The Best American Food Festivals
Chef highlights from Las Vegas Uncork’d are just the beginning. From LA to Vail, the country’s finest food and wine events are tempting our palates.
No other city has the dense concentration of celebrity chef restaurants that Las Vegas enjoys, and once a year these culinary legends converge for an amazing food festival, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit. For four days in May, the Strip comes alive with a non-stop slate of lunches, dinners and seminars hosted by some of the most decorated chefs alive, from Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay to Michael Mina, Charlie Palmer and Nobu Matsuhisa. Mandalay Bay, where Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas is located, hosts many of the Uncork’d events, which this year included a daytime oyster celebration by Palmer, who operates Charlie Palmer Steak at Four Seasons Las Vegas. Mina—who has BOURBON STEAK at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, Wit & Wisdom at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, and The Handle Bar at Four Seasons Resort and Residence Jackson Hole—also hosted a special “Japanese Beef and Japanese Whisky” tasting lunch at his Mandalay Bay location. “I’ve been involved [with Uncork’d] for several years,” says Mina. “This event attracts people who are really interested in food and what is happening around the world, and it’s something I am really proud to be a part of.”
This year’s Uncork’d event was hard to beat. As famed chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay told guests at the dinner he hosted, “I feel bad for everyone eating elsewhere in the world this weekend, because all the best chefs are here in Vegas. It’s a fantastic event.”
If you missed Uncork’d in Las Vegas this May, here are some other notable annual U.S. food and wine festivals to consider.
LA Food and Wine Festival (August 21–25, 2013)
Coming up on its third year, this new but instantly popular four-day festival drew nearly 18,000 visitors in 2012 and included several outdoor events such as an Asian night market, plus two nights of grand wine tastings and a live musical performance by Third Eye Blind. This year’s line-up includes dozens of chefs, including Scott Conant and Giada De Laurentiis.
South Beach Food and Wine (February 20–23, 2014)
In its 13th year, this Miami festival has proved to be one of the nation’s most popular. The 2014 fête will include more than 200 chefs, 50 individual events and 150 wineries. 2013 festival participants included Todd English, Bobby Flay, Ming Tsai, Emeril Lagasse and Anthony Bourdain.
Taste of Vail (April 2–5, 2014)
Always held at the end of Colorado ski season at the nation’s largest ski resort, Taste of Vail draws both food lovers and snow lovers with plenty for both. More than 30 chefs participate in a slew of creative events, including a Nordic ski tour from wine-tasting station to station, a Colorado lamb cook-off and après ski-tasting, and an on-mountain gourmet picnic, as well as more conventional chef wine dinners and classes. Several marquee events are held at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, including a sparkling-wine seminar and an olive oil–tasting class.