ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Nov. 5, 2019) – SAVOR ST. PETE made its debut in downtown St. Petersburg Nov. 2 – 3 to appreciative crowds who gathered to enjoy an acclaimed array of outstanding dishes, exciting wines, spirits and beers plus cooking demonstrations and competitions featuring outstanding chefs and more.
Thousands filled the North Straub Park waterfront Saturday and Sunday afternoons to sip and savor from booths featuring foods and beverages provided by more than 90 participants.
The event’s Best Chef Competition showcased culinary professionals from Tampa Bay’s leading and most popular restaurants vying to out-cook other contestants by creating a featured dish served to a panel of judges on Saturday.
Judges Chris Sherman of Florida Trend Magazine, Kevin Campbell of IHeartMedia/WMTC, Kendall Kirkham and Javante Ingram of CBS Great Day Live TV, Anna Coats of MarryMeTampaBay.com, Lori Brown and Keven Godbee of St. Petersburg Foodies blog/podcast, and Terry Ward of MSN.com ranked each dish according to presentation, taste and aroma.
Participating chefs included:
Lee Aquino of The Birchwood/Birch & Vine, Rachel Bennett of The Library, Carson Brock of Roy’s, Ross Clingman of Paul’s Landing/Marchand’s Bar and Grill, Chris Fernandez of Mercado/Red Mesa and Leak Munir of Brio Italian Mediterranean.
Chef Bennett of The Library won the cooking competition with her dish featuring the following: Grilled Oysters, Spicy Nduja Tomato Gnocchi with Bourbon Expresso Pot de Creme.
The overall winner of the votes cast by event guests for their favorite dish was Chef Lee Aquino of The Birchwood Hotel/Birch & Vine for ”Ice Cream of the South” With Roasted Banana Grits Toasted Coconut, Chorizo, Raspberry Sofrito and Sorrel .
Category winners for Best Wine, Best Beer, Best Décor and Best Spirits were:
- Best Wine – Island Grove
- Best Beer – Stella Artois
- Best Décor – Tillamook
- Best Spirits – Tito’s
“This has been an outstanding inaugural year for SAVOR ST. PETE and we look forward to showcasing even more fabulous food, exciting wines, spirits and craft beers and all sorts of special surprises when SAVOR returns to downtown St. Petersburg Nov. 7 – 8, 2020,” said Tammy Gail, founder and producer of the event.
Two extra special events marked Saturday’s opening of SAVOR ST. PETE. Gail surprised SAVOR ST. PETE guests Saturday when she was joined on stage in the Grand Tasting Tent by Martha Davis, singer/songwriter of the popular 80s group The Motels. Davis officiated over the first pop-up wedding executed in Tampa Bay between Gail and her fiance, Jeff Wernli.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman also appeared on the cooking stage that afternoon to present a proclamation declaring Nov. 2 – 3 as “Savor St Pete Weekend in the City of St. Petersburg.”
A custom wedding cake created by the Culinary Art Institute of Tampa and specialty cake samples served by Publix highlighted the celebration of the first pop-up wedding at this event and, possibly, at any event of this kind.A portion of the proceeds from SAVOR ST. PETE benefits the students at the Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design.
SAVOR ST. PETE returns next November with more flavor, more fun and more surprises in store. Follow SAVOR ST. PETE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About SAVOR ST. PETE
SAVOR ST. PETE is a new event that now joins its sister event, Cocoa Beach Uncorked, as a weekend-long showcase of food, wines, craft beers and culinary expertise. Both annual events welcome thousands of foodies, wine lovers and craft beer aficionados annually. SAVOR ST. PETE has been dubbed “the hippest, most exciting, two-day food, wine and craft beer festival on Florida’s West Coast.” SAVOR ST. PETE is held in the fall and Cocoa Beach Uncorked in the spring. For information about these events go to SavorTheBurg.com and CocoaBeachUncorked.com.