Saturday night was Veggie U's 2014 Food and Wine Celebration. The event had returned, relocated and reformatted. While I did miss the charm of attending the event on Chef's Garden farm, I did not miss the long drive from Cleveland to Milan and the sweltering humidity inside of the event's tent that we had experienced in the past. The event moved to Downtown Cleveland this year, and was held in the Pura Vida/Tri-C Hospitality Management Center on Euclid Avenue. Although, they did try to bring in touches of the farm to the very industrial and modern space...
Some of my favorites were from the usual suspects. I liked the Moroccan Pork Belly with Vegetable Salad and Chermoula from Chef Jeff Jarrett at AMP 150.
I loved the Indian Crab Pakora with Mango Chutney from Chefs John and Allysun Selick at University Hospitals Ahuja Center.
But, the winner of the evening (for me) goes to Chef Matthew Mathlage from Peachtree Southern Kitchen. He did a Southern Chicken Cracklins with white pimento cheese and peanuts.
The event not only included some fantastic food, but it had kicked off with a VIP hour, including a wine class.
The event was a lot smaller than in years past, but they are rebuilding and I think that it will continue to grow. The chefs did an outstanding job, with only the Panzanella Salad from Flying Fig being a disappointment for me. All proceeds benefit Veggie U, a non-profit children's education program that teaches the importance of nutrition and sustainable agriculture by providing interactive lesson plans and a classroom garden to elementary and special needs students. Learn more about them here.
Disclosure: I was provided with two VIP media passes to this event in exchange for my posts. All opinions stated are 100% my own.