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Best Waterfront Restaurants in the U.S.

With the summer season officially underway, people around the country are doing their best to keep cool. This means frequent trips to the beaches and lakes whenever and wherever it’s possible. The following are just some of the best waterfront restaurant in the U.S. So if you’re looking to enjoy a cool breeze off the water while dining out, try to make it to one of these spectacular spots.

 

La Mar by Gaston Acurio – Miami, FL

 

la mar

 

With a menu designed by famed Chef Gaston Acurio, La Mar offers meals that boast a bold and authentic Peruvian flavor. Overlooking both the Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline, this stylish restaurant is known for its cebiches, anticuchos, and specialty cocktails like South American grape brandy. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and Sundays at Lar Mar feature a unique brunch experience.

 

Lido Bayside Grill – Miami, FL

 

lido bayside grill

 

This dockside restaurant is part of the The Standard Spa/Hotel. Featuring unbelievable views, this health-conscious establishment has a Mediterranean diet-influenced menu that includes organic meats, fish, olive oil, and herbs. The restaurant’s assortment of biodynamic wines are best enjoyed during happy hour, which is daily from 4-7 PM.  Open from 7 AM – 11 PM, the Lido Bayside Grill is perfect for an early morning breakfast or a late night snack.

 

Grand Banks – New York, NY

 

grand banks

 

Located on the western coast of downtown Manhattan, Grand Banks provides a distinct setting that patrons won’t find anywhere else. Offering sustainable, wild-caught fish and local produce, the seasonal restaurant gives patrons the chance to eat and drink on a classic fishing vessel. Hand-built in 1942, the Sherman Zwicker fishing ship spent a career traveling the North Atlantic in search of fish before being restored and used as the site of this one-of-a-kind restaurant.

 

The River Café – Brooklyn, NY

 

the river cafe

 

Giving customers a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline, The River Café in Brooklyn prides itself on using only the freshest and infest ingredients. The restaurant’s esteemed chefs blend a wide range of cooking techniques and styles to create a modern cuisine unlike any other.  Offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert, this classy establishment maintains an elegant atmosphere by requiring men to wear jackets any time after 4 PM.  

 

Dave’s Gone Fishing – Montauk, NY

 

daves gone fishing

 

Open from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm from May to October, Dave’s Gone Fishing offers an intimate and casual dining experience. The restaurant is located right on Lake Montauk and provides stunning views of the sunset. Featuring indoor and outdoor seating, Dave’s Gone Fishing specializes in a wide range of seafood and also offers a variety of eclectic wines. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so make sure to get there on the early side.

 

Bay Kitchen Bar – East Hampton, NY

 

bay kitchen bar

 

This trendy Hamptons restaurant providing a relaxing view of Gardiners Bay and specializes in delicious seafood like clams, tuna, bass, scallops, lobser, and capers. Executive Chef Eric Miller owns and operates this dock-to-table establishment. With nearly 40 years of experience as a chef, Miller secures the best seafood from local fisheries and uses his diverse knowledge to cook each dish to perfection.

 

Mar’Sel – Los Angeles, CA

 

mar'sel los angeles

 

Boasting unrivaled views of the Pacific Ocean, Mar’Sel at Terranea is located on the vibrant Palos Verdes peninsula. The elegant restaurant has seasonal menus that always utilize quality locally-sourced ingredients. An on premise herb garden helps Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra stock his kitchen with some of the freshest herbs available. Whether you want fresh vegetables, seafood, meat, or cheese, Mar’Sel has you covered.  

 

Nobu Malibu – Malibu, CA

 

nobu malibu

 

This beachfront oasis is known for its delicious Japanese food. Featuring signature dishes like Tiradito, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, and Black Cod Miso, Nobu Malibu also has a sushi bar and a stylish bar area. Since the restaurant tends to get crowded so reservations are highly encouraged and taken up to a month in advance. The outdoor patio and lounge at Nobu Malibu offer a serene setting that is well worth the steep cost.

 

The Slanted Door – San Francisco, CA

 

slanted door

 

A winner of James Beard’s prestigious Outstanding Restaurant Award in 2014, the Slanted Door uses the highest quality ingredients to create innovative Vietnamese cuisine.  Executive Chef Charles Phan combines his extensive knowledge of traditional Vietnamese ingredients, flavors, and techniques with radical experimentation to create modernized dishes. The restaurant is right on the water and gives patrons an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

The Marine Room – San Diego, CA

 

marine room

 

The Marine Room is the perfect waterfront locale for an elegant celebration. A pillar in the La Jolla community since 1941, the restaurant has garnered lavish praise from even the harshest critics. Breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean combined with fresh meat, seafood, and award-winning desserts make The Marine Room an excellent choice for weddings and other special occasions.

 

Hello Betty Fish House – San Diego, CA

 

hello betty fish house

 

A short walk from the beach, the Hello Betty Fish House has a rooftop lounge that overlooks miles upon miles of blue ocean water. This casual dining environment is the perfect spot for a relaxing Sunday. The diverse menu has something for everyone, and the restaurant offers a wide range of affordable cocktails. If you enjoy live music, make sure to check the Hello Betty Fish House website for information about the restaurant’s ‘Tunes at Twilight’ series.

 

Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge – Seattle, WA

 

six seven restaurant & lounge

 

The Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge is located inside the Edgewater hotel and offers customers views of Elliot Bay. If that’s not enough, Mount Olympus provides a scenic backdrop in the distance. The restaurant features seasonal Northwest cuisine that includes fresh, organic, and naturally-raised ingredients. An evolving wine selection includes hard-to-find bottles from Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina wineries. Live music is played in the lounge on Friday and Saturday nights.

 

 

These are just a few of the best waterfront restaurants in some of the most popular coastal cities in the U.S. But whether you live by an ocean, lake, or river, there is surely an option located close to you. Just Google your hometown and waterfront restaurants. Then enjoy a nice meal out by the water. 

