If you have taste buds and like to have a good time, this week is undoubtedly one of your favorite times to be a Valley dweller. Starting Tuesday, April 5, the 33rd Annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival will kick off. The week of events includes incredible chef dinners, sexy see-and-be-seen parties and the always-fun and always-delish Great Arizona Picnic. Proceeds go to Scottsdale League for the Arts in benefit of local arts programs. To purchase tickets and for more info on this year’s Scottsdale Culinary Festival, visit http://www.scottsdaleculinaryfestival.org/.
Here’s a peek at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival events:
The Kick Off Party – 7-10 p.m.
The 2011 Scottsdale Culinary Festival ignites with The Kick Off Party. Hosted by SKYY Vodka at SHADE, the lounge at the W Scottsdale, the evening will be flowing with hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails and tracks provided by DJ Knick Knack to ensure the Festival starts off right.
Chef Tribute Dinner–6:30 p.m.
This year will honor world renowned chef/restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten of J & G Steakhouse at The Phoenician with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Michelin starred Chef Vongerichten will be in the kitchen preparing a five-course, wine-paired tasting menu featuring classic dishes from his restaurants around the world, from Thailand to New York City and everywhere in between.
Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner – 6 p.m. Reception, 7:30 p.m. Dinner
A rare, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, it’s a collaborative dinner in the company of true artisans. Eight James Beard award-winning chefs from around the country prepare a multi-course meal complete with carefully selected wine pairings.
The Chocolate & Wine Experience – 7-10 p.m.
Indulge your sweet tooth with chocolate creations from the Valley’s best pastry chefs expertly paired with unique wines from around the globe held atop Talking Stick Resort.
Eat, Drink & Be Pretty Party – 7-10 p.m.
Not only are there a menagerie of tastes from local restaurants, varietals of wine and an array of cocktails, runway models will strut breakthrough styles and must-haves of the moment. Once your appetite for food and fashion are satisfied, fulfill your craving for fun with a dynamic performance from an elite entertainer.
Chef Wine Dinners – 6:30 p.m.
Join award-winning chefs at seven of the Valley’s top restaurants for a series of exclusive four-course dinners paired with rich vintage wines. The dinners are limited to 24 attendees per restaurant to ensure an intimate and savory experience.
Wine Country Brunch™ – 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
A spread of brunch favorites and ever-flowing Champagne or mimosas is available to guests of the Wine Country Brunch. While feasting on a lineup of delicacies, an equally impressive display of tantalizing luxury items is open for your bid at the brunch’s silent auction.
Best of the Fest™ – 6:30 p.m.
The finale! This extravaganza will lift the spirits and please the palate. Eleven of the Valley’s finest chefs share the stage to craft a sumptuous five-course, wine-paired feast served in a beautiful outdoor setting.
Great Arizona Picnic™ (GAP) – Saturday 12-9 p.m., Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Sample food from 50-plus restaurants and enjoy cooking demonstrations from local and national chefs. Taste vodka-inspired drinks at the SKYY Bar, tequila cocktails at the Patrón Experience, 200-plus beers at the New Belgium Southwest Festival of Beers or a glass of wine with the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour where attendees can watch live cooking demonstrations, take in music performances on the three music stages and sample bites from local restaurants . Dance to rocking music performed by bands on two main stages. You can even have some family time at the Family Zone.
Cooks & Corks™ – Saturday & Sunday 12-4:30 p.m.
Part of the Great Arizona Picnic, spice things up at this two-day culinary affair showcasing cooking demos from some of the nation’s most prestigious chefs. This includes, Food Network’s Robin Miller, Sam the Cooking Guy, Bravo Top Chef Masters’ Chef Jonathan Waxman and Chef Wilo Benet, and Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2010 Chef Jonathan Sawyer and Chef Alex Seidel. Exquisite cuisine will be available in the atrium from many of Arizona’s tastiest restaurants, as well as wine samplings from exceptional vintners.