Table Talk

Jan Gourley’s St. Augustine Food & Wine Festival is around the corner – at World Golf Village

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From advertising agencies to center-of-the-plate food-and-wine festivals, the dynamic Jan Gourley is finally bringing her delicious Food & Wine Festival to St. Augustine, May 6-9, 2021.

With the booming culinary advancements in Northeast Florida, especially in St. Augustine and St. Johns County, the May event will bring four days of food, wine, chefs, spirits and great people together to celebrate the region’s finest hospitality innovators and entrepreneurs! There are 25 incredible events to choose from that are taking place throughout the weekend!

Jan has had enormous successes in Hilton Head, Savannah, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island during the past decade with “Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife,” “Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival” and Savannah Food and Wine Festival’s “An Iconic City’s Epic Week of Food & Wine.”

Now it’s our turn to enjoy her talents at the “St. Augustine Food & Wine Festival.”

The St. Augustine festival is a culinary celebration taking place in our historic city, showcasing culinary, beverage and culture while highlighting celebrity guest chefs, winemakers, local chefs, artisans and local craft spirits/beer makers.

This inaugural festival offers a wide sweep of events for all tastebuds, from wine dinners and tasting events to masters’ classes.

The World Golf Hall of Fame and the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort are the host location sites. The kick-off winemaker’s dinner is patterned after the past Friends of James Beard Dinners that have been done in Savannah and Hilton Head, where celebrity guest chefs collaborate for a six-course wine dinner. Guests will dine on celebrity guest chef Maneet Chauhan’s cuisine (TV personality and author) in addition to her Epicurean Master Class, which includes a signed copy of her new cookbook “Chaat”!

Starting The AdFish Group in 2011, Jan worked in many of the Southeast’s leading advertising agencies in a variety of roles from creative director, art director and account supervisor to P.R. director. Her own company creates, brands, markets and manages the festivals with a primary focus of building the brand, creating opportunities for unparalleled guest experiences and developing relationships with talent (chefs, sommeliers, authors, artisans). This includes developing corporate/media partnerships which are crucial to building a successful overall festival. Jan doesn’t settle for second best which means waiting for the most opportune year to implement her full vision of a grand festival.

The local economic impact from this festival is immeasurable, being fortunate enough to receive a St. Johns County Tourist Development Council grant for the 2021 festival. It’s already creating economic impact for its host hotel, the World Golf Village Renaissance Hotel & Resort, with record occupancy for Mother’s Day weekend (not seen since The Players Championship moved off the May dates).

Ticket sales have been brisk with almost 50% of the tickets sold from out-of-market ZIP codes.

“Our festival creates back-to-back events that guests want to stay in town for and enjoy – and usually don’t want to drive to multiple venues. Most out-of-town guests will want to venture to St. Augustine’s historic district or the beaches – so this year we’re starting off with a four-day event, but quickly see events expanding to a full week in the future. The resort is a perfect host site with beautiful, expansive outdoor spaces and unlimited parking,” states Gourley.

Unlike many food-and-wine festivals, the culinary events that Jan’s company brings to each distinctive market offer world-class culinary and beverage tastings. The main event on Saturday will feature nearly 300 varietals of wines, beers and spirits – all included with a souvenir glass for the ticket price. Culinary tastings will be available for purchase through culinary credits on an RFID wristband (contactless payment)! The main event will also feature a music stage and culinary demo stage … a VIP lounge that is fully catered and offering private restrooms.

There is a VIP meet-and-greet celebrity stage with open bars for mixed drinks/cocktails. The Friday night Smoke on the Walk features some of the South’s most renowned pitmasters and chefs!

A few highlights from the extravagant weekend:

Thursday, May 6 – 6-10 p.m., “World Golf Hall of Fame Winemaker’s Dinner”

A gourmet food lover’s experience with six-course dinner and three celebrity/James Beard Foundation chefs (Maneet Chauhan, Paul Fehribach and Michael Gulotta). Outstanding local chefs include Brian Whittington, Michael Lugo, Josh Smith and DeeAnn Hobbs.

Friday, May 7 – Epicurean Master Classes “Off-Site”

10:30 a.m.-noon — Bourbon and Mixology 101

10:30 a.m.-noon — How to Order the Right Beer for You and be Cool Doing It!

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Bordeaux Blending Class

1 p.m.-1:45 p.m. – Cooking Aloo Chaat with Manett Chauhan

2 p.m.-2:45 p.m. – Class TBD with Morgan Norman – Greg Norman Estates

3 p.m.-3:45 p.m. – Experience Grilling on Urban Asado’s Argentine Inspired Live Fire Grills

4 p.m.-4:45 p.m. – Class TBD with Jan Stephenson Wines

Friday, May 7 – 6:30-8:30 p.m., “Smoke on the Walk”

BBQ Extravaganza is a showcase of the Southeast’s most celebrated pitmasters and grill masters; 21 years and older event, no pets allowed!

Saturday, May 8 – 1-4 p.m. – “St. Augustine Food & Wine Festival – The Main Event”

A fun afternoon of culinary and beverage tastings with live music. Tickets include a souvenir glass for unlimited beverage tastings from hundreds of wines, beer and spirits exhibitors. The Walk of Champions will be filled with a variety of exhibitors from artisans and farmers to the South’s best restaurants and food trucks.

Sunday, May 9 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., “The Jazz Brunch” (family-friendly event).

This lavish Mother’s Day brunch spread with carving stations, indulgent sides, made-to-order omelet station, seafood station and wide variety of desserts – plus live music with Sam Pacetti!

A detailed outline of dates and events can be found on:  www.staugustinefoodandwinefestival.com.

Advance ticket sales are now available! Go to https://tickets.staugustinefoodandwinefestival.com/p/tickets.

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