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Amelia Islander

2017 Taste of Amelia Island Grows to Weekend-Long Destination Food and Wine Event

Sep 01, 2017 02:00AM
The 26th Annual Taste of Amelia Island announces the opening of ticket sales for its first year as a destination food and wine weekend. This year’s Taste of Amelia Island Gala will be held on Sunday, October 1st, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, in the Magnolia Ballroom and adjoining foyer, terrace, and garden areas, with additional food and wine special events being held around the island throughout the weekend.

The 2017 Taste of Amelia Island Gala has grown to a capacity of 900 people coming off a hugely successful 25th Anniversary event in 2016 and includes over 20 of the island’s best Chefs, complimentary fine wines, a 50/50 Raffle, live Chef Demo, live music and Guest Chef Judge, Tom Gray, of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails and Town Hall Restaurant, deciding the Chef’s Best Dish of the Taste. Attendees will also cast their votes for the People’s Choice for Best Dish of the Taste. Rhineland Cutlery will provide the engraved Chef awards.

Returning Chefs include Chef Jose Salome, who made his mark on the Atlanta food scene before relocating to Amelia Island several years ago. Chef Jose Salome worked with some of the city’s most celebrated chefs, from Gary Mennie at Canoe to Kevin Rathbun at Buckhead Diner. He built his career in the kitchens that helped shape Atlanta’s dining scene over the last decade.

Additionally, Chef Jose worked under Adam Evans, opening The Optimist, which was listed as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America in 2013, as well as having cooked for the prestigious James Beard House as part of the American Express Celebrity Chef’s Tour. The tour featured James Beard House dinners in major cities outside of New York. Specifically, Chef Jose cooked with Chef Scott Schwartz for the Atlanta dinner.

Before moving to Amelia Island, Chef Jose was the Chef de Cuisine at Valenza in Atlanta. Among other notable Chefs, Bravo Top Chef finalist, Chef Kenny Gilbert, will also participate. Chef Kenny has cooked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Stedman Graham, Samuel L. Jackson, and A.J. Calloway, just to name a few. Chef Kenny has competed on and won Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and beat Chef Bobby Flay at his own game on Beat Bobby Flay.

“This year, we will have everything from fine dining to ethnic cuisine to fresh seafood and more. This event is a wonderful celebration of our culinary talent and their generosity in giving their time and talent to raise money to further the work of the Nassau County Volunteer Center and increase our capacity to help more of those most in need throughout our local community”, says Executive Director, Lori Hoerl.

The Taste weekend will include special events that can be added to the Taste Gala to create a full weekend package of food and wine experiences, with hotel accommodation options also being offered as part of the event. Special events will be hosted by 29 South, Amelia Tavern, Burlingame Restaurant, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, and White Oak Conservation.

Lori Hoerl says, “With the increase in regional traffic that we saw at last year’s event, we realized this event was ready to grow into something bigger. Our culinary community includes top national Chefs and award winning talent. Thanks to the generosity of these Chefs and select hotels, we are able to offer a truly first-class food and wine experience on a top island destination.”

Taste of Amelia Island tickets are now available online through 904 Tix and through the Nassau County Volunteer Center website at www.volunteernassau.org. Tickets are $100 per person for the Taste Gala and are non-refundable. Additional special events can be added to the Taste Gala on the 904 tix site with prices varying dependent upon the special event.

Taste sponsors this year include Robyn Branch Design, Christina King Design, Total Wine & More, Island Grove Wine Company, Fast Signs Fernandina Beach, Encore Event Technologies, Launch Printing and Promotions, The Sheffield Family, Rhineland Cutlery, Resort Talent, KBay 106.3, Cheney Brothers, Edible Northeast Florida Magazine, News-Leader, Nassau County Record, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, and Devouring Jax.

For regional attendees, the Taste has added in hotel packages offered by Residence Inn Amelia Island and Amelia Hotel at the Beach. “Last year we saw about a 50% regional draw with attendees coming from Atlanta, Orlando and several hours south of Amelia Island. This is an opportunity for food and wine lovers to come and experience the best of Amelia Island’s culinary talent, while enjoying a top island destination in the country”, says Lori Hoerl. Lori says, “This year promises to be a truly memorable destination event.”

For more information or any questions regarding Taste event details, please contact Lori Hoerl, Executive Director, at 904-261-2771 or email [email protected]