Thursday, November 23, 2017
Events

Big names, big hopes for November food festival in St. Petersburg

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — At a news conference a little light on details but soaring with excitement, a group of organizers on Friday officially launched the buzz campaign for E.A.T. St. Pete, a three-day food, wine and arts festival to be held in a variety of venues in November.

Initial plans for the Nov. 15-17 event leaked out in January but this was the first time sponsors HSN, Bill Edwards Presents and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater gathered publicly to talk about the event, which will include appearances by celebrity and local chefs.

Donatella Arpaia, a New York restaurateur and a regular Iron Chef judge; Chopped judge Scott Conant, whose Scarpetta restaurants are in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles; and South Florida's Ingrid Hoffmann, whose show Simply Delicioso airs on Food Network, joined the local organizers at the Mahaffey Theater atrium to announce the event. All three chefs have sold cookbooks, cookware or other products on HSN and are all veterans of large-scale festivals.

Among the chefs joining them in November will be Todd English, who has more than 15 restaurants nationwide, including two on Cunard cruise ships; Ming Tsai, one of the first chef-hosts on the Food Network who now has a show on Fine Living Network; Baltimore baker Duff Goldman, who came to national prominence on the Food Network's Ace of Cakes; and Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto.

HSN, based in St. Petersburg, will broadcast some of the events live over the weekend to its considerable 24-hour shopping audience, bringing visibility to the area. It's likely many of the events will take place at venues on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront, stretching from the Dalí Museum to the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, and including the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg and possibly the Chihuly Collection. There will be a reception at the HSN complex, and a grand tasting on Nov. 16 at a location to be announced.

Events will be both indoors and outdoors, with some likely in the green space between the Dalí and the Mahaffey.

A $250,000 grant from BP to Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will be used to market the event, said D.T. Minich, the organization's executive director. Several speakers, among them Scott Conant, said they were looking forward to promoting Gulf of Mexico seafood. Minich says there are still some lingering doubts about its safety after the 2011 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Other than possible use of art venues, it wasn't disclosed how art will play into the event. But several speakers, among them St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, said the city wanted to capitalize on being named the nation's No. 1 arts destination for mid-size cities for three years in a row by AmericanStyle magazine.

"I don't know why no one has thought about combining food with art before," Arpaia said.

Having HSN as a sponsor will give organizers the opportunity to partner with some of the biggest culinary names in the country, many of whom hawk their wares on the network. Besides the chefs who have been announced, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora, Curtis Stone and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, also are regulars on HSN. There has been no announcement about their involvement in the festival.

Robert Kapusta, president of E.A.T. — which stands for Enjoy Arts & Tastes — St. Pete, said he hoped the event would bring in a few thousand people and eventually rival the Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival. Held every February, the South Beach event is arguably the nation's most well-known culinary festival and this year drew about 60,000 people.

E.A.T. St. Pete comes on the heels of another big Florida culinary event, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which is Sept. 27 to Nov. 11 this year.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586.

 
Comments
5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

1. Gem, Jewelry and Bead Show and Sale: Check out these rocks when more than 50 dealers from around the United States sell crystals, minerals, beads, gems and jewelry. $5. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through ...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

SWINGIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Brian Setzer OrchestraWhen you spend 13 straight Thanksgivings on the road, you build some traditions with your crew. "We get a big ballroom," said Brian Setzer. "I don’t know how many turkeys we go through, but ev...
Published: 11/22/17
Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!Or is it? Sometimes life just doesn’t come together at 2 p.m. on Thursday.Circumstances mean it’s not always possible to sit around the table on Thanksgiving, a family in a Publix ad smiling over a glistening bird. Maybe family is ou...
Published: 11/22/17
4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

Perhaps you have relatives in town for the weekend, and you’re running out of ways to entertain them. Or maybe you’re wondering what to do with your long weekend. There’s a perfect solution for either scenario: Go see some art. There’s plenty on vi...
Published: 11/22/17
Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

PULLING STRINGS: Lindsey StirlingDubstep violist Lindsey Stirling shot to fame as a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and she has been rocking the spangles on Dancing With the Stars this season as the last woman left . But on Friday yo...
Published: 11/22/17
If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

The last thing this world needs is another rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, likely the most remade, reimagined and ripped off literary property ever. At the same time, the world would be poorer without seeing Ebenezer Scrooge i...
Published: 11/22/17
Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday isn’t just for stores. Many theme parks and attractions in Florida are also offering up deals that could make a nice gift or family splurge. The smaller the park, the bigger the deal, so Legoland, Gatorland and SeaWorld are toutin...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Shopping Black Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’ll open at...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay the day after Thanksgiving

Top things to do in Tampa Bay the day after Thanksgiving

Here are our editors' picks for things to do on Nov. 24, 2017. St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Mayor Kriseman flips the switch to illuminate the city’s Christmas tree at this celebration with live entertainment. 5 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth ...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 25

Shopapalooza: 150 vendors, artists and local businesses. 10 a.m., Straub Park (Center), at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. Free (items individually priced). (727) 637-5586. John McLaughlin: One of music’s most influential guitarists....
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17