That’s the lowdown in a tasty nutshell on this past weekend as dozens of celebrity chefs and wine and libation purveyors converged at Mohegan Sun’s annual WineFest.
And this year was special because it marked the 10th anniversary of the event considered one of the state’s largest, attracting more than 10,000 people to three days worth of food, wine, demonstrations and really good eating and drinking.
“We try to do something different every year to keep it fresh,” said Vicky Cirilli, whose Cirilli Productions has coordinated the food and drink extravaganza since the start.
Besides lots of eating and drinking, the weekend also included a sold-out bourbon tasting with Adonis cigars, Grand Tastings, a Grand Cru, oyster shucking and grape stomping contests and the very popular Celebrity Chef Dine Around.
The who’s who list of celebrity chefs who were “in the kitchen” for the dine around that benefited the Channel 3 Kids Camp included pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado, sister of actress Sandra Bullock, Food Network’s Robert Irvine, Zagat proclaimed “Hostest With the Mostest” Donatella Arpaia, Bobby Flay, Jasper White, PBS show host Mary Ann Esposito, “Iron Chef” competitor Elizabeth Falkner and WineFest veteran, Kim Cateenwalla.
“I’ve been part of this for nine of its 10 years,” said Canteenwalla, co-founder of Blau & Associates, who was preparing wasabi pea and ginger crusted tuna for the enthusiastic crowd. “It’s fun, it’s a way to show diners your best and it’s a way to run into other chefs. It’s a nice blend of social and professional.”
And there was some new talent with Connecticut roots.
“It’s a great event,” said former West Hartford guy, William Kovel, as he put the finishing on his short ribs being served with Ciroc French martinis. “And it’s for the kids, a good cause,” added Kovel, who owns the award-winning Catalyst Restaurant in Boston and whose sister, Christy Kovel, is communications director at the CT Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.