Commercial Sneeze Guards

Commercial Sneeze Guards

By Lee Davis, CFSP

 

Fifty-eight years ago this week, the Sneeze Guard was invented by a Pennsylvania germaphobe, named Johnny Garneau. He owned a popular chain of Midwest Smorgasbord restaurants, and who knows how many cases of physical contamination and foodborne illness have been prevented by his invention.

 

Today, sneeze guards (a.k.a., food shields, breath guards) are not just a good idea, they’re required in virtually all U.S. jurisdictions for buffets, food displays and self-service operations. According to the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® curriculum, sneeze guards should be located 14” above the counter, and extend at least 7” out in front of the food pans.

 

When choosing a sneeze guard, you’ll be faced with a number of decisions. Aside from width, probably the first consideration is whether you need a permanently mounted sneeze guard for a fixed serving line, or a free standing, multi-purpose sneeze guard that can be appropriated for multiple uses. Perhaps your second decision will be related to materials. Stands can be painted steel, stainless steel, aluminum or polymer. Shields are tempered glass or acrylic. Considerations when choosing materials include styling, weight, cleanability, and durability.

 

Below is a list of our favorite sneeze guard manufacturers (in alphabetical order). Among them, you’re sure to find the right sneeze guard for your application.

 
 

Advance Tabco: Advance can fabricate just about anything you need, but they also have a catalog of high quality stainless steel and tempered glass sneeze guards for permanent mounting in standard widths ranging from 36” to 96” and beyond. We really like Advance’s patented Chamber Lock design that allows the glass shields to be rotated for easy cleaning and quick adjustments.

 

AdvanceTabco_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cal-Mil: Cal-Mil offers a large variety of uniquely stylish, lightweight, freestanding units featuring acrylic shields and metal brackets. We especially like their Suspended Sneeze Guards, both double and single, designed to be hung from the ceiling above a buffet.

 

CalMil_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cambro: Cambro offers a rugged, freestanding, molded polymer sneeze guard with acrylic panels (see photo). It comes in a variety of bright colors that are great for school applications, catering, and sporting events. The Free-Standing Sneeze Guard is generally sold as part of Cambro’s Salad Bar assembly, but can be ordered separately.

 

Cambro_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlisle: Carlisle makes a large variety of simple, quality, stand alone sneeze guards in standard widths ranging from 24” to 72”. Featuring aluminum stands and acrylic shields, they are lightweight and versatile. Single or double sided, Carlisle offers a great value. They also offer a ceiling suspended sneeze guard package.

 

Carlisle_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke: Duke’s BG, 400, 500 and 8/900 series food shields offer a variety of great solutions in a complete range of price points from “Custom Exclusives” to “Value Alternatives.” With stainless steel brackets and glass shields, their products are designed for permanent mounting. Powder Coating, heat rods, and lighting are available options.

 

Duke_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nemco: If you need a sneeze guard for a hot dog roller grill, Nemco’s got you covered. They offer a molded polycarbonate guard with a door for self-service, or a canopy guard that allows operators to load the grill from behind.

 

NEMCO_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vollrath: Vollrath offers a great selection of sneeze guards for numerous applications. Employing various materials to match the application, they can add heat strips, lights, and other features to customize your purchase. Some models come in as many as nine different powder coating color options. We especially like their foldable, mobile, breath guards that can be folded up and slipped into a handy carrying case for storage and transportation.

 
Vollrath_SG

 

 

 

 

 

 

So check out these manufacturers, and be sure to visit a salad bar or buffet this week. Fill your plate, enjoy your meal, and don’t forget to remember inventor Johnny Garneau for 58 years of sneeze-free dining.

Five of the Best Culinary Schools in the World

culinary schools

 

While some successful chefs achieve success without any formal education, that path to cooking mastery certainly isn’t the norm. It’s in every aspiring chef’s best interest to learn proper skills and technique from a well-respected culinary school. The following are just some of the world’s best culinary institutes. The school that’s the best individual fit for you largely depends on the type of food you wish to specialize in.

 

Le Cordon Bleu

 

le cordon bleu

 

Established in 1895 France, Le Cordon Bleu is the world’s largest hospitality education institution. With over 50 schools scattered over five continents, the institution educates approximately 20,000 students per year—with culinary arts being just one of its several focuses. While Le Cordon Bleu currently has over a dozen affiliated schools in the United States, those branches are set to close this year. This means that studying at the revered institution will need to be an International endeavor for American culinary students.

The institute predictably stresses French cuisine in its coursework and claims several world famous chefs as its alumni. Current celebrity Chef Giada Laurentiis was educated at Le Cordon Bleu, as was cooking legend Julia Child. While the original Le Cordon Bleu campus in Paris is a great option, there are also affiliated schools in London, Madrid, Istanbul, Tokyo, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and other countries.

 

Culinary Institute of America

 

culinary institute of america

 

With campuses in New York, California, and Texas, the Culinary Institute of America spans from coast to coast. The renowned school even has an international campus in Singapore. While all three of the U.S. campuses offer associate degrees, only the institute’s main campus—New York—lets culinary students earn bachelor degrees.

In addition to degrees, the schools offer a wide variety of other programs. All three U.S. campuses host programs for food and wine enthusiasts. These programs vary greatly—with some only lasting a couple hours and others billing themselves as multi-day boot camps. The California campus is located in Napa Valley and is host to a one-of-a-kind Food Business School that helps prepare aspiring restaurant owners for the obstacles that come with running a foodservice.

The New York campus, which is located in the Hudson Valley, gives students hands-on experience by operating four public restaurants. These restaurants focus respectively on French cuisine, Italian cuisine, American cuisine, and café type foods—sandwiches, soups, and baked treats. While the California and Texas campuses also give students the chance to work at on-site restaurants, they don’t have the same range of cooking styles found at the New York campus.

Faculty at the Culinary Institute of America includes several American Culinary Federation-certified Master Chefs and Retail Bakers of America-certified Master Bakers. Other professors include authors of textbooks and magazines. The Institution’s long list of notable alumni includes celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

 

The School of Artisan Food

 

school of artisan food

 

The first artisanal food school in the United Kingdom, The School of Artisan Food is a not-for-profit operation that offers classes in baking, butchery, and cheese making. Following founder Alison Swan Parente’s struggle to find a quality baker for a bakehouse, she decided to open the school to “help those of us who sit in offices fantasizing about making jam for a living realize our dreams.” The School of Artisanal Food has been in operation since 2009 and has 2000 enrolled students.

