May 21, 2012

The 10th Annual Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration Preview 7/21/12

It's been two years coming. For the last two years, I was invited by Farmer Lee Jones to come out, tour the The Chef's Garden Farm and get the lowdown on why he has become the premier farmer to the culinary world's elite, but for one reason or another I could not attend. This year, the stars have finally aligned and I'm in and thrilled to be a part of the event, in order to bring all the juicy and delicious details. For those of you who may not know, Lee and his farm have been providing vegetables of exceptional quality to the most discerning, well known and acclaimed chefs in the country for nearly 30 years. Lee is the 'Farmer to the Stars.' I'll be doing a behind the scenes look at this unique farm, covering the events and
Farmer Lee Jones
celebrity chefs who will headlining the festival, and then bringing you an up close and personal look at this iconic farmer, known for his red bow tie and overalls. PSST! An inside source has given me a heads up that there may well be a chef cook-off competition and you'll be able to read all the coverage and details here on Kitchen Rap this summer.

About the The Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration 
This years festival is a unique opportunity to sample culinary masterpieces and wine pairings at the Culinary Vegetable Institute’s rustic riverside retreat. The grounds are alive on this summer Saturday with the aromas and flavors of the world’s best cuisine, food demonstrations, wine education and samplings, and the chance to contribute to a great cause through the unique offerings of the silent and live auctions. This annual fundraiser benefits Veggie U, a non-profit children’s education program that teaches the importance of nutrition and sustainable agriculture by providing interactive lesson plans with a classroom garden kit to elementary schools and special needs students.

Johnny Iuzzini
This year’s headliners include Chef Johnny Iuzzini (Judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts, James Beard award winning pastry chef, and author), and Claire Robinson, who combines her passions for food and television on The Food Network Challenge and on 5 Ingredient Fix, a Food Network series featuring delicious eclectic recipes made with five ingredients or fewer. Chef Robert Irvine from Foodnetwork's Restaurant Impossible and Chef Amanda Freitag.
Claire Robinson
 The headliners will showcase their many talents on the F&W Celebration demonstration stage, where attendees will have the opportunity to get a real sense of their personalities and see the skill and artistry that is put into their creations.

Flavors of the World creates a context for each of the thirty+ guest chefs at the event’s
Robert Irvine
tasting stations to transport visitors to their favorite locales or to a region and cuisine style they might not otherwise get to experience. New this year is the addition of two gourmet food trucks, a fun trend happening around the country, as top chefs put their award winning restaurant menus “on the road” in city streets, parks and catered events. Chef Rocco Whalen, restaurateur and executive chef at Fahrenheit in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, who was also recently showcased on Food Network’s Fat Chef series, will bring his “Short Rib 1” Fahrenheit Truck. In addition, gourmet food-truck operator Chef Chris Hodgson, who achieved nationwide recognition when he finished second on Food
Amanda Freitag
Network’s "The Great Food Truck Race" this year, will bring the famous Hodge Podge truck showcased on the series. Hodgson recently opened Hodge’s in downtown Cleveland with restaurateur Scott Kuhn.

Early bird prices good through June 1. Grand Tasting Event 5-9pm $130 per person (regular price $150) VIP Party 4 – 5:30 through Grand Tasting at 9pm $250 per person (regular price $300) To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit or call 419.499.7500. Sponsorship opportunities are available and food and wine vendor applications are also being accepted.

Bon Appetit, 


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