The annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) brings together vintners and wine enthusiasts for a long weekend of culinary indulgence. Over four days, more than 1,000 wines from 175 wineries will be poured and evaluated at grand tastings, seminars, competitions and special events. More than 75 local restaurants participate in events and on Friday evening, chef Leah Chase will receive the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award.
Below are some of the events at the 21st annual festival. Visit the website for details and tickets.
Royal Street Stroll
On Thursday, the Royal Street Stroll matches vintners with art and antique galleries on Royal Street. Patrons can browse the galleries and sample wines. There also are musicians and food vendors on the street, including both local restaurants and food trucks. Spread along the stretch will be Washboard Chaz, Leroy Jones, Robin Barnes and other performers. Participating restaurants include GW Fins, Antoine's Restaurant, Bourbon House, Kingfish and others. Food trucks Frencheeze, La Cocinita and Foodie Call will park on the 800 block of Royal Street and Ms. Linda the Ya-ka-mein Lady will serve food as well. Tickets are $89 in advance, $109 at the event.
Funkin' It Up
Saturday evening, the John Besh Foundation and NOWFE host a celebration featuring celebrity chefs, live music and an awards ceremony. Leah Chase will receive the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award, and several scholarship winners will be announced. Participating chefs include Besh, Donald Link, Susan Spicer, Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese in New York and San Francisco, Michelle Bernstein of Michy's in Miami, John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., Food Network's Aaron Sanchez and others. Tickets $250, VIP $325.
Grand Tastings take place Friday evening and Saturday afternoon in Hall J of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Restaurants serve dishes entered into NOWFE's cooking competion. Also, the Louisiana Seafood Board's Louisiana Seafood Cook-off takes place during the Saturday event. Tickets for each tasting are $99 in advance, $119 at the door.
The Big Gateaux Show
This baking and sweets competition is hosted by Food Network's Keegan Gerhard (formerly of the Windsor Court Hotel) and Tariq Hannah, chef/proprietor of Sucre. The celebrity judging panel includes John Iuzzini of Bravo's Top Chef Just Desserts. Competitors must create 1,000 petits fours and bonbons and showpieces inspired by a local burlesque dancer. The competition is 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Royal Sonesta. Tickets $75.
Wine and Food Seminars
There are seminars on wine topics from Oregon wines and sparkling wines to a survey of wines from Burgundy. Several seminars focus on Louisiana seafood, including one about the influence of Asian cooking in south Louisiana. Domenica chef Alon Shaya and visiting chef Michael Solomonov lead demonstrations and offer tastings of Israeli street food. Visit the website for a list of seminars. Ticket prices vary.