Offering weekend classes, one-year courses, and advanced diplomas in baking, the school also has courses that focus on the business side of the food industry. So while lectures from chefs are not uncommon, neither are talks from lawyers, accountants, and other business experts. The school teaches students how to master the process of baking, butchery, and cheese making. Other topics covered include preparing and cooking a wide range of foods and drinks—sausages, jams, beers, ales, ciders, ice creams, sourdoughs, cured meats, and pickles.

Located on a 15,000-acre estate in the legendary Sherwood Forest, The School of Artisanal Food has won several awards for its consistent excellence. In 2013, the UK Cookery School of the Year Awards honored the institution as ‘Best Country or Residential Cookery School.’ In 2014, the British Cookery School Awards awarded its top prize to The School of Artisanal Food.

 

Culinary Arts Academy

 

culinary arts academy

 

The Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland has a reputation for being one of the most well-respected culinary institutions in the world. Founded in 1991, the Academy has campuses in both Lucerne and Le Bouveret. Offering hospitality and tourism studies in addition to the culinary fields, the highly selective school has only 300 enrolled students.

Offering an innovative educational experience, the Culinary Arts Academy is equipped with state-of-the-art kitchens and is partners with a multitude of industry professionals. The program focuses on both kitchen skills as well as the knowledge necessary for successful entrepreneurship. Small classes ensure plenty of personal attention from experienced instructors, and internships are available through industry juggernauts like the Ritz Paris and Ritz Escoffier.

The Academy offers Bachelor’s Degrees in Culinary Arts, which focus on Swiss pastry and chocolate arts. The Culinary Arts Academy also offers a Masters of International Business in Culinary Management.

 

Institute of Culinary Education

 

institute of culinary education

 

Located in downtown Manhattan, the Institute of Culinary Education offers 1,500 classes per year and attracts over 26,000 students. The institute was founded as Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School in 1975 and offers several programs—a Culinary Arts Program, Pastry & Baking Arts Program, Culinary Management Program, and Hospitality Management Program. Also hosting continuing educating courses and recreational cooking courses, the Institute of Culinary Education has a class for every interest and skill level.  Winning numerous awards, the institute was called the best culinary school in 2016 by cooking authority The Daily Meal. Notable alumni include Vivian Howard, Ed Behr, and Rachel Yang.

 

 

While attending a renowned culinary school is a great way to learn how to cook, it’s not the only path to culinary mastery. In an Internet age when information is more accessible than ever before, it never been easier for aspiring chefs to teach themselves the craft of cooking. Blogs, books, cooking shows, and Youtube videos have an abundance of useful information that can help you get started. In fact, celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Nigella Lawson have no formal culinary education. So whether you decide to attend a culinary institute or utilize resources at home, the important part is making a sustained effort. 

 

culinary schools 2

NSF: What It Is and Why It Matters

By Lee Davis

nsf

If you regularly buy or sell commercial foodservice equipment and supplies, then you’re probably familiar with the NSF certification stamp that appears on any number of products from ladles to refrigerators. You may even know that NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) is an independent, not-for-profit, third party that, among other things, tests and certifies foodservice equipment and supplies to verify that they meet or exceed NSF’s standards for cleanability, sanitation, and food protection. Items that pass the tests for materials, design, construction, and performance, get the NSF stamp.


I was recently asked, “so what does that mean? Am I required to buy NSF products for my commercial kitchen or not?”

The short answer is “it’s a really, really good idea.”

Why?


Health Code Compliance

Not all health departments require everything in your kitchen to be NSF Certified, but everything in your kitchen that is NSF Certified, will meet any health department requirements. NSF International closely monitors all jurisdictions to make sure that NSF standards meet or exceed federal, state, and local health codes. In the U.S. local health departments perform inspections to verify compliance. When reviewing an operation, inspectors can quickly and easily verify equipment compliance if they see an NSF certification mark. Not having certified equipment can often raise compliance issues and even put a new restaurant's opening on hold.


Protect Your Customers and Your Operation

Your customers expect and deserve safe food. The CDC estimates that each year roughly 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Easily cleanable, properly functioning food equipment is critical for any restaurant or commercial food service operation. Poorly designed or malfunctioning equipment can lead to cross-contamination and even a foodborne illnesses outbreak. According to the National Restaurant Association, even a single foodborne illness outbreak can cost an operation thousands of dollars. The costs come from loss of sales, negative media exposure, lawsuits, loss of reputation, and increased insurance premiums.


Satisfy Chain and Franchise Requirements

Often times, chains and franchises will require that equipment in their local operations be NSF Certified. In addition to the reasons above, this helps promote a culture of food safety within their organization. This can encourage additional safety measures, and improve employee morale and job satisfaction.


In general, before making any major equipment investment, it’s wise to ask your supplier to verify the item is NSF Certified. NSF International lists 22 food equipment standards that address the variety of products within a commercial kitchen including, but not limited to, ice machines, water heaters, food cooking and prep equipment, food carts, refrigerators, warewashing machines, thermometers, food storage containers, dinnerware, disposable gloves, oven mitts, and more. To see a complete list of standards, or to conduct a search by item or manufacturer, click here.

Cold Refreshments That Are Perfect for Summer

summer refreshment

 

As a warm front once again brings temperatures to record-highs throughout the northeast and midwest, people rush to take comfort in swimming pools, air conditioning, and refreshing frozen treats. If your restaurant or foodservice is located in an area that will experience more sweltering summer heat, then be sure to offer your customers frozen foods and drinks that they won’t be able to resist. The following includes just a few of the many frozen items you can carry:

 

Ice Cream

 

ice cream

 

The classic go-to frozen refreshment, ice cream offers the ultimate reprieve from a hot and/or humid summer day. Cold and delicious, ice cream can help your customers escape even the most oppressive conditions and enter the realm of ice cream-induced bliss. Whether you want to carry soft serve or hard ice cream, your patrons will be eternally grateful for the sweet escape from the summer heat.

