefs take the main stage for high-energy and over-the-top entertaining live demonstrations. A roster of special VIP guest judges will be on hand to award the best chef in each battle. This year’s confirmed judges are Chef Sean Brasel (Meat Market), Executive Chef Fernando Desa (Goya), Shawna Wiggs (Tampa Magazines), Chef Ferrell Alvarez (Rooster & The Till) and Chef Jeannie Pierola (Edison: Food + Drink Lab and Counter Culture). MC announcement to come shortly.

Tickets: $150
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa, FL

DAY 4:

Saturday April 5, 1 Pm – Grand Tasting
The Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival saves the best for last with an exclusive Grand Tasting Day, as thousands of event goers will join for an afternoon of mouthwatering food, drinks and live entertainment. Taking over the full festival grounds at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, guests will gather to enjoy flavor-packed dishes from Tampa Bay’s leading restaurants, paired with sips and samples from international wine and spirits partners and activities and live music setting up for a great day for Tampa Bay.

Tickets: $99
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa, FL

The Inaugural Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival is brought to you by Breakthru Beverage Florida, presented by GOYA Foods and Mountain Valley Spring Water, and hosted by Celebrity Cruises, Cadillac, Milagro Tequila, Demesmin & Dover Law Firm, Hines Securities, and El Dorado Furniture. Additional hosting partners include Stoli Vodka, Treasury Wine Estates, Folio Fine Wines, Rabble Wines, Phantom, Juggernaut, Sonoma Cutrer, and Korbel. Corporate partners include Siesta Key Rum, Woodford Reserve, Whistle Pig, Herradura, Onda, Batch & Bottle, Ohza, Masq Hard Tea, Hiro Sake, Altamar Brands, Yave Tequila, Total Beverage Solutions, Blue Ice Vodka, Whistle Pig, and Chatham Imports, to date. Additional sponsors include Brickstreet Farms, Tartufo Prestige, Uber, Charleston Bloody Mary, and Ripe Juice.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the inaugural Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival, please visit tampabaywff.com.

Follow along on Instagram at @tampabaywff and on Facebook at @tampabaywff.

The post Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Reveals Contestants for Chef Showdown first appeared on Tampa Magazine.

The post Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Reveals Contestants for Chef Showdown appeared first on Tampa Magazine.

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