• Albany wine-and-dine for the arts in gear

20 Dec

Food & Wine Festival photo by Joe Putrock

SIGNATURE CHEFS: From left, Steve Stofelano, Kevin Roberts, Brian Molino, Mark Graham, A.J. Jayapal,

Dale Miller, Jim Rua, Yono Purnomo, Luc Pasquier and, kneeling, Jaimie Ortiz.

ALBANY, NY — The 2nd annual Albany Chefs’ Food & Wine Festival, a/k/a/ “Wine & Dine for the Arts,” is a major fundraiser that has taken on even larger proportions than the inaugural event.

The event, set for Thursday through Saturday, January 6-8, comes at a time when governmental and private philanthropic financial aid for the arts has been drastically reduced in response to the ongoing recession.

Ten or more restaurants will be offering three-course prix fixe menus priced from $50 to $100 per person, plus tax and tip. The food will be paired with a variety of global wines and spirits from Empire Merchants Service. Two downtown restaurants — the Crowne Plaza and Hampton Inns & Suites — are offering special lodging prices connected with the event. Many more restaurants and chefs are contributing their knowledge and efforts to various other events.

Thursday will be a dine-around schedule at various participating restaurants. Friday will be a Grand Tasting with foods from dozens of restaurants plus eight seminars on a variety of wines, spirits and food topics. Saturday will feature both a Grand Tasting and a Signature Chefs’ Dinner. Details and ticket information are available online.

An additional feature of the event is presentation of the six individuals selected as the Capital Region’s “Rising Stars.” They are:

• Mike Cohen, chef/owner of Chez Mike in East Greenbush

• John Grizzaffi, chef/owner of Garden Bistro 24 in Colonie

• John Ireland, executive chef of The Wine Bar in Saratoga Springs

• Edwin Nazario, executive chef of The Edison Club in Rexford

• Marla Ortega, chef/owner of the Illium Café in Troy

• Jason Saunders, executive chef of  Prime at Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs

Recipients of the fundraiser include:

  • Albany Symphony Orchestra
  • Albany Center Gallery
  • Capital Repretory Theatre
  • Park Playhouse

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive you’ll find anywhere.


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