If you want to offer soft serve, you’ll need to invest in a commercial soft serve machine. Depending on the machine you want, you can be looking to spend anywhere from a few thousand dollars to something in the five figure range. But for the best in ice cream refreshment, accept no substitute. While some machines only have one handle that distributes a single flavor, others have three handles that feature two unique flavors and a twist flavor.

For a less costly alternative, consider outfitting your foodservice with a commercial ice cream dipping cabinet. Capable of storing multiple large ice cream containers, these cabinets are ideal for foodservices that want to offer a variety of flavors. If you own an Italian restaurant that’s looking to complement traditional Italian food, a gelato dipping cabinet is perfect for you.

If you want to carry more low-key ice cream offerings, a commercial chest freezer might be your best bet. Capable of storing frozen novelty items like ice cream sandwiches, cones, bars, fudge pops, ice pops, Italian ices, and more, chest freezers are great options for convenience stores, delis, and pizzerias.

 

Milkshakes

 

milkshakes

 

For those who prefer to drink their ice cream-based refreshments, milkshakes are the perfect choice. Commercial milkshake machines are relatively inexpensive and enable you to offer milkshakes in addition to traditional hard ice cream. Whether you want to make just one milkshake at a time or as many as three, there’s a milkshake mixer for you.

 

Frozen Cocktails

 

frozen cocktail

 

For restaurants and bars that want to offer the ultimate in adult frozen beverage refreshment, there is no substitute for a frozen cocktail machine. Enabling you to craft delicious margaritas, daiquiris, and piña coladas, frozen cocktail machines are ideal for establishments like bars and pubs that are expecting a high volume of customers.

 

Frozen Smoothies

 

frozen smoothie

 

Some patrons might prefer to consume vitamin- and nutrient-dense smoothies rather than indulge in ice cream treats. To satisfy these customers, be sure to equip your foodservice with a commercial blender that is capable of frequently blending frozen fruit. For detailed information related to making all types of smoothies, check out this comprehensive smoothie guide.

 

Lemonade and Iced Tea

 

lemonade

 

Classic old time beverages like lemonade and iced tea offer unparalleled refreshment to customers of all ages. Equip your restaurant, café, or concession stand with a refrigerated beverage dispenser that will ensure your drinks are always ice cold and served at peak refreshment. Several types of beverage dispensers are available. While some only hold one type of beverage, larger dispensers have as many as four distinct bowls. This allows you to offer a variety of lemonades—diet, pink, or yellow—and several different flavors of iced tea.

For equipment that’s specifically designed to brew and serve iced tea, outfit your operation with a commercial iced tea brewer and a commercial ice tea dispenser. Available in an assortment of sizes, iced tea dispensers hold as few as two gallons and as many as ten.

 

Sushi

 

sushi

 

For customers who want a cold meal that won’t weigh them down in the summer heat, sushi is the perfect solution. Cool and light, the Japanese specialty is available in a variety of forms. Whether your foodservice offers seafood, vegetables, or tropical fruits, there is a delicious type of sushi that will satisfy your customers. If you decide to offer sushi, make sure to invest in a quality refrigerated sushi case. These pieces of equipment take up minimal space and help ensure your sushi offerings remain fresh, cold, and delicious.

 

Ice

 

ice flavored

 

For many people, all that’s necessary to escape the heat is cold ice—either cubed or crushed. Keeping your foodservice stocked with plenty of ice will also enable you to serve drinks that are sufficiently cold. To make ice distribution easy and efficient, utilize commercial ice machines, ice bins, and ice dispensers. If you also have ice flavoring, you can make delicious frozen treats like classic snow cones and shaved ice.

 

Slushies

 

slushy

 

Especially if a large portion of your clientele is made of children, offering slushies is a great way to bring customers in on hot days. Slushy machines can carry anywhere from one to three unique flavors. Just a few of the popular flavors include banana, coconut, lime, raspberry, strawberry, bubble gum, cherry, cotton candy, and watermelon. By alternating what flavors your operation offers, you can help ensure customers keeping coming back for more.

 

Salad

 

salad

 

A classic snack or meal for diners who prefer something light, salads are always popular options when the temperature rises and people crave refreshment. Whether you want to offer bean salad, Caesar salad, chicken salad, egg salad, fruit salad, garden salad, Israeli salad, pasta salad, or potato salad, a reliable refrigerated deli case will keep your offerings cool and well-preserved. These cases are available in a wide range of sizes. So whether you want to feature many kinds of salad or just offer a type or two, there is a deli case that will suit your needs.  

 

 

There are plenty of summer food and drink options that can entice customers to use your foodservice as an oasis from the summer heat. There’s no need to offer everything, but by providing patrons with a temporary escape from oppressive weather, you won’t be soon forgotten. 

 

summer refreshment 2

Most Outrageous Ballpark Foods of MLB’s 2017 Season

citi field

 

With two months of the 2017 MLB season already in the books, the dog days of summer are fast approaching. It won’t be long before both the temperature and humidity spike and fans start preferring to watch games from the comfort of their own homes. Before that happens, make sure to attend a game at your local ballpark and try some novelty food offerings. Everyone's had the classic hotdog, peanuts, and cracker jacks, but there's an assortment of other unique options you might not know about. Here is a list of just some of the items you’ll find at MLB ballparks across America.

 

Churro “Dessert” Poutine – Toronto Blue Jays

 

churro dessert poutine

 

Although the churro is a dessert we associate with a certain country south of the border, the Toronto Blue Jays have adopted the fried treat in their own glorious fashion. Serving vanilla ice cream accompanied by churro sticks and topped with warm caramel sauce, the Blue Jays ensure no sweet tooth in the stadium goes unsatisfied. While poutine typically has cheese curds and gravy, this innovative take of the dish is all about the sugar. The Churro “Dessert” Poutine can be found in the Rogers Centre at T.O. Street Eats near section 134.

