2011 Scottsdale Culinary Festival

The 33rd Annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival takes place April 5 through 10. Yes, the 33rd annual.

Here’s a quick run down of all the events taking place.

April 5th: The Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame (sorry, this is invite-only)

Don’t worry, follow me on Twitter (@chefgwen) and I’ll tweet out the winners in the three categories: Chef Extraordinaire, Pastry Chef Extraordinaire and Exceptional Establishment.

April 5th: The Kick-off Party at SHADE Lounge at the W Scottsdale. ($40)

Host SKYY Vodka will introduce two new flavors: Blood Orange and Dragonfruit. Expect lots of nibbles, cocktails and music.

April 6th: A Chef Tribute Dinner featuring Jean George Vongerichten at J&G Steakhouse. ($150)

The dinner is in honor of Michelin-starred Chef Vongerichten, but I hear they’re making him cook, too. Lucky guests.

April 7th: The Chocolate & Wine Experience at 270 Degrees (14th floor) at Talking Stick Resort. ($50)

Featuring local chocolatier Julia Baker and pastry chef Tracy Dempsey, among others.

April 7th: Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner at deseo at Westin Kierland Resort ($200)

Multi-course dinner prepared by eight James Beard award-winning chefs, including Chef Douglas Rodriquez, the man behind the menu at deseo.

April 8th: Eat, Drink & Be Pretty (I’m not making this stuff up) at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. ($65)

Expect hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a fashion show. I predict lots of sweet drinks and tanned beauties.

April 9th: Chef Wine Dinners. Various restaurants. ($125)

Of the seven, the Renegade Canteen/Arizona Stronghold Wine dinner sounds right up my alley. Love the thought of Chef McGrath & winemaker Glomski collaborating.

April 9th & 10th: Cooks & Corks at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. ($75 on Saturday, $65 on Sunday)

I’ve always loved this event, especially if the weather is particularly hot; it’s nice to escape the heat and sip wine while watching various cooking demos. Look for Bravo’s Top Chef Masters’ competitor Chef Jonathan Waxman on Saturday.

April 9th & 10th: Great American Picnic (GAP) at Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza. ($10)

Premo people-watching event. It’s always a party but there’s a family zone, too. Lots of side shows as well, like cooking demos and on Sunday, a chef-challenge cooking contest. Aaron May took home the trophy last year.

April 10th: Wine Country Brunch at Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center. ($65)

Refined and sophisticated, with free-flowing champagne and a silent auction after you’re sufficiently bubbled up.

April 10th: Best of the Fest finale dinner at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa. ($175)

Chef Lee Hillson’s T. Cook’s table is already sold out, but there are other fab tables left to grab, including Mel Mecinas from Four Seasons, James Porter from Petite Maison, and Michael DeMaria from Heirloom, among others.

For more information:


Don’t forget, the festival is fun and dandy, but the purpose is to raise money for the arts. The festival organizer, the Scottsdale League for the Arts, has donated more than $3.5 million to numerous non-profit art and art education programs throughout the Valley, including awarding scholarships to students to pursue education in the culinary arts.

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  1. […] The Michelin-starred chef and savvy restaurateur was in town to cook a dinner in his honor at J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician resort, as part of the 33rd Annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival. […]

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