This past weekend was three days packed full of fabulous food and wine events, cooking demonstrations with Food Network celebrity chefs, seminars, restaurant excursions and parties. It was exhausting, but jubilant – and, in some instances, educational and informative. The festival was hosted by Caesars Entertainment’s four resorts (Harrahs, Caesars, Bally’s and Showboat), which will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
At Friday’s first of four Robert Mondavi Discover Wines Presents The Grand Market and Italian Village throngs of visitors were indulged with dishes prepared by local Atlantic City Restaurants, restaurants from the four Caesars’ resorts and local vendors, as well as excellent wines from some of New Jersey’s and the nation’s best wineries. The theme this year was “Go Green” with several organic suppliers showcasing their wines and foods. Masters Organic Farms was offering samples of octopus with micro basil and oregano with jalapeño and heirloom tomatoes. And companies like Rastelli Direct, which promotes “From Farm to Family,” and Viking gave informative cooking demonstrations.
Following an edible excursion through the Grand Market, the next event on the agenda was an appearance at Showboat’s Foundation Room for Sexy Women Eat with author, Divya Gugnani, at a book signing event. Gugnani is also CEO of Behind the Burner and frequently appears on TV’s MSNBC and NBC Weekend Today. In her introductory statements she advised guests to “Love the skin you’re in and make time for yourself.”
Her new book reveals how to love food and look fabulous with a guide to eating and drinking under 150 calories. Gugnani, whose ethnic origin is Indian, said growing up food was the glue for the family. After breakfast, lunch was planned, followed by what to have for dinner. In college she realized the bad relationship people had with food. In America, it was gluttony or famine.
Following a successful career as a venture capitalist, she followed her passion for food and founded Behind the Burner. Interviewing this beautiful, vibrant young woman and listening to her talk about her love for cooking, being in the kitchen and helping women feel fabulous through sensible and healthy eating was inspiring and the perfect way to end the day.
Follow this column for interesting interviews with Food Network chefs, Robert Irvine (Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible) and theNeelys (Down Home with the Neelys)
** For other stories covering food news, cooking and recipes, please visit my Shore Region Food Examiner page or on my website, TastefuLiving.net.