 

Brisket Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese – Chicago White Sox

 

brisket mac and cheese

 

This behemoth of a ballpark meal is 16" long and features brisket that’s slow-smoked for 12-hours. Perfect for families, the extravagant sandwich is lathered in Syrah barbecue sandwich and comes with a stack of onion rings. Potentially more expensive than what you paid for a ticket to the game, this sandwich costs $34 with brisket or $28 without brisket.

 

The MVP (Most Valuable Tamale) – Texas Rangers

 

most valuable tamale

 

Everything’s bigger in Texas. Buried beneath a ludicrous amount of chili, nacho cheese, and sour cream, a 2-foot hot dog is wrapped in a tamale, waiting to be devoured. Although the club states the dish is meant for at least two people, we’d be impressed if it took fewer than four fans to consume this monster. Priced at $27, you can certainly get worse bang for your buck at a ballpark stadium.

 

Pulled Pork Patty Melt – Kansas City Royals

 

pulled pork patty melt

 

Leave it to Kansas City—one of the barbecue capitals of the country—to combine funnel cakes with pulled pork sandwiches. Featuring pulled pork, bacon, fried chicken, jalapeno poppers, cheese, and fried onions, this modern marvel uses funnel cakes instead of boring old bread to bookend its contents. While aficionados might debate whether the Pulled Pork Patty Melt technically qualifies as a sandwich, Royal fans are left to indulge in this groundbreaking creation that pushes culinary boundaries.

 

Sunrise Dog – Kansas City Royals

 

sunrise dog royals

 

If you make it to Kauffman stadium but are looking for something a little tamer than the Pulled Pork Patty Melt, the Sunrise Dog might be for you. This Kansas City favorite consists of a ballpark frank topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, white sausage gravy, and a fried egg. While it’s not as creative as the Patty Melt, a Sunrise Dog is less likely to make a mess and arguably just as—if not more—delicious.

 

Chicken Funnel Cake Sandwich – Arizona Diamondbacks

 

chicken funnel cake

 

The Diamondbacks held nothing back when brainstorming up this culinary masterpiece. Like the Royals’ Pulled Pork Patty Melt, the Chicken Funnel Cake Sandwich utilizes funnel cakes instead of bread. But the madness doesn’t stop there. Between two funnel cakes lies a chicken patty covered with strawberry jam, maple syrup, and garlic black pepper cheddar. Regardless of your experience with ballpark novelty foods items, this onslaught of sugar should not be underestimated.

 

Miami South Beach Dog – Washington Nationals

 

miami south beach dog

 

While fans might expect to find this item at Marlins Park in Miami, they’ll take it wherever they can get it. The gargantuan 18-inch hot dog is topped with pineapples, onions, and classic condiments. Served with salty French fries, the Miami South Beach Dog should be more than enough to keep your hunger at bay all game—and maybe even through extra innings.

 

Tuna Poke Bowl – Los Angeles Dodgers

 

tuna poke bowl

 

This refreshing bowl of ahi tuna is the perfect light meal for those trying to stay cool under the California sun. Featuring ahi tuna over rice, the dish comes with vegetables, wakame, and ponzu sauce. For hungry fans who have had more than their fair share of Dodger Dogs, a Tuna Poke Bowl is a great change of pace option.

 

Lobster Poutine Stak – Boston Red Sox

 

Lobster Poutine Stak

 

Why wouldn’t New England region’s lone major league baseball team to offer lobster-based dishes at a ballgame? The Lobster Poutine Stak consists of steak fries covered with lobster meat, cheese curds, and chives. And rather than using gravy—as is customary in Canada—the Red Sox give top the meal with thick, creamy bisque. The ambitious Fenway Park meal is making its debut in 2017 and might not be around for long.

 

Taco Dog – Miami Marlins

 

taco dog marlins park

 

Home to a large Hispanic population, Miami wears its culture with pride. This year, the Marlins are combining hot dogs with tacos to create “Taco Dogs.” The Taco Dog is a foot-long Nathan frankfurter topped with chili, pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and jalapenos—all wrapped in a tortilla bun. It’s the perfect spicy, culture-infused alternative to a traditional ballpark frank.

 

Bao to the Pork – Chicago Cubs

 

bao to the pork

 

The Chicago Cubs are celebrating their first World Series Championship in over 100 years by improving their food offerings. If you’re visiting legendary Wrigley Field this summer, make sure to get a taste of this pulled pork sandwich. Topped with Asian sauce, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumbers, and jalapeno, the sandwich comes on a delicious steamed bao bun.

 

Tomahawk Chop Sandwich – Atlanta Braves

 

tomahawk chop sandwich

 

While the opening of their new stadium might’ve been enough to draw fans to the ballpark, the Braves were taking no chances. The Tomahawk Chop Sandwich—which they added to their 2017 concession stands—is proof of that. This robust sandwich includes fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. Fit for a family of four, the Southern-style sandwich costs $26 and is not for the faint of heart or stomach.

 

 

There’s no need to fret if you don’t see food from your local team on this list. With attendance numbers declining throughout baseball, teams are increasingly improving their food offerings to attract fans. Just check your team’s website for detailed information about what food is offered in the stadium. But since there’s no guarantee that teams will continue carrying these novelty offers, make sure to get them while they’re still around.

 

touring the majors

Five Famous Female Chefs and Their Stories

flexing female chef

 

While there’s no shortage of celebrity male chefs in the TV and print industries, there is also a large group of women who are just talented. The following details five of the most famous female chefs, and their unique success stories.

 

Rachael Ray

 

rachael ray

 

Host of her own TV show, Rachael Ray is probably the world’s most famous female chef. Despite having no formal culinary education, Ray was able to turn her easy-to-make recipes into the book 30 Minute Meals. Leveraging the success of her book, the burgeoning star secured a weekly spot on a local CBS news show that got her enough notoriety to star in the Food Network’s “30 Minute Meals” in 2001. Since then, Ray’s success has only continued to grow. Her sparkling personality landed her the talk show Rachael Ray, which is now in its 11th season and has aired 1500 episodes.

