Taste 2015

Taste 2015

Highlights from our food-filled second annual event.

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It just keeps getting better! Our second annual Taste – held April 23-26, 2015 – was even tastier (if that’s possible) than last year’s event. The four-day festival kicked off with a VIP reception at Bar Lusconi with James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern. Next, it was on to the Durham Armory for the Grand Taste Experience where guests sampled food and drinks from the area’s best chefs and beverage makers like Il Palio’s Teddy DiggsAcme’s Kevin CallaghanTOPO Organic Spirits and Carrboro Coffee Roasters. On Friday, it was a gorgeous evening for our Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner at Sarah P. Duke Gardens where Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint and Chef John Eisensmith of Six Plates Wine Bar teamed up and presented four courses. Cider maker Chuck Flynt Foggy Ridge Cider from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains personally paired each course with one of his delectable ciders and educated diners along the way.

On Saturday, at the Burger Smashdown at Fullsteam Brewery, chefs from Mattie B’s Public HouseTyler’s TaproomAl’s Burger Shack, Buns and Only Burger cooked up burgers and a side. Tea Cup Gin played live music that afternoon and Rise Donuts were dessert for those that still had room. That evening, five of Durham’s best craft cocktail makers shaked and stirred drinks at the Artisan Cocktail Dinner at The CookeryTim Neill of Bar Lusconi and PeccadilloOlivia Gray of West End Wine Bar & BilliardsCrawford Leavoy of PiedmontBrad Weddington of NanaSteak and Shannon Healy of Alley Twenty Six served up their most interesting cocktails. Guests nibbled on bites from the kitchens of Revolution and Piedmont and local DJ Dae Emerson kept the tunes coming. At Sunday’s Roots of North Carolina Dinner at Watts Grocery. Chef Amy Tornquist based her menu on dishes that have been cultivated and perfected in North Carolina over the past two centuries. Marcie Cohen Ferris, the author of The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region, enlightened diners with the history of North Carolina cuisine with wine pairings by Piedmont Wine Imports and live music by the Haw River Hocketts.

It was an unbelievable lineup, which reflects the breadth and quality of our local chefs and food purveyors. We’ve had our fill of our local food scene – but don’t worry, next year’s series is already in the works. Check tastetheevent.com for updates! And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Taste: The Triangle’s Ultimate Food Guide!


1Vip Reception

Photo by Emily Toth

Prior to the Grand Taste Experience at the Durham Armory, James Beard Foundation award-winner Andrea Reusing of Lantern hosted a VIP Reception at Bar Lusconi.


2Vip Reception

Photo by Emily Toth

Chef Andrea Reusing (center) with Grace and Mattie Beason.


3Vip Reception

Photo by Emily Toth

Guests at the VIP Reception were able to get a sneak peek of Andrea Reusing’s new menu at The Durham Hotel, where she is opening a restaurant/rooftop bar this year.


4Vip Reception

Photo by Emily Toth

Merge Records co-founder and member of rock band SuperchunkMac McCaughan.


5Vip Reception

Photo by Emily Toth

Tea Cup Gin supplied the tunes at the VIP Reception.


6Grand Taste Experience

Il Palio’s Teddy Diggs was just one of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro chefs represented.


7Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Chef James Clark of Carolina Crossroads had his pastry chef wife Marcey Clark next to him during the Grand Taste Experience.


8Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

TOPO Organic Sprits’ Estaban McMahan and crew served up refreshing cocktails that evening.


9Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Lauren ZedekAmanda Oakes and Anne Heymann.


10Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Taylor Fish and Morgan Poteat sample ONE Restaurant‘s tequila passion fruit shot (in an egg!) with mochi doughnuts.


11Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Eschelon Experiences‘ Tara Zechini with Jenna Parks Olender of Southern Bride & Groom.


12Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Matthew Blaisdell and Christine McKeown of U.S. Foods.


13Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Arin LoweLeah Fulkerson and Leann Jocius.


