The Georgia Women’s Food Fest, an initiative created to encourage the public to support their local women-led food businesses, is set for Dec. 1 through 7.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing restaurants and other culinary businesses to lose customers over fears of contracting the virus, the food fest is another way to drum up more business in an industry where some eateries have closed.

Also, many of this year’s local in-person food festivals, including the Taste of Atlanta and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, were cancelled because of the pandemic, forcing them to pivot with online or other events.

The food fest was organized in partnership with Taste of Atlanta and the James Beard Foundation, and is headed by the Atlanta JBF “Let’s Talk” Forum which many Atlanta and Georgia women restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs belong to.

“The intent of Let’s Talk is city-level forums to support each other, take collective action and survive this economic and health crisis together,” the event’s website stated. “Started in Chicago, Let’s Talk is spearheaded by Rohini Dey, Ph.D. (Vermilion), who runs it across 10 cities within the JBF Women’s Leadership Programs. Let’s Talk has connected 200 women restaurateurs nationwide.”

During the food fest week, female-owned food and beverage businesses will be offering a special menu, dine-in specials, products for sale and/or delivery and pick-up options that showcase their businesses in honor of the program. Nearly 40 businesses are participating.

In messages posted to the food fest’s website, its participants talked about the event.

“This year has been so incredibly difficult for our hospitality families,” said Anne Quatrano, chef/owner of Bacchanalia restaurant in west Midtown. “Even when the industry is on its knees, it’s encouraging to see groups of people and our fellow local businesses continually coming together for the survival of everyone around them. I’m so grateful for this network of inspiring women as we all continue to take action for our communities throughout this new normal.”

Taste of Atlanta founder/CEO Dale DeSena added, “Our hope is that this week-long promotion will prop up our female entrepreneurs who have become the heart of our communities. Taste of Atlanta is proud to partner with such a strong coalition of women during a time when the restaurant industry needs our support more than ever, and we’re excited to be a part of Atlanta’s greater contribution towards mending today’s economic crisis.”

Separately, Taste of Atlanta is hosting its own Restaurant Bingo program encouraging residents to eat at specific restaurants on specific weeks to fill out a Bingo card. Round 2 ends Dec. 4, and Round 3 runs Dec. 5 through 23. It’s offering more than 200 must-eat menu items.

For more information on the food fest, including a list of participating businesses, visit tasteofatlanta.com/womensfoodfest. For more information on Restaurant Bingo, including participating restaurants, visit tasteofatlanta.com/must-eats.php.

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