Ray has published dozens of cook books and is perhaps best known for recipes that can be completed in less than thirty minutes. She does not believe in measuring ingredients precisely and instead prefers to use measurements like a “palmful” or “half a palfmul.” While she might not be the culinary master her popularity would have you believe, Ray makes cooking fun and easy. Her popularity has led to the spread of catch phrases like “Yum-O” and “Evoo,” which is short for extra-virgin olive oil and made it into the 2007 Oxford American College Dictionary.

 

Giada De Laurentiis

 

giada de laurenitis

 

Born in Rome, Italy, Giada De Laurentiis was always destined for stardom. Both her parents were actors, and that charisma certainly didn’t skip a generation. And despite Laurentiis’ apprehension about following in their footsteps and entering show business, there was simply no avoiding it.

Laurentiis’ cooking career began in Paris—where she studied at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu. While her original aspirations were to become a pastry chef, she soon found herself working as a chef in several Los Angeles restaurants. After becoming a food stylist, Laurentiis was recruited by the Food Network and given a daytime cooking show—Everyday Italian, which premiered in 2003. Following the success of Everyday Italian, the Italian chef began hosting more shows—including Behind the Bash, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, Giada in Paradise, and more. After attracting a significant following, Laurentiis partnered with Target in 2010 to release a personal line of kitchen supplies. 

To taste Giada’s cooking, stop by the GIADA in Las Vegas, Nevada. Located in The Cromwell hotel, GIADA features Italian cuisine with California influences. An outdoor patio offers gorgeous views of the famous Bellagio fountains, which put on a free show every half hour.

 

Nigella Lawson

 

nigella lawson

 

Nigella Lawson began her career in journalism, serving as a restaurant critic. After nearly 10 years as a freelance writer, she released How to Eat—a book that featured tips on how to save time while preparing food. Two years later she wrote How to be a Domestic Goddess, which was mostly about the art of baking. Both books garnered positive results, resulting in Lawson being made host of the cooking TV show Nigella Bites. The series only lasted for two years but set the tone for Lawson’s future endeavors. She would go on to host TV shows, write books, and contribute articles to newspapers.

Like Racheal Ray, Lawson has no formal culinary training and is known for her simple, easy to replicate recipes. Just days ago, it was announced that Lawson would be returning to TV for the first time since 2015. The culinary star will host the BBC’s six part series: Nigella: At My Table, which will focus on the dishes Nigella most enjoys serving to her own family. It will include both new recipes and old favorites that have evolved over the years.

 

Cat Cora

 

cat cora cooking

 

Co-Host of Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates and a fixture on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Cat Cora comes from a family of restaurateurs—both her father and grandfather owned and managed restaurants. Receiving her cooking education from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Cora got her TV start by co-hosting Kitchen Accomplished. A member of the Culinary Hall of Fame, she is also Executive Chef for the renowned Bon Appetit magazine and specializes in Mediterranean, Southern, and fusion cuisines.

Cora has opened eponymous bar and lounge-style restaurants in the San Francisco International Airport and the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. She is also owns The Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora—a 63-seat restaurant located inside the S.E.A. aquarium in Singapore. Offering light and healthy dishes that include the region’s freshest produce, the restaurant also features Cat Cora specialties like Charred Grilled Wagyu Primecuts and Sous Vide Salmon. Treating diners to amazing views of deep-sea wildlife, the restaurant is a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. 


Lidia Bastianich

 

lidia bastianich cooking

 

Born in Italy, Lidia Bastianich immigrated to New York as a child and quickly discovered a deep love for food. Her romp toward culinary stardom began when—as a 14 year old—she started working part-time at a local Astoria bakery. After graduating high school, Bastianich worked full-time at a Manhattan pizzeria and soon married an ex-restaurant worker and fellow immigrant. The couple went on to open an Italian restaurant in Queens called Buonavia in 1971. While Bastianich started as the restaurant’s hostess, she soon started training to be an assistant chef. After the success of Buonavia led the couple to open a second restaurant in Queens, Bastianich flexed her cooking muscles and impressed local critics with her culinary prowess. She and her husband eventually sold both Queens restaurants and opened a Manhattan spot called Felidia.

It wasn’t until 1993 that Bastianich got her start on TV. Given an opportunity to prepare a meal of her own in front of the camera, Lidia became galvanized. By 1998, she had her own TV show—Lidia’s Italian Table. Bastianich has since hosted several other TV shows and published over a dozen books. Her mastery of Italian cuisine is heralded, and her son is also a practicing chef who plans to carry on the family legacy. 

 

 

These are not the first and certainly not the last women to make their marks on the cooking industry. What all these chefs have in common is they share a passion for cooking and a drive to share their unique culinary perspectives with the world. If you are interested in following in their footsteps a simple blog or Youtube account enables you to easily share your cooking ideas, recipes, and philosophies with the rest of the world. 

 

group of female chefs

Best BBQ Restaurants in America

bbq title

 

Barbecue is a way of life for many Americans. While some people like to barbecue in the comfort of their backyards, others prefer to let the professionals handle the cooking. The following list includes some of the best BBQ restaurants America has to offer. Whether you live close to one of these legendary eating establishments or will be in the vicinity of one sometime soon, do what you can to stop by and experience the meal of a lifetime. We’ve picked one restaurant for each type of barbecue style: Kansas City, Texas, Carolina, and Memphis, along with one wild card.

 

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que – Kansas City, MI

 

joe's kansas city bbq

 

After opening as Oklahoma Joe’s back in 1996, this BBQ mecca quickly earned a sterling reputation despite being located inside a gas station. The restaurant was appropriately re-named as Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que in 2014. Still serving the same great barbecue, the three Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Ques within the Kansas City area continue to satisfy customers who travel far and wide to experience the brilliance of Kansas City style barbecue. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews and won several awards—including:

 

-USA Today’s “Tastiest Ribs in America”

-Yelp’s No. 3 ranking on its top 100 places to eat in the U.S.

-A spot on Anthony Bourdan’s list of “13 Places You Must Eat Before You Die”

-The No. 2 spot on TripAdvisor’s top 10 BBQ restaurants for 2015

-Men’s Health Magazine’s “Manliest Restaurant” title

 

kansas city joes zman\

 

Joe’s Kansas City is perhaps best known for its Z-Man Sandwich, which features brisket, smoked provolone, and two onion rings—all in a Kaiser bun. Other favorites include burnt ends, pork ribs, and smoked chicken. Gumbo is available year-round, and a bean-free chili is served during winter months. Even though you can get the same great barbecue at any one of the three Joes Kansas City Bar-B-Que locations, the original gas station / convenience store restaurant offers a truly unique experience.

 

Franklin Barbecue – Austin, TX

 

franklin barbecue

 

Franklin Barbecue is famous throughout Texas for its mouth-watering brisket and infamous for its long lines that put patron patience to the test. Aaron Franklin, owner and chief firestarter of the restaurant, has won several awards for his dedication to excellence—including a coveted ‘James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest’ in 2015. Franklin is the only barbecue chef to even be nominated for the award. He arrives to Franklin Barbecue at 2am each morning to prep meat for the 11am opening—for which hungry customers line up hours in advance.

Although the brisket is Franklin Barbecue’s most renowned dish, the walk-in restaurant’s pulled pork, Tipsy Texan Sandwiches, and beef ribs are also transcendent barbecue. Using only hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, Aaron preps his meat Texas style—some dry rub and no sauce. The meat is then barbecued over oak wood that provides an optimal smoke-to-heat ratio.

 

franklin barbecue brisket

 

Since it was declared the best BBQ in America by restaurant authority Bonappetit.com in 2011, Franklin Barbecue has become a pilgrimage of sorts for barbecue enthusiasts. The restaurant opens Tuesday-Sunday at 11am and is usually sold out of meat by 2 or 3pm. While the hundreds of people waiting in line on Saturday can lead to waiting times upwards of 3 hours, less busy days like Tuesday and Wednesday usually only have a 60 or 90 minute wait. 

 

B’s Barbecue – Greenville, North Carolina

 

b's barbecue

 

While it’s not the most elegant or aesthetically pleasing BBQ joint, this legendary family-owned operation has been satisfying barbecue lovers in eastern North Carolina since it was founded by Bill and Peggy McLawhorn the 1970s. A decidedly old fashioned type of operation, B’s Barbecue still does not have an official website and only just had a telephone installed in 2016. Instead, the renowned restaurant thrives by focusing entirely on preparing and cooking the most delicious Carolina-style barbecue in the region.

 

b's barbecue chicken

 

Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am until whenever it runs out of food (usually 2pm or so), B’s barbecues its meats over an open pit with charcoal. Meat is lightly seasoned, and a traditional Carolina vinegar- and pepper-flavored sauce is available—though not much is needed. The chicken and chopped pork are both highly recommended and can be eaten in an indoor dining area or on outdoor picnic tables. Determined to keep B’s Barbecue a small, intimate experience that’s entirely theirs, the daughters of Bill and Peggy McLawhorn don’t anticipate upgrading to a more capable building anytime soon.

 

Central BBQ – Memphis, Tennessee

 

central bbq

 

Consistently ranked among the top barbecue restaurants in the States, Central BBQ has 3 locations in the Memphis area. The restaurant has been featured on TV shows like, “Pitmasters,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and “BBQ with Bobby Flay.” Following their meticulous food preparation, Central BBQ chefs rub a top secret combination of dry spices on their meats before marinating them for 24 hours. Once fully infused with juicy flavor, meat is slow-cooked to perfection without the addition of sauce.

 

central bbq food

 

While Central BBQ offers delicious ribs, pork, chicken, turkey, brisket, sausage, and bologna, it’s the restaurant’s innovative pulled-pork barbecue nachos that arguably deserve top billing. This BBQ joint also offers highly addictive homemade potato chips that are topped with a secret blend of seasoning. Featuring an outdoor patio that often hosts live music on the weekends, Central BBQ fosters a celebratory atmosphere that’s ideal for people who are passionate about barbecue.

 

Hometown Bar-B-Que – Brooklyn, NY 

 

hometown bbq

 

While barbecue is certainly more popular in the south, some northern barbecue joints can also hold their own. Widely considered the best BBQ in New York City, Hometown Bar-B-Que is the creation of Bill Durney—a man who learned to barbecue in his backyard and has no formal training. Bill’s menu includes brisket, pulled pork, lamb belly, turkey, and ribs. You can’t go wrong with anything, but the beef rib, pork ribs, and moist brisket are all next level. The beef rib and moist brisket both feature mouth-watering caramelized crust that will make you rethink everything you’ve ever known about barbecue.  

 

hometown bar-b-que food

 

The restaurant has plenty of seating and is equipped with a bar that enables you to drink while waiting for your meal. Stop by during the baseball season, and you’re sure to catch the Yankee game on one of three flat screen TVs that line the walls. Open every day but Monday, Hometown Bar-B-Que can get busy and sometimes sell out of certain meats—so be sure to get there early.

 

 

These are only a few of the thousands of excellent barbecue restaurants scattered throughout the United States. If none of these are close to where you live, there’s sure to be a more local option. Another alternative would be to eat barbecue the old fashioned way—cooking in your backyard with a grill, turner, and tongs. Master the art of barbecue, and maybe someday you’ll open your own BBQ joint! 

 

backyard bbq

Becoming a BBQ Caterer for Events, Parties, and Celebrations

bbq catering

 

With Memorial Day Weekend only days away, the official start of barbecue season is upon us. While many people savor the opportunity to fire up a grill and cook for their friends or family, others aren’t quite as eager. Consequently, catering BBQs is a great way to expand your restaurant’s scope while attracting new customers. With summer holidays and graduation parties fast approaching, many people will be looking to have their events catered for optimal convenience. Keep reading for an idea of how to properly run a BBQ catering business.

 

The Menu

 

bbq menu

 

What foods do you plan to offer on your BBQ catering menu? The staples of a barbecue include but are not limited to chicken, pork, beef, sausage, turkey, fish, hot dogs, beans, corn, peppers, and onions. Between the sauces, marinades, preparation styles, and cooking methods, there is no shortage of unique ways to express your culinary mastery through barbecue.

 

Cooking Methods

 

cooking method

 

Barbecue is an all-encompassing term that includes cooking methods like smoking, roasting, and braising. Smoking—the classic way to barbecue—consists of cooking food at low temperatures (240°F-280°F) for extended periods of time. Utilizing burning wood or other materials to flavor, cook, brown, or preserve food, smoking can take several hours to properly cook meat. Another popular cooking technique is roasting, which can be done in a convection oven or smoke pit. Braising is the third type of barbecuing method. While a braising pan will do a great job at braising meat and giving it at an extra juicy taste, a charbroiler grill is your best bet for barbecue-braising. These grills allow you to lightly grill the meat with dry heat before braising it in a pot at low heat for several hours.

 

Barbecue Styles by Region

 

kansas city style barbecue

 

Before one decides to enter the realm of professional barbecuing, it’s important to learn about the most popular barbecue styles throughout the United States. Depending on the location of your restaurant, you’ll want to customize your cooking according to local preferences. The four types of regional barbecue styles are Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City. Each style features different meats, cooking methods, and sauces. Carolina-style barbecue emphasizes smoked pork that’s topped with peppery vinegar sauce or a “Carolina Gold” sauce that’s made with mustard. Often times, the pork will be seasoned with spicy rub prior to being cooked.

Memphis barbecue focuses on ribs and barbecue sandwiches. Memphis ribs are prepared ‘dry’ or ‘wet’. While dry ribs are seasoned with dry rub, wet ribs are coated with mouth-watering sauce both before and after cooking. Featuring chopped or pulled pork, Memphis-style barbecue sandwiches are simple yet delicious creations that only require buns, cole slaw, and flavorful sauce.

Don’t mess with Texas! Texas barbecue is so serious that the style has four unique sub-styles: East Texas, Central Texas, West Texas, and South Texas. Common Texas barbecue meals include beef, ribs, and sausage that are flavored with mesquite and topped with a thick, tomato-based sauce.

Finally, Kansas City barbecue places an emphasis on a wide range of meats—including beef, pork, and lamb—that are traditionally smoked for long periods of time. But Kansas City barbecue is perhaps best known for its thick sauce that is usually served on the side. Incorporating vinegar as well as spicy and sweet flavors, Kansas City barbecue sauce also sometimes includes molasses that makes it extra thick and tasty.

 

Equipment and Accessories are Key

 

bbq equipment

 

You won’t get far as a caterer without the proper equipment. Outdoor grills are the traditional choice, but they may not provide enough cooking surface area. Something like a Mongolian BBQ range is much larger and ideal for Asian restaurants. Other cooking options include charbroilers, braising pans, rotisserie ovens, smokehouses / pig roasters, and smoker ovens.

Accessories are also necessary to ensure your equipment functions properly. Be sure to stock up on items like grill cleaners and scrapers. Turners make it easy to flip burgers, while tongs enable you to grab nearly any type of food. Commercial meat tenderizers help improve food prep efficiency, and probe thermometers enable you to confirm the inside of your meat is an ideal temperature.

If you’re cooking food in a commercial kitchen rather than on-site, invest in quality storage & transport equipment. Items like insulated food carriers are especially important when traveling long distances to cater events because they can help ensure the quality of your food does not suffer during transportation. Food holding and warming equipment is ideal if you’re hosting a large event. Holding cabinets and drawer warmers keep food hot while it’s waiting to be served, and induction buffet tables provide an elegant way to keep food hot after it’s been served.

 

Commonly Catered Events

 

catered party

 

If you want to attract catering opportunities, it’s important to market yourself to the right clientele. This means identifying who is likely to have a party or event catered and letting them know your business can do the job. For starters, it’s not uncommon for school events and graduation parties to be catered. Appeal to the people who are involved in the planning of these events by advertising in school yearbooks and sponsoring school activities.

Other catering opportunities include tailgates before professional and college sporting events, weddings, business events, little league celebrations, and more. There’s no shortage of large events that need catering, so identify a few local options and appeal to the people in charge.

 

Marketing

 

catering marketing

 

Utilize social media as well as your restaurant to inform the public that you’re now offering catering services. It takes time for word to spread, so don’t expect business to boom right away. Stay patient and leverage whatever catering jobs you’re given by doing an A+ job. This will not only ensure repeat business down the line, but it can also convince people attending the party to use your restaurant for their own catering.

 

Delivering on Time

 

hangry

 

Nobody is less accepting of tardiness than hungry paying customers, so make sure that you always serve food on time. This idea becomes even more important as the crowd you’re catering for grows in size. You do not want to incur the wrath of 100+ hungry people. By getting on their bad sides, you run the risk of them badmouthing your business to their friends and family—who will then avoid your restaurant and catering business at all costs. So always deliver on time!

 

Catering barbecues isn’t easy, and it can certainly complicate a business plan. But if your restaurant has room to grow and you feel it’s up to the task, catering throughout the summer is a great way to bring in more business and attract new customers. Just make sure you have the proper menu and equipment before you start offering to cater events.

 

 

bbq catering finale

 

America’s Best Summer Food Festivals

summer food festival

 

As a heat wave sets record temperatures in the North East, we’re reminded that summer has nearly arrived. With only about a month until the summer solstice, it’s time for travelers and food enthusiasts to start planning their vacations. Food festivals are great options for people who crave fun, excitement, and delicious food. The following is a list that includes some of America’s favorite summer food festivals.

 

Taste of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois – July 5-9

 

taste of chicago

 

Touted as the nation’s premier outdoor food festival, Taste of Chicago is a 5-day spectacle that takes place at the famed Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. But the best part about the festival: entry is free! Many of Chicago’s top restaurants set up booths where they offer mouth-watering dishes. Some booths are of the pop-up variety and feature new restaurants each day. Since the Taste of Chicago’s inception in 1980, the festival has grown significantly and attracted over 1-million festival-goers to last year’s summer celebration. Featuring some of the most popular stars in music, the “Taste” has acts like Alessia Cara, Ben Harper, and Passion Pit scheduled for this year. Lesser-known local performers