14Grand Taste Experience

Photo by Emily Toth

Matt and Meredith Powers


15Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

On Friday, guests at the Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner enjoyed cocktails out on the terrace at the Doris Duke Center in Sarah P. Duke Gardens prior to dinner.


16Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Passed hors d’oeuvres included this smoky eggplant spread and roasted beet Fatayer.


 

 

 

 

 

 

17Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Mattie Beason made cocktails with Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold Cider, Byrrh, Crude Bitters Cucumber Shrub and soda water.


18Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Guests had the option of either Marriage or Sycophant bitters by local Crude Bitters for their cider cocktails.


19Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Saltbox Seafood Joint‘s Chef Ricky Moore prepared the first course for the cider dinner: a carrot-vanilla soup with fattoush garnishes and sumac creme fraiche.


 

20Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Foggy Ridge cider maker Chuck Flynt explains his choice pairing the first course with his First Fruit cider.


21Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Six Plates Wine Bar Chef John Eisensmith made the second course, an olive-oil poached N.C. monkfish with smoked cheddar grits, asparagus, romesco, crispy shiitakes and lemon rosemary salt.


22Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

Guests chat between courses.


23Cider Dinner

Photo by Emily Toth

And for dessert … Chef Eisensmith’s lemon-blueberry pound cake French toast with cider-poached apples, ginger caramel, sage creme anglaise sphere and spiced pecans.


 

24Burger Smashdown

Photo by Emily Toth

It’s a hard job picking the winner of a Burger Smashdown. Judges (from right) Washington Duke Inn’s Food and Beverage Director Don Ball with Mayor Bill Bell and his granddaughter, Aslan, chow down on their samples before rating their favorites.


25Burger Smashdown

Photo by Emily Toth

Come Saturday, Fullsteam Brewery was smelling like freshly grilled burgers for our Burger Smashdown!


 

26Burger Smashdown

Photo by Emily Toth

OnlyBurger won People’s Choice with their Texan sliders of Piedmontese chuck topped with braised brisket, pepper jack cheese, an onion ring, pickled jalapenos and brisket jus, served on a Neomonde Bakery bun with a side of pickle chips.


27Burger Smashdown

Photo by Emily Toth

Tyler’s Taproom won Judges’ Choice with their Old West Burger, topped with cheddar, bourbon barbecue sauce, onion strings, smoked bacon and garlic aioli.


28Burger Smashdown

Photo by Emily Toth

Fullsteam‘s Sean Lilly Wilson with Shannon Media President/CEO Dan Shannon.


 

29Cocktail Dinner

Photo by Mackenzie Brough Props

On Saturday night, some of Durham’s best craft cocktail makers joined forces for our Artisan Cocktail Dinner at The Cookery. Did you know you can now buy Alley Twenty Six’s tonic around town?


 

30Cocktail Dinner

Photo by Mackenzie Brough Props

Tom Martin and Erika Stinson.


 

31Cocktail Dinner

Photo by Mackenzie Brough Props

Tim Neill of Bar Lusconi and Peccadillo made a Spritz cocktail for the evening featuring Campari, Cinzano Rosso, Cava, soda water, olive and orange peel.


 

32Cocktail Dinner

Melissa Cox and Rachael Leblanc.

Melissa Cox and Rachael Leblanc


 

33Roots of NC Dinner

Photo by Briana Brough

Our Taste weekend wrapped up with our Roots of North Carolina dinner at Watts Grocery. Chef Amy Tornquist created a menu based upon and inclusive of dishes that have been created, cultivated and perfected in North Carolina over the past two centuries.


 

34Roots of NC Dinner

Photo by Briana Brough

Marcie Cohen Ferris – the author of The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region, published by UNC Press in September – gave a narrative of the history of North Carolina cuisine.


 

35Roots of NC Dinner

Photo by Briana Brough

Braised Pork Belly with Sorghum Apples and Sweet Pickled Rhubarb.


 

36Roots of NC Dinner

Photo by Briana Brough

Amy and her team prep the next course.