Scottsdale Culinary Festival

The Scoop on the Scottsdale Culinary Festival

Cleanse those palates and brush up on your foodie adjectives! It’s time for the 36th annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival!

As the primary fundraiser for the Scottsdale League for the Arts, the event hosts more than 35,000 guests, 20 events, 100 restaurants and dozens of top chefs. The mission is to support artists, art programs and arts education, and the League has donated over $3.8 million to arts organizations in Arizona. Be sure to check out the special dinners and events occurring during the week, between April 8 and 13, and the Great Arizona Picnic over the weekend in order to support the arts in Arizona. There is sure to be an event for everyone.

Alcoholic Events:

  • Chocolate & Wine Experience, hosted inside the Musical Instrument Museum on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, this event will feature edible works of art from Arizona’s chocolatiers including Chocolates by M Josephs and Copper Creek Cheesecakes. Taste any kind of chocolate you can image from hand-dipped truffles to chili-infused chocolate mousse and pair it with fine wines. Live music will be performed by pianist Qingqing Ye and the jazz band The Lark and Key.

  • Bubbles & Bliss will be a luxury night on the town on Thursday, April 10, 2014, at the W in Scottsdale. Francis Ford Coppola Winery will provide bottles of sparkling wines of Sofia for guests to enjoy, paired with treats from Good Gracious Confections and Alaskan seafood from Sushi Roku’s chef. Guests can enjoy while walking around the rooftop pool and listening to the music of DJ Soloman. And what is more luxurious than the Bliss Spa Squad distributing spa-at-home samples and providing complimentary arm massages?

  • Wines of South Africa will be take place on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Wines and food will combine cross-currents of European, African and Asian traditions at the From BBQ to Braai event. South African chef, Hugo Uys, and Wines of South Africa will join at the Westin Keirland Resort & Spa to showcase traditional braai food compared to American barbeque. South African multimedia artist and DJ, Xander Ferreira, will also entertain guests.

  • Southwest Festival of Beers takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014. The event will hold more than 200 specialty beers and live musical entertainment from Chuck E Baby and The All-Stars. The event is presented by Blue Moon and will be held at the Great Arizona Picnic.

  • Great Arizona Picnic is a party for everyone as the signature event of the festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014. Guests can explore 25 acres of gardens and fountains along the Civic Mall in downtown Scottsdale while visiting over 50 restaurants in attendance, watching cooking demonstrations and listening to live music. There will be local food favorites and alcohol such as SKYY Vodka-inspired drinks from SKYY Bar, tequila drinks from Tequila Experience, wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery and over 200 beers from the Southwest Festival of Beers. Bands will be playing on three stages throughout the day with local and regional favorites such as the Al Ortiz Trio and the Crown Kings.

  • VIP Passport to the Picnic amps up your picnicking experience with unique food samples and premium beer, wine and spirits in a shady, comfortable area that overlooks the Amphitheater stage. There will be demos from Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani and Chopped’s Maneet Chauhan and exclusive food and cocktails from Tommy Bahama Scottsdale. True to Life and the Groove Merchants will perform and guests will also have access into the Great Arizona Picnic and special venues including the Skyy Bar, Southwest Festival of Beers and the Tequila Experience.

  • Tequila Deck features Maestro Dobel tequila, triple sec and citrus to make ice-cold margaritas on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014.

  • SKYY Bar will provide a class martini with a twist of fun concoctions and a variety of SKYY Vodka products on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014. There will be two new SKYY vodka flavors along with their peach, citrus, passion fruit, vanilla and ginger flavors.

Glamorous Events:

  • Opening Night Affair party kicks off the Scottsdale Culinary Festival on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, with a salute to classic Hollywood. The party will be hosted at the Casablanca Lounge in downtown Scottsdale. Be sure to dress to impress and walk the red carpet under the lights. Vintage cocktails and savory food will be provided by Campari and Southbridge’s finest restaurants as well as magic, music and a cigar lounge.

  • Best of the Fest will close the Scottsdale Culinary Festival’s activities with a grand finale. Top restaurants will create a tableside, five-course dinner paired with wine. Each chef will have two tables to decorate with décor that captures the essence of their cuisine and restaurant and to cook for their guests. Chefs include Joshua Hebert of POSH Restaurant, Salvador Prado of Alto Ristorante, James Lucas of Lon’s, Christopher Nicosia of Sassi, Juan Soloria of SWB at the Hyatt, Mel Mecinas of Talavera, Bryan Gorton of Wrights at the Biltmore and Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro.

Casual Competitions:

  • The Burger Battle will commence on Thursday, April 10, 2014 with sixteen chefs and restaurants competing for the title of 2014 Best Burger. Attendees will taste and vote for the best burger for the People’s Choice Award and a panel of chefs and culinary experts will select for the Judges Award. Guests will also receive Leinenkugel’s beer, soft drinks, fries and dessert while also enjoying music performed by Elvis Before Noon. The winning restaurant leaves as a qualifier for the World Burger Championship, a trophy and bragging rights.

  • The Wine Country Brunch will feature mimosas, wines, a silent auction, and masterpieces from Valley pastry chefs and students. The event will celebrate the winners of the 2014 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and select the winner of the Wine country Brunch: The Challenge. Attendees will get to vote for their favorite brunch spot!

Artsy Events:

  • An Artist’s Palate will share a night of creativity with food and entertainment on Thursday, April 10, 2014. Chef Gabriele Bertaccini of Il Tocco Food will create a four-course gourmet Italian dinner paired with Italian wines of Vias Imports. Guests will also enjoy music performed by the Scottsdale League for the Arts grant recipient. The event will be full of mystery and creativity at the secret Scottsdale location where different artists will reveal themselves and their talents.

  • Eat, Drink & Be Pretty will be the festivals more fashion-forward event on the red carpet on Friday, April 11, 2014. A live runway show will take place, featuring the latest spring fashions by Cache and Tommy Bahama, hair styling by Mane Attraction Salon, make-up by Dior and music by DJ P-Body. Twenty local restaurants will provide food samples and fine wines and guests can enjoy performances by the Las Vegas and, Ashley Red.

Tech Events:

  • The Epicurean Expo will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014 on the picnic grounds. This is no ordinary tech expo, but a culinary dream. It will showcase state-of-the-art equipment from top vendors such as blenders, knives, juicers, slow-cook warming drawers and more. Local and national chefs will demonstrate the equipment, their skills and their tricks-of-the-trade. Guests can also enjoy the Mix Like a Master Room featuring bartenders and mixologists from Arizona Cocktail Week who will be mixing and teaching attendees how to create the perfect cocktail.

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Sara Parker

About Sara Parker

Sara is an editorial intern for AZ Big Media. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Spanish and is currently attending Arizona State University in the Scholarly Publishing certificate program. She has also written for AZTechBeat. Sara's favorite place in Scottsdale is the Sugar Bowl.