Pensacola Beach’s top chefs are once again prepping their signature dishes ahead of the 10th annual Taste of the Beach Festival, set for September 15 and 16.
Presented by the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, Taste of the Beach is Pensacola Beach’s annual foodie festival that celebrates the beach’s talented chefs and their unique coastal cuisine with cooking demonstrations, chef challenges, sample tastings and a free live concert.
Headlining the festival are a roster of “Pensacola Beach Celebrity Chefs,” including Jere Doyle of Crabs We Got ‘Em, Dan Dunn of H2O, Josh Warner of The Grand Marlin, Dennis Moore of Flounder’s Chowder House, and John Smith of Hemingway’s Island Grill.
“This is our way of celebrating the amazing culinary scene happening daily on Pensacola Beach and spotlighting those directly responsible for it — our beach chefs,” said Alison Westmoreland, President of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The festival gets started on Friday evening with a special, ticketed VIP event at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Front at 6 p.m. Guests will sample specially-created hors d’oeuvres before a beginning a formal, five-course meal and wine pairing while viewing an on-stage cooking demonstration presented by five Pensacola Beach chefs. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased on the Taste of the Beach website.
On Saturday, the daylong Taste of the Beach outdoor festival opens at 10:30 a.m. with around 20 beach restaurants showcasing their signature dishes for just $5 each. The festival, centered around the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach, will feature chef demonstrations, cooking competitions, and live music.
The day will kick off with the Team Cook Off challenge, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Local celebrities, beach businesses and civic organizations will be invited to compete against each other using surprise ingredients for the chance to win the Taste of the Beach Cup trophy. That event will be followed by the Chef’s Challenge, starting at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Gulfside Pavilion Stage. The cooking contest will pit six Pensacola Beach chefs against one another using a secret ingredient for the chance to win a cash prize, a trophy, and bragging rights for the next year.
At 1:30 p.m., the five Pensacola Beach Celebrity Chefs will take the stage to present simultaneous live cooking demonstrations, and festival-goers with pre-purchased wristbands will be able to sample the chefs’ creations. A limited number of wristbands are available for $20 at the Taste of the Beach website. A question-and-answer session and meet-and-greet will follow the demonstrations.
From 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., festival-goers can sample a selection of microbrews and beers provided by the Lewis Bear Company. Those wristbands can also be purchased on the festival website for $12.
Closing out the festival, the White Tie Rock Ensemble will take the Gulfside Pavilion stage for a free classic rock concert beginning at 7:00 p.m. A limited number of VIP seating tickets will be sold for $30 each.
For more information, special wristbands and tickets, or lodging information, visit www.tasteofpensacolabeach.com.