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Culinary creation observations at Devoured Phoenix Wine + Food Classic 2014

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After attending Devoured Phoenix last year, this was written: “I was lucky to cover this event and offer my branding perspective on this amazing culinary experience. Happy to report that it wasn’t one of my toughest jobs because Devoured Phoenix clearly demonstrates the top seven branding elements of a successful event.” – Kathy Bass, Examiner.com

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This year was even better and again, sold out months in advance, so I'll ditto the quote above and add that in its’ fifth year of existence, Devoured Food + Wine Classic 2014 proved to be the tastiest year yet! After viewing, interacting and navigating with all of the restaurant and winery participants, I'd like to describe the set up and then share my top branding observations for five notable stand-outs.

This yummy 2-day annual event held at the Phoenix Art Museum featured a diverse group of 54 (Saturday) & 52 (Sunday) local Arizona restaurant, wine & brewery participants. Even the rain couldn’t wash away the crowds on Saturday and on Sunday, the sunshine warmed things up within the first hour. The new layout with the VIP Lounge located on the 2nd level, completed construction and the additional seating areas lent itself to a much more enjoyable and natural flow for the cool foodie people to mix and mingle. Everyone agreed that the offerings and friendliness were abundant. Not wanting to miss an important event detail, I must mention that recyclables and trash were impeccably and promptly attended to, which kept the pathways clear and uncrowded for all of the people to explore wherever their taste buds took them! After all, without taste buds, life would have less flavor, right?!

This foodie and wine connoisseur event is unparalleled. You, the culinary captive, are able to talk, wine, and dine with the chefs of our valley’s incredibly diverse restaurants as well as rub elbows with other fellow foodies and wine connoisseurs to exchange palatable opinions, observations and maybe even some ingredient tips for up to five hours! There were also live! food + wine demonstrations taking place throughout the day.

I experienced the whole event through my five senses and captured photos, then digested all that I had consumed and discovered the top five brands who I felt were unique and stood out from the crowd. Don't get me wrong, it was extremely tough with the level of quality that was represented. Plus, the event offered countless creations from fish tacos to braised ox tail to bacon-wrapped gulf shrimp to pork shanks... you get the idea. Here are the restaurants and wineries who were winners within the following five branding categories:

1 - Labeling: The Prisoner Wine Company - Saldo
Not sure if it was the simplicity or the new design trend of making graphics look like they were styled from a electronic labeler, but this label stood out from the rest.

2 - Packaging: Tuck Shop
What a sense of humor. Their comfort food was served inside snack-size bags of Funyuns and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Gotta love packaging that does the talking for you!

3 - Representation: Different Pointe of View at Tapatio Cliffs
Other booths had their chef behind the table, which was of course, awesome, but Different Pointe of View gave (pun intended) a different point of view. Their manager, William, was front and center greeting you as if you were entering the restaurant.

4 - Setup: Short Leash Hot Dogs
With three dogs of my own, I am biased, but Short Leash had the most comprehensive signage from aprons with logos to an actual sign (not banner) along with a "Have You Seen This Dog" Flyer posted to a tree.

5 - Tagline: Cannonball Wine Company - Share a Splash with Friends
Of course I, too, remember the light and fun summer days of doing "cannonballs" so I already have a good feeling about this winery. I also love taglines that relate to the logo and help you know right away how they want you to experience their brand. This one is brilliant.

After all the booths were conquered, everyone had the pleasure of walking off a portion of the well earned calories by viewing the current exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum. My unexpected favorite exhibit was: Read My Pins - The Madeleine Albright Collection. It was a beautiful life story told through pins, all in one room.

Congratulations and a BIG thank you to everyone involved on another successful year at an awesome venue!

Want the full scoop about what each of the local AZ restaurants offered complete with photos, descriptions and opinions? Check out our local food expert and restaurant critic Howard Seftel's review.

Want on-site live! chef interviews? Check out our local podcaster, Joanie Simon, host of Restaurant LIVE who broadcasts every week from Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician.

More information about Devoured Phoenix, Local First Arizona and Phoenix Art Museum:
Devoured Phoenix is a non-profit coalition of select, independent restaurants operating under the Local First Arizona umbrella. Devoured Food + Wine Classic is the region’s premier annual culinary event hosted by Phoenix Art Museum, Local First Arizona and Devour Phoenix. Their goal is to showcase the fine food and drink producers and purveyors of Arizona while furthering metro Phoenix as a dining destination worthy of international prestige.

Local First Arizona empowers individuals to build the life they want in their local community. Their goal: "Together we can create a stronger economy, a more vibrant community, and better job opportunities for Arizonans."

Phoenix Art Museum is a vibrant destination for more than 50 years. Phoenix Art Museum presents festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs that enlighten, entertain and stimulate. Its unique setting is a wonderful choice to host an event such as a holiday party, business luncheon or a very special ceremony.

“Food is common ground for all people, a universal experience.” James Beard

Were you there? What was your favorite moment behind the table or dish in front of the table?
Please feel free to comment below:

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