Greenville, South Carolina, will soon roll out the red carpet for regional foodies at one of the year’s biggest and best food festivals in the South and one of the only great non-profit festivals in the country. The Euphoria festival gathers celebrated chefs, pitmasters, craft brewers, cookbook authors, and sommeliers, and adds an entertaining twist with celebrity singers such as Greenville’s own platinum artist Edwin McCain, one of the festival’s founders. Over the years – with the assistance of sponsors such as Greenville-based Michelin, which now attracts Michelin-starred talent to its US HQ hometown -- Euphoria has grown to become one of the South’s top cultural events.
Euphoria starts the four-day festival off with a bang on Thursday, Sept. 21 with multiple events including the Greenville Kick-Off Party, Songwriter’s Recipe reception and concert, and two guest-chef dinners featuring chef Scott Crawford of Raleigh’s Crawford & Son (celebrating North-meets-South with chef Joe Clarke from the recently closed American Grocery Restaurant), and Emeril alums Heidi and Joe Trull of the fabulous Grits & Groceries in nearby Belton, South Carolina.
Award-winning and rising chefs from the area are heralded on Friday, Sept. 22 at Taste of the South, plus a live performance by McCain, known for his Top 40 hits “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More.” New chefs this year include Brandon Carter of Farm, John May of Piedmont Restaurant, Amalia Scatena of Cannon Green, and Eric Wolitzky of Atlanta Fifth Group Restaurants.
Feast by the Field, on Saturday, Sept. 23, is the not-to-be-missed dine-around event showcasing nationally acclaimed chefs and food purveyors during intimate tastings, cooking demonstrations on three stages, beverage samples, a beer garden, an expanded pop-up Chef’s Table, and more tasty experiences.
Saturday night offers an embarrassment of riches, including a New Orleans-style party and seven different Chef Dinners. In a party mood? The place to be is Euphoria’s newest event, The Big Easy Bash at Trailblazer Park, where James Beard “Best Chef Midwest” semifinalist Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Café and The Peacemaker in St. Louis will serve signature Louisiana dishes, the Soda City Brass Band will blast the tunes, and N’awlins pastry chef Tariq Hanna serves the sweets – hopefully including his Sucre eclairs.
For a break from Southern staples like shrimp and grits, we recommend an inspired Italian dinner at the new Jianna restaurant with host chef Michael Kramer along with guest chefs Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb in San Francisco and Ken Vendrinski of Trattoria Lucca in Charleston.
The hottest ticket of the festival was an instant sell-out, and for good reason. It’s Seeing Stars, an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime Chefs Dinner featuring three Michelin-starred chefs with six stars combined: two-star Michelin chef Dominque Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco; one-star Michelin Chef Michael Mina of Michael Mina in San Francisco; and three-star Michelin Chef Curtis Duffy of Grave in Chicago. The culinary triumvirate will pool their award-winning talents to present a collaborative multi-course dinner at The Lazy Goat on Saturday night. Crenn, Duffy, and Mina will also serve as the inspiring assistant sous chefs for the young cooks competing in Sunday’s The Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown, in which kids ages 9 to 17 complete to have their healthy, delicious, and economical original recipes served in Greenville County Schools for the 2017-18 year.
And of course, no Southern food festival would be worth its salt without a heaping helping of proper Southern ribs and brisket. Belly up to the Sunday brunch table at Fired Up for a smokin’ feast prepared by regional grill-masters including Southern Soul Barbeque, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Home Team BBQ, Lewis BBQ, Skylight Inn BBQ, Sam Jones BBQ, Southern Smoke BBQ, and Greenville’s-own Nard’s Backyard BBQ.
Many other mouthwatering events include: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner at the Commerce Club; An Upstate Pairing: Dinner at Stella’s Southern Brasserie; the farm-to-table Sunday Supper presented by Certified SC; and the Southern Grown Dinner with Bacon Bros. Public House. For ticket presales and the full schedule go online.