To Kevin Ouzts, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is the perfect melting pot of the Southeast’s top talent in the food and beverage industry.
“What makes it stand out is the ability to (represent) what the (food and beverage) makers in the Southeast are doing, said Ouzts, executive chef and charcutier of The Spotted Trotter, a European-style butcher shop in Atlanta’s Kirkwood community. “As my team and the chefs get together, there’s a certain convivial nature of minds getting together and preparing food and what cool and unique food products are coming out of that.
“It’s a wonderful celebration of food and drink. The common denominator is all the chefs, bartenders and sommeliers are from the Southeast.”
More than 150 chefs, sommeliers and bartenders from Texas to the District of Columbia will participate in the ninth annual festival, which will take place May 30 through June 2 at Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward Park and other venues in Midtown. It is again expected to attract 10,000 attendees. Co-founder Elizabeth Feichter said event organizers prefer to cap attendance at that number so festivalgoers still have a chance to get to know the chefs, sommeliers and bartenders participating.
She said the festival offers a variety of events, including the Destination Delicious kickoff event, the tasting tents, chef events and seminars, the Connoisseur Dinner Series and a Sunday brunch.
“The thing I’m the most proud of is the programming we’ve put together for the festival, the level of classes and detail we offer to guests,” Feichter said, adding the event’s leaders studied other similar festivals around the country and chose the best aspects of those to create theirs. “It’s a fun weekend, but if you’re an intense food lover and want to get down to the details and learn, we offer something through our classes where our talent will take you to those techniques and skills.
“But also at the same time, if you also just enjoy food and beverage, there’s something for you at Atlanta Food & Wine. I love the variety we offer that we can appeal to all audiences.”
Ouzts, who said The Spotted Trotter is moving to a new location on the corner of Moreland Avenue and Memorial Drive this summer, added he’s been involved with the festival since its inception.
“Our business is almost 11 years old, so it was a match made in heaven because it started around the same time we did. Having an opportunity to do more than what we do on a day-to-day basis was great.”
Feichter said moving the festival’s tasting tents from Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward Park has “allowed us to expand the space the tents are in and bring in some more sponsor activations and food and beverage exhibitors. We try to change up the food and beverage exhibitors every day during the festival.”
Tickets to the tasting tents are $100 per day, other events require separate tickets and a weekend pass is $500. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlfoodandwinefestival.com.