Pensacola Beach restaurants are prepped and ready for the 11th Annual Taste of the Beach festival on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Presented by the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, Taste of the Beach is Pensacola Beach’s annual foodie festival that celebrates the beach’s chefs and their coastal cuisine with cooking demonstrations, chef challenges, sample tastings and a free live concert.
The six Pensacola Beach Chefs presenting a cooking demonstration and tasting on Saturday include Jere Doyle of Crabs We Got ‘Em; Brad Davis of H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel; Jeffrey Newbill of Peg Leg Pete’s; Dennis Moore of Flounder’s Chowder House; Shane Bourke of Casino Beach Bar & Grille; and John Smith of Hemingway’s Island Grill.
“This is our way of celebrating the amazing culinary scene happening daily on Pensacola Beach and spotlighting those directly responsible for it — our beach chefs,” said Alison Westmoreland, President of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce.
A ticketed VIP dinner event will be held 6 p.m. Friday night, Sept. 7, at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Front. Guests will sample specially-created hors d’oeuvres before beginning a formal five-course meal with two-course wine pairing and on-stage cooking demonstration. The night’s featured Pensacola Beach chefs are: Brad Davis, Dennis Moore, Jeffrey Newbill, Jere Doyle and John Smith. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased at TasteofPensacolaBeach.com.
The daylong Taste of the Beach outdoor festival opens at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 with 20 beach restaurants showcasing their signature dishes for just $5 each. The festival’s entertainment, which is centered around the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach, includes chef demonstrations, cooking competitions and live music.
Kicking off the festival is the Chef’s Challenge – starting at 11 a.m. in front of the Gulfside Pavilion Stage. The cooking contest pits six Pensacola Beach chefs against each other using a secret ingredient for the chance to win a trophy and bragging rights for a year.
Next up is the Team Cook Off challenge, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Local celebrities, beach businesses and civic organizations will be invited to compete against each other using surprise ingredients for the chance to win the Taste of the Beach team champion’s title.
The six Pensacola Beach Chefs will be presenting simultaneous live cooking demonstrations starting at 1 p.m. Festival goers can gather around and watch as each chef prepares and explains how to make his dish. Those who wish to receive a sample of each chef’s creation can pre-purchase a wristband for $25 at TasteofPensacolaBeach.com. A limited number of chef’s sampling wristbands will be available for purchase at the festival.
From 5-7 p.m., attendees can sample a selection of microbrews and beers provided by Lewis Bear Co. Wristbands can be purchased on the website for $15, and the first 200 purchasers will receive a tasting mug.
Finally, prepare to get your ‘80s nostalgia fix on Saturday night at 7 p.m. when Pop Fiction takes the Gulfside Pavilion stage for a two-hour concert. Hailing from Jackson, Miss., Pop Fiction reimagines the modern pop, rock, dance and hip-hop classic hits from the eighties.
Admission to Taste of the Beach is free to the public. No coolers or outside food and drink are allowed.
For more details, VIP event tickets or lodging information, visit TasteofPensacolaBeach.com.