Tucson Culinary Festival – October 27-30, 2011

Tucson dining, Tucson restaurants, Tucson Culinary Festival

Tucson Culinary Festival

Let the festivities begin!

My favorite event is the World Margarita Championship. I especially love the new location on the patio of Maynards Market & Kitchen. It’s a lovely place to hang out whether with hundreds of people or on a different night with a few friends. The breeze. The trains whizzing by. The lights all make for a unique ambiance. Yes, it’s definitely a Tucson original experience.

But during the World Margarita Championship the guests are buzzing from tequila. More than 14 of your favorite independent Tucson restaurants will be making copious amounts of margaritas for you to sample and vote for, paired with some tasty nosh. The friendly competition yields a people’s choice award and a judge’s award.

Last year Judges’ Award went to Harold Garland, Cup Café, at Hotel Congress. I think this margarita – if I remember correctly – was topped off with blood orange foam.  How can you top blood orange foam? The People’s Choice Awards went to Pete Hoge, Kingfisher Bar & Grill and Harrison Hameroff of sister restaurant Bluefin.

This year instead of having the reserve tasting on Friday night and the grand tasting on Saturday night both will be held on Saturday night. The reserve tasting is for one exclusive hour before the grand tasting and wine, wine,  and wine are what this event is about. Meet the winery owners and their representatives, sample brews and cocktails too. Get discounts on cases of wine. And of course, exquisite bites of delicious food from more than 40 restaurants. This event happens at Loews Ventana Resort.

On Friday you can peruse the list of Tucson Originals restaurants offering special Tucson Culinary Festival dinners. Here’s the menu.

The Festival culminates with the Copper Chef Challenge & BBQ at the Sunday Brunch. Do not go into pause mode nor wait until the last minute to buy tickets. Last year this event sold out; no tickets were available on the day of the event.   Unlike the other events, this is family-friendly to some extent.  This popular event features outstanding brunch and barbecue offerings from Tucson Originals restaurants, as well as youth cooking demonstrations, surprise “throw-downs,” a pumpkin carving contest, and the main event – the Copper Chef Challenge.

Two of Tucson’s finest chefs will go toque to toque to compete for the Copper Chef Award.

Last year’s winner Addam Buzzalini executive chef at Maynards Market & Kitchen will do culinary battle with Ryan Clark, executive chef from the Lodge on the Desert.  Chef Clark recently won the honors of Tucson Iron Chef

Addam Buzzalini - 2010 winner

And the winner is... (photo by Alex Landeen)

It will be great fun to watch these two young chefs and their minions compete.

And if you think these events are all about food, cocktails, and wine – yes and no. Each event benefits a different charity so check it out and make your reservations today.  If you have guests from out of town – impress them with Tucson’s Culinary Festival.

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