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12th annual Taste of Atlanta huge success

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After a food-filled weekend of sampling, sipping and celebrating, Taste of Atlanta festival attendees are fully satisfied—and possibly even sporting an extra notch on their belt loop! The epic 12th annual food festival featured over 100 of the city’s premier restaurants and fed more than 45,000 hungry Atlantans. With one-stop access to the city’s varied culinary landscape, an impressive amount of featured cooking classes and seminars and an incredible support of non-profit, community programs, Taste of Atlanta has once again cooked up a recipe for success.

“We could not be more delighted with the response to the 12th annual Taste of Atlanta,” said Event Manager Stacy Weenick. “Each year, we are truly inspired by all of our attendees’ commitment to support their favorite chefs as well as the local dining scene. As the festival continues to grow, we look forward to bringing even more delicious restaurants, demonstrations and fun to Taste of Atlanta in October of 2014!”

On Friday, October 25, Taste of Atlanta warmed up with a sold out Kickoff Party that fused music and morsels – Atlanta’s Taste Revival: Local Chefs, Smokin’ Jams. Hosted by Chef Ron Eyester of Rosebud, the evening featured 18 restaurants, which served up dishes inspired by their favorite musical tracks and artists. Fan favorites included Fox Brothers’ Texas Style Brisket Taco inspired by Gary Clark’s “Texas Cookin’,” Rosebud’s Crispy Popcorn Shrimp inspired by James Brown’s “Mashed Potato Popcorn” and High Road Craft Ice Cream’s Smoked Sugar Sweet Potato inspired by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros’ “Johnny Appleseed." Taste Revival attendees also enjoyed live music from Parker Smith and the Bandwith as well as the all-chef band, Five Bone Rack. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the all-inclusive evening benefitted Georgia Organics, a local non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable foods and local farms in Georgia.

Over the course of the weekend, Tech Square in Midtown was packed with tasting tents, demonstration stages and engaging competitions as well as enthusiastic chefs and patrons. Highlights from the 2013 festival, which covered eight city blocks, included the return of The Kitchen Workshop, with hands-on cooking experiences for guests to learn to recreate their own delicious dishes at home; Inside the Food Studio, which provided a behind-the-scenes look into the culinary craft of some of Atlanta’s most celebrated chefs; the Family Food Zone, stuffed full of cooking activities fit for all ages, including the Iron Chef Kids Competition and a hands-on LEGOLAND Discovery Center demonstration; and the debut of the Sound Bites Music Stage, in association with PleaseRock and JCT. Bar, which paired all-star jam sessions to match the all-star food tastings.

The spirited Barcraft Competition, presented by Fernet-Branca, returned to dazzle festival-goers, as the region’s top mixologists from the United States Bartenders’ Guild shook up the challenge and created lively libations. After weeks of intense qualifiers leading up to the festival and a live, head-to-head final round on Sunday, October 27, Taste of Atlanta crowned One Flew South’s Tokiwa Sears the 2013 Barcraft Competition Champion.

Furthering its commitment to sustaining local non-profits and promoting community involvement, Taste of Atlanta’s onsite silent auction raised $42,000 to benefit Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program. The non-profit beneficiary provides a strong foundation in nutrition, cooking and household budgeting through specialized courses for all ages.

The 12th annual festival undoubtedly celebrated Atlanta’s diverse culinary landscape, featuring a wide variety of exemplary cuisine. With so many different, memorable flavors and food offerings from the city’s top chefs, awarding “Festival Bests” was not an easy task for the panel of expert judges. After much deliberation and more than a few tastes from the food-filled weekend, Taste of Atlanta organizers are thrilled to announce the following restaurant awards:

Friday Night:
· Best Taste Winner: Buttermilk Kitchen’s Chef Suzanne Vizethann’s secret alphabet stew with grilled kale

Overall:
· People’s Choice: Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Saturday:
· Best Taste: King + Duke’s grilled bacon, cornbread, maple onion jam
· Best Presentation: Milton’s pan seared scallops, cilantro corn spoonbread, jalapeño honey lime vinaigrette
· Best Dessert: Paschals’ Lemon peach cobbler
· Best Booth Décor: Chai Pani

Sunday:
· Best Taste: Mi Cocina’s sweet corn tamale with grilled chicken and poblano cream sauce
· Best Presentation: 1Kept’s deviled quail eggs with bacon jam
· Best Dessert: Wrecking Bar Brew Pub’s Nutella, rice crispy and milk chocolate bar
· Best Booth Décor: JCT. Kitchen, King + Duke, No. 246 and The Optimist

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