Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Event Recap: Veggie U's 2014 Food and Wine

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...
The event's new theme was "Tastes of the World" and the participating chefs were tasked with creating a dish based on a specific type of cuisine.

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.
The Greek Watermelon Mint Juice and Sprouted Chick Pea Hummus from Chef Anna Harouvis at Anna in the Raw/Good to Go Cafe was a refreshing bite and sip. She always makes raw look good! Her energy and glow are infectious, and her passion for raw foods just shines through.

I loved the Indian Crab Pakora with Mango Chutney from Chefs John and Allysun Selick at University Hospitals Ahuja Center.
I could have eaten a plate of these. John's food is always among the best at any tasting event that I've been to.

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.
I had three. Don't judge me. While the news on Friday of his other restaurant, Light Bistro in Ohio City, closing saddened me, I was thrilled to sample food from Peachtree. I haven't made it out to the new restaurant in Hudson yet, but this dish tempted me enough to purchase a silent auction package for Peachtree that evening!

The event not only included some fantastic food, but it had kicked off with a VIP hour, including a wine class.
Live music entertained guests in several areas of the event, and the wine and craft beer were flowing. Guests also had a chance to enter a drawing for a Vitamix, and to win a bottle of wine in the Wine Pull. The only negatives of the evening were the weather (I hate rain), high starting bids in the silent auction, and a few more chef stations would have been nice.

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. 


Veggie U said...

Thank you from Veggie U for attending our fundraiser and for your kind words. We also had a fabulous time but also were gratified in seeing so many people supporting our mission. Chefs truly understand the importance of teaching children about real, good, food & the attendees were so kind and generous. Cheers!

Bite Buff said...

Thank you so much for having me, Veggie U!