The first inaugural Enjoy Arts and Tastes Food and Wine Festival kicked off over the weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. The three-day event was a culinary feast that celebrated local cuisine, the arts, and the renowned panoramic beauty of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and the Tampa Bay area—and there was no shortage of celebrity chefs.
Local support from business, such as HSN, in addition to national sponsors and more than 70 chefs, restaurants, artists, wineries, and spirit companies were proud to help kick-start the event. Curtis Stone, one of the celebrity chefs at the festival, said he was “excited about the culinary scene in St. Petersburg. It's really starting to develop and gain attention.” There was even a rumor that Donatella Arpaia might open a restaurant in the area soon.
Events started off Friday with a dinner hosted by Todd English at the Museum of Fine Arts followed by a dessert tasting at the Dali Museum hosted by Duff Goldman. Saturday was full of celebrity chef demonstrations and book signings, a grand tasting with bites from local restaurants and chefs, and wineries kept the liquor flowing. Everyone put on their dancing shoes Saturday night for salsa dancing hosted by Ingrid Hoffman—who is one talented dancer! There were also more delicious samples from local restaurants and a cigar bar. Sunday was a poolside burger contest hosted by Donatella Arpaia with local chefs participating in the contest.
Proceeds of the festival support Florida ProStart, a program of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation, which supports the next generation of culinary and hospitality leaders. The festival not only celebrates, but inspires the love of food and art and we can't wait for next year's festivities.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.