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Wine + Food fest returns

September 17, 2018

GREENWICH — Foodies have a big weekend ahead in Greenwich.

The annual Greenwich Wine + Food Festival kicks off Friday night with a dinner event honoring celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, continuing Saturday with a tasting tent featuring more than 150 vendors and a Tim McGraw concert. Some tickets are still available. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to the town of Greenwich’s Parks and Recreation Fund and to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Suni Unger, the founder and CEO of Unger Media, the parent company behind festival, said the two-day wine and food party makes for a wonderful event right in the center of Greenwich.

“This is such a beautiful location right by the water,” Unger said. “It’s right off of I-95 and it’s so easy for people to come in from New York City or even from Riverside on the train. We have people making a whole weekend of it in town and they’re coming from all over the country. This is a wonderful town and it’s really a chance for Greenwich to show itself off to everyone who is coming.”

The festival will be held, as in years past, at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park and it will take place rain or shine. As of Monday, the National Weather Service predicted possible showers Friday night but clear skies on Saturday.

Friday’s Master Chef Dinner will honor Guarnaschelli, a popular Food Network personality, famous for her appearances on shows including “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America.” She is an executive chef at the New York City restaurant Butter and is being honored at the dinner for “her innovation and substantial contributions to the culinary world.”

Also at the dinner, Greenwich residents Elizabeth and Traver Hutchins will be given the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award.

“The heart of this event is to be able to give something back to the community we live in,” Unger said. “I love the Master Chef Dinner because it is the brunt of our fundraising work with our auction that night. But there’s so much going on that it’s hard to pick a favorite part of the weekend.”

The dinner, which will be hosted by Greenwich residents Gary Dell’Abate, producer of the Howard Stern radio show, and Rob Burnett, a famed writer and director, will also feature Food Network stars Scott Conant and Adam Richman. It will honor the 2018 Most Innovative Chefs, a group that includes Cedric Lamouille from Bistro V in Greenwich.

Friday night will have a musical performance by the CCB Reggae All Stars to close out the dinner.

But the mix of food and music will not end there. McGraw, who is in the midst of a world tour with his wife Faith Hill, will perform in the park at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Former town resident Caroline Jones, a rising country star, will be the opening act at 6:30 p.m. just as she has been for several stops on his tour.

The concert will follow the return of the tasting tent, a popular feature of the festival. From 12:30 to 5 p.m., attendees will be able to sample from vendors offering wide range of food selections, from meats and cheeses to baked goods and other desserts.

Several nearby wine vendors will be included. Attendees must be 21 years or older to enter the festival. Pets are not permitted.

At 3 p.m., Dell’Abate will once again host the annual Bartender’s Showdown, bringing in people from all over the area to try to impress the judges and win the people’s choice awards for the cocktails they create.

Then at 5 p.m. the annual Burger Battle will begin with Richman hosting as judges declare the best burger in the area. The special Bud and Burgers section of the festival is set to open an hour earlier at 4 p.m.

A full schedule of events and a limited number of tickets still are available at www.greenwichwineandfood.com.

Saturday’s festivities will also include book signings featuring culinary stars including Richmann, Conant, Guarnaschelli, Daniel Boulud and Christian Petroni, who was recently named the Next Food Network Star. All of them will lead cooking demos for ticket holders.

Town resident Kathie Lee Gifford will take part on Saturday by leading a Meet the Masters panel.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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