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AC Food & Wine Festival Serves Up Luscious Libations and Fabulous Fare


Thousands attended the fourth annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival where celebrity chefs made appearances, taught cooking demonstrations and mingled with fans. Presented by Caesars Entertainment, the 2012 culinary lineup featured Paula Deen (Paula’s Best Dishes), Robert Irvine (Dinner Impossible), Tyler Florence (Food 911), Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods), Anne Burrell (Worst Cooks in America), Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss) and Nadia G. (Bitchin’ Kitchin).Chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern poses with Philly2Philly's Veronica Dudo.

Dozens of lavish events took place at Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s and Showboat  celebrating all types of cuisine. “The Grand Market and Italian Village” showcased more than 100 stations offering food, wine, spirits and ales.

Chef and TV personality Zimmern hosted “Define Cheese-Steak” the ultimate tasting party celebrating Philly’s culinary innovation—the cheesesteak! Guests had the opportunity to walk around and sample cheesesteaks from a number of vendors each serving up their own unique twists on the iconic sandwich.

Zimmern also hosted “Bizarre Brunch” a late morning soiree of some very unconventional dishes including Shoofly French Toast with Crickets and Wok Fried “Bicho de Tacuara” (Bamboo worms) Lettuce Wraps!  At “Blues, Brews and BBQ” celebrity chefs Deen and Florence welcomed festival goers to feast on fresh-off-the-grill bites and 15 craft brews from around the country.

Those with a sweet tooth splurged at “Sweet & Stylish” an event blending designer fashion and sensual desserts. Valastro, owner of Carlo’s Bakery in Shoofly French Toast with Crickets Hoboken, N.J. baked fans a bevy of succulent deserts including his famous canoli. A New Jersey native, Valastro said he is proud to have the opportunity to show the world what the Garden State is really like on his hit TLC reality TV series, Cake Boss  and to offer family-friendly entertainment.

“Being a Jersey guy I'm very proud just to be in the state and I always try to show Jersey in a positive light and I'm happy that my show does that,” Valastro says.  

“I'm a dad, I have four children, what would I want to sit down with my four kids and watch which is still entertaining to them but clean enough where they could see it and it's not trashy; where it's still fun to be an adult and have some humor.”

Host of Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network, Chef Irvine invaded the kitchen of Autros at Bally’s Atlantic City to create an evening of savory dishes. The celebrity chef explained what sets some chefs apart from others in the culinary world.

“When you go to dinner these people [chefs] want to make you feel welcomed but they go out of their way to make sure. Just like chefs that come to my restaurants we take care of them. If you’re a military member and you’re coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan and you come to my restaurant, you don’t pay anything we take care of you. I think chefs are such giving people,” Chef Irvine explained.

With talented chefs hosting a diverse collection of events including intimate dinners, BBQ’s, wine seminars, whisky and cigar galas, fashion shows, concerts and desert tastings; this year’s Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival added fantastic flavor to the resort.

Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist covering everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. Follow her on Twitter @VeronicaDudo and on her Facebook page

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