With less than a week away until Texas’ largest wine and food festival, the 11th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is excited to announce the full line-up of participating chefs for the Grand Tasting! The five-day affair, set for April 23-27, 2014, attracts chefs from across the United States and Mexico. In addition to interactive seminars, this year’s affair will add even more food and chefs, tastings, bartender’s challenge, pop-up book spot, beer garden and much more.

Located in historic Sugar Land just minutes from Houston proper, its dinners, tastings and demos and have gained a well-deserved reputation for a rollicking good time where chefs share secrets, sommeliers get un-corked and attendees have exclusive access to incredible food, wine, spirits and beer. The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce produces the event in collaboration with the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Proceeds benefit a permanent scholarship endowment for Houston’s finest hospitality students. Since its inception, the event has given more than 45 scholarships to students, with a record-breaking eight scholarships awarded to students in 2013. A handpicked team of 15 students will assist in this year’s event in areas such as production, marketing and social media campaigns.
The five-day wine and food affair kicks off with a VIP dinner, followed by four days of events and tastings. New attractions include an outdoor beer garden, pavilion for chef demonstrations and cookware, and a pop-up book spot sponsored by My Table magazine.

Adding to the international flair will be a cadre of celebrated chefs from Mexico. Representing the diversity of fine Mexican cuisine, the chefs will create dishes that reflect indigenous ingredients and technique. Chefs will be paired with wine producers from Mexico and makers of small-batch tequilas, many of which are highly sought after by tequila connoisseurs and difficult to find stateside. Below is a complete overview of the festival’s events and participants:

2014 Event Schedule

VIP Kick-Off Dinner – April 23 – SOLD OUT! (6 – 9:30 p.m.)
Museum of Natural Science – Sugar Land
Kicking off the 11th annual event will be a seated VIP dinner at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – Sugar Land. “The Judgment of Paris” will recreate the famous tasting held in Paris in 1976, during which the judges awarded winning scores to California wines over French wines and sent shock waves around the wine world. Guests will feel as if they have gone back in time as they dine on a five-course meal and participate in blind tastings of French and Californian wines. Guests and media judges will determine who wins: old world or new world.

Hendrick’s Gin On the Rocks Bartender’s Challenge – April 24 (6:30 – 9:00 p.m.)
Anson Aviation – Sugar Land Regional Airport
Mingling in the shadows of the hangar’s private planes, guests will be able to sample all of the Hendrick’s-fueled tipples and nibble on delectable dishes while the bartenders ply their titillating trade. One competitor will be awarded $1,000, with the winning recipe being named the official cocktail of the 11th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, which will be served at the Grand Tasting, Sip & Stroll and Bistro Brunch.

Wine, Herradura Tequila, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Seminars – April 25 (5:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square
Learn from experts representing many of the world’s top brands. These lively, interactive sessions provide new insight into what makes your drink of choice so special. 
• Join award-winning wine professionals Monique Studak and James Watkins for an in-depth look at whether women an men’s preferences are guided by gender rather than grapes at the Fred Parks Wine Seminar: Battle of Sexes.
• If whiskey is your drink of choice, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador, Maurice “Mossie” Power, will teach you all there is to know about this signature spirit from the Emerald Isle in a tasty and insightful seminar.
• Transport your taste buds to the beautiful agave fields of Mexico at the Herradura Tequila Seminar as you sample some of the finest tequilas in the world.

The Grand Tasting – April 25 (7:00 – 9:30 p.m.)
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square
Get up close and personal with a who’s who of culinary superstars. Held in the elegant ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott, the Grand Tasting showcases mouthwatering creations alongside craft beer, wines and spirits.

2014 Participants – Grand Tasting

John Signorelli, Remington at St. Regis Junnajet Hurapan, BLU
Manual Pucha, TABLE on Post Oak Mario Valdez, TRIOS American Grill
Maurizio Ferrarese, Quattro Kourtenie Tyson, Burning Pear
Danny Jacob, Brasserie 19 Ricky Cruz, Grotto
Kenneth Burke, Ibiza Food & Wine Bar Jacques Fox, Artisans
Randy Evans, Haven Nick Arduini, Seasons 52
Jean Phillipe Gaston, Cove at Haven Shannen Tune, Hotel Derek
Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar Peter Laufer, Royal Sonesta
Kevin Williamson, Ranch 616 Scott French, Mister French’s Gourmet
Neal Cox, Olivette @ The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa Frederick Perrier, Aura Brasserie & Coco Pazzo
Brian & Shanna O’Hea, Acadame @ The Kennebunk Inn Taylor Salazar, Veritas Steak & Seafood

Visiting Chefs of Mexico

Arturo García Mogollón, Mexico City
Yolanda Yanar, Puerto Vallarta
Isaac Esparza, Riviera Maya

Sip and Stroll – April 26 (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.)
Imperial Sugar Land
Sip and stroll your way across the grounds of the historic Imperial Sugar Factory showcasing chefs, restaurants and wines. The Sip and Stroll will also include a new outdoor beer garden featuring more than 100 beers from 25 different breweries and a pop-up book spot sponsored by My Table magazine. Houston-area cookbook authors including Paul Galvani, Erin Hicks, Gracie Cavnar, Shubhra Ramineni, Efisio Farris, Ken Hoffman, Teresa Byrne-Dodge, “Peace Meals”/Junior League, John DeMers and Michael & David Cordúa will be on hand to sign books in a chic lounge setting in the old Char House.

Bistro Brunch – April 27 (11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Sugar Land Town Square
Bloody Marys, mimosas, wine, beer and much more await attendees at the Bistro Brunch. Partake in delicious foods from around the world —Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, Italy — and stateside — California, Texas, Oregon and Washington.

Tickets are priced from $40 – $150. A three-day VIP Grand Pass with access to The Grand Tasting, Sip & Stroll and Bistro Brunch is specially priced at $200. Special hotel packages are available at the official sponsor hotel, the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Ticket purchases and additional information are available at sugarlandwineandfoodaffair.com or 713.SIP-WINE (713.747.9463). Listings of attending chefs, presenting wine, beer and spirits providers —updated frequently—are showcased on Facebook at facebook.com/sugarlandwineandfoodaffair and Twitter at twitter.com/SLFood.


Information provided by Hilary Rosenstein of the Stevens Group.

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