The Second Annual Summit Wine and Food Festival turned out to be quite a memorable weekend indeed. Wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and seminars on par with any of the other major culinary festivals in the country, memorable meals, and the festive atmosphere of so many of our friends and neighbors simply enjoying themselves was nothing less than awe-inspiring. When one considers the caliber of the chefs, sommeliers, speakers and presenters who graciously accepted the invitation to participate, the attendance of over 2,100 “foodies” should come as no surprise.

The tribute dinner in honor of New Jersey’s legendary chef Dennis Foy on Friday night was an auspicious prelude for the incredible weekend that would follow. This epic six-course dinner was nothing short of spectacular, featuring such culinary luminaries as Craig Shelton, Douglas Rodriguez, David C. Felton, Pichet Ong, “Iron Chef” Jose Garces and The Master himself, Dennis Foy. The Saturday Gala tasting at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum the following evening was quite something to behold: outstanding wines being poured while many of the culinary world’s best chefs prepared their signature dishes for all to sample and savor.  Sunday’s “Game Showdown” was a deliciously entertaining culinary competition. Seven top chefs were each given a duck, a wine chosen for them randomly, and they had to devise a dish that pairs with the wine. A panel of judges chose Chef Raj Dixit of the soon-to-be-opened Miko in New York City as the winner, though the competition was very close.

Among the festival’s many other highlights, television personality Ingrid Hoffman brought her usual charm, elegance, and grace to her “Simply Delicioso” demonstration and “Top Chef” finalist Dave Martin was a huge hit with his “Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese”. Various approaches to healthy cooking were demonstrated in seminars presented by Chef Franklin Becker and Diane Henderiks, “The Dietitian in the Kitchen”. “Chef vs. City” star Aaron Sanchez’s unique approach to Mexican cuisine, Maricel Precilla’s chocolate tasting and Pichet Ong’s Asian-influenced dessert seminar were among the numerous treats to be enjoyed throughout the weekend.

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Wine lovers were certainly not left out, as a veritable “All-Star” line-up of Master Sommeliers gave presentations and tastings that were educational, fun, and delicious. Fred Dexheimer, Charlie Arturaola, Steve Olson, Andy Seymour, Chuck Simeone and Doug Frost, among others, all brought their knowledge, skills and wit to their seminars. On the Spirits side, a great time was had by all at Master Mixologist Junior Merino’s “Tropical Drinks” demonstration, and the Cognac and Armagnac tasting presented by the venerable French brandy producers Pierre Ferrand and Cerbois left attendees speechless! Check out this link for a video blog of some of the festival’s highlights:

I hope to see you all at the 2011 Summit Wine and Food Festival!