As we slowly age into becoming Weather Channel watchers, The Food Network has replaced MTV as the default background noise of our household. The Celebrichefs inform and entertain in the ultimate form of reality television. The reality is that if you don't eat, you don't live. So why not enjoy yourself?
The Food Network is bringing several of the stars of their programming to the Gaylord Opryland Resort for The Southern Festival of Food and Wine, July 31 through Aug. 2. In addition to cooking demonstrations from many local chefs, wine tastings and an exhibit hall featuring local and national purveyors of food and cooking products, you can also meet and greet Alton Brown, Pat and Gina Neely and the Deen boys, Jamie and Bobby. The private dinner with Alton has already sold out, but there are still plenty of opportunities to press the flesh with him and the other kitchen dignitaries. A full schedule of the proceedings is hiding here.
But it's not all about the national notables. The best of our fair city will also be featured at the Festival. The Loveless Cafe's "Biscuit Lady" Carol Fay will present two cooking seminars. Perhaps that's the reason Bobby Flay hasn't joined his Food Network compatriots after the butt-whuppin' he took from Carol on his Throwdown show. Other sessions will cover wine and cheese pairings, cooking techniques and the latest in high-end kitchen porn appliances.
Another highlight will be "An Evening with Lucianno Castellio." The representative from the famous Banfi Winery will walk and talk diners through a wine tour of Italy as paired with the cuisine of executive chef Jason Kroll. A separate registration of $125 is required for the dinner and degustation, but it may be the best meal served in town that evening.
If you're into competitive cooking, Hamilton Beach is sponsoring a competition to find the best Slow Cooker in America. This is opposed to the Slowest Cook in America, a title claimed by our own Mr. Pink, who claims to still be working on a grilled cheese sandwich he started last autumn. Chili will be the theme for this year's competition, so come on down and bring your secret recipe or just watch the contestants fight to be crowned "King of the Krock."
For discounted hotel rates and complete registration information, check out the Gaylord Opryland Resort website. Loosen your belt a notch, and we'll see you there.