Top 5 Moments from the AC Food & Wine Festival

by in Events, August 5th, 2011

pat and gina neely
This past weekend marked the third annual Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival, featuring numerous events that showcased the talents of Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities like Sunny Anderson, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine and The Neelys. With over 30 events, cooking demos and seminars to choose from, I certainly had my hands full. However, over the course of four days, these five moments struck a chord and were most memorable:

1. Watching Guy crown the first-ever female winner, Nicole DiZio, during his popular Cheesesteak Battle on Friday night.

guy fieri ac food and wine
2. Guy’s Big Bite Brunch: Fans of this Food Network star definitely got their money’s worth with these tickets — a seven-course menu included Steak and Eggs, French Toast and Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Along with unlimited Bloody Marys and Mimosas, the crowd left happy as they laughed at Guy’s jokes and anecdotes.

3. Listening to Gary Clark, Jr. sing and play the guitar while eating The Neelys’ Fried Chicken served at Blues, Brews and BBQ.

sunny anderson ac food and wine
4. Before listening to Sunny Anderson serenade Pat Neely with “Happy Birthday” at Sweet & Stylish on Saturday night (Happy Belated, Pat), I was relaxing with her and several of the Food Network Star contestants on the roof-top of Caesar’s while eating some of the best sliders I’ve ever had.

crazy susans classic turtle cookie
5. Meeting the Tough Cookies crew and trying Crazy Susan’s classic turtle cookie for the first time (pictured above). Can you say addictive?

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Comments (10)

  1. Tony says:

    Was there….did not get to all the events….thought Sunny's "Sunset Sliders" was terrific! Sunny is warm and engaging, and played the crowd….she did a GREAT job! And, to top it off, the Food Network Star contestants all showed up….and did their best to say hello to everyone. Was a great event!

    Will go back next year (this year was there by chance…bought concert tickets for Friday night…later saw this was going on, so bought tix for 4 events)…and will definitely get to one of Guy's events…and hope Sunny has the same event too!

    Great job

  2. Madge says:

    I traveled with two other friends this past weekend all the way from
    the far Northwestern corner of New Jersey (Sussex County) to attend
    the Big Kick Off Party. I wanted to share with you and the others my
    utter dissatisfaction as to what I considered egregious.

    After traveling over 3 hours to get to Atlantic City, paying my ticket
    admission and surcharge,and the round trip taxi ride ($30) from and to
    the Tropicana, I was able to see only one of the four Food Network
    Stars. That celebrity was Sunny Anderson. The DJ announced her and
    she was somewhat accessible despite the Restaurant Staff (Chefs)
    pulling her in various directions, that she had little genuine time
    for the general public.

    Now, there was a Guy Fieri look alike walking around but it was
    obvious he was not THE Guy Fieri. As for the Neelys and Robert
    Irvine, they were no where to be seen either and my friends and I
    split up several times in search of the "Stars". The three of us left
    at 1:00 a.m. and were utterly disappointed because past experiences
    with the Food Network F/W Festivals were always good. Our expectation
    was not only the Food and Wine but also the celebrities themselves.

    In addition, while my friends and I sat on one of the sofas inside one
    of the "cabanas" near the pool, my friend felt something crawling on
    her foot. After jerking her foot suddenly, she saw there were two
    cockroaches on the floor and one still stuck to her foot/sandal. I
    mean, really, that was absolutely disgusting. During the course
    of my work I'm well aware what cock roaches look like,
    and I can assure you, that is exactly what they were. We did not
    sit or stand in one spot for very long the rest of the evening, except
    on the roof top.

  3. @gorillasoap says:

    Can't get enough cheesesteak battle. Rob Irvine's Fire and Ice I thought was the most enjoyable event.

  4. AJHyde says:

    Is it just me (I think not) but does anyone else find the Neely's Food Network show exceptionally annoying? Pat is fine, but his wife OMG, shut up.

  5. Chris S. says:

    I like food network, but why are there not more African American chefs on your network. There are some brilliant chefs out there, it seems like there is some problem here, there should be more representation on the network!

  6. Alicia says:

    I have become disappointed with the Food Network. It is no longer geared toward us foodies. I hate the overuse of contestant and competition shows. Lets get back to real chef shows with real food. Hasn't been the same since Emeril Live.

    • Janice says:

      I have to agree with Alicia. I watch food network to see cooking and to learn different ideas. I am just not interested in all of the garbage on the network anymore. Please get back to cooking not racing and seeing who can eat the hottest dishes. Boring.

  7. Guy Fieri's cheese steak battle was a blast! I got to co-host the event and interview all the cheese steak competitors! I felt like the Erin Andrews of cheese steaks haha. I hope everyone there had as much fun as I did! :)

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