Last year we kicked off our second decade of bringing together the city’s best restaurants for a weekend of fun and fare. As we gear up for the next Taste of Atlanta, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few of our favorite highlights from Taste of Atlanta 2012.
We fired up the weekend with The Big Grill: Grills Gone Wild, a salute to Atlanta chefs. Renowned chefs, including Ford Fry of JCT Kitchen & Bar, Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s and Jay Swift of 4th & Swift, joined us for a festive kick-off to Taste of Atlanta. We celebrated with live music from Yacht Rock Schooner, cold beer, cocktails and (of course) the best bites in the city!
A few of our fave local chefs traded their aprons for instruments and took the stage as Five Bone Rack! Chefs including Ford Fry of JCT Kitchen & Bar and Zeb Stevenson of Livingston Restaurant + Bar rocked The Big Grill and showed off their musical chops.
Atlanta’s top bartenders competed for the title of Taste of Atlanta’s Best Bartender. Many of those competing were members of the Atlanta chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG), a national and international network of bartenders and beverage professionals from every aspect of the beverage industry who come together to share their common interest: the craft of mixology. Congratulations again to the 2012 Barcraft Winners! Kellie Thorne from Empire State South was crowned with 1st Place honors and Shanna Mayo from Leon’s Full Service took home the 2nd Place prize.
We were proud to support Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters™ as the beneficiary of our Silent Auction. Cooking Matters is a groundbreaking program that provides a strong foundation in nutrition, cooking, and household budgeting through specialized courses for adults, kids, and teens. In 2012, our Silent Auction raised over $30,000 for Cooking Matters, allowing the program to reach over 2,000 participants in 2013.
The Barnes & Noble Bookstore Tent featured popular cookbooks and other food-related titles. Some of our favorite local and national authors stopped by for book signings, including Weight Watchers CEO David Kirchhoff, AJC chief dining critic John Kessler and “Amateur Gourmet” Adam Roberts.
We gave attendees a sneak peek into the fascinating worldof the professional Chef and allowed our guests to discover the secrets of the culinary craft. Patrons enjoyed tastes & beverages in an intimate setting while learning valuable cooking skills and gaining insight into the Atlanta restaurant scene. Hosted by Atlanta’s own Tom Sullivan, session highlights included Breakfast Around the World and Cheers to Craft Beers.
The Kitchen Workshop was a hands-on cooking experience offering VIP ticket holders a unique opportunity to learn how to create delicious dishes in their own kitchen. We were thrilled to welcome Mara Davis as the host of the Kitchen Workshop. Sessions included Perfecting Paella and Wrap and Roll (an exclusive intro to the intricate art of sushi making with one of Atlanta’s premier sushi chefs).
We showcased the amazing chefs that have helped put Atlanta on the culinary map. At the Home Plate Main Stage, top chefs created their favorite recipes, shared their passion for food and showed off their culinary skills. We were thrilled to welcome Holly Firfer as host and emcee of the Home Plate Stage. We especially enjoyed the Chopped Challenge: Facebook Face Off because our Facebook fans picked the secret ingredients for this cooking competition between Chef Craig Richards from Ecco and Matt Coggin from DBA Barbecue.
Taste of Atlanta 2012 featured over 80 of Atlanta’s best restaurants and food trucks. Our food and décor judges had a lot of food to taste and tough calls to make! So which restaurants took home top honors for Taste of Atlanta 2012? On Saturday Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails won Best Décor, Del Frisco’s Grille won Best Presentation for their Ahi Tuna Tacos and Pimento Mac & Cheese, Ray’s Restaurants won Best Dessert for their Lemon Panacotta and Seed Kitchen & Bar won Best Taste for their Pimento Cheese Crostini!
And the feast went on! On Sunday Tin Lizzy’s Cantina won Best Décor, L’Thai Cuisine & Wine Bar won Best Presentation, High Road Craft Ice Cream won Best Dessert with their Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream and Mi Cocina won Best Taste with their delicious ceviche!
We’re looking forward to many more years as Atlanta’s premier food, beer, wine and cocktail festival and hope you’ll join us for Taste of Atlanta 2013! Save the date and meet us in Midtown at Tech Square on October 25, 26 & 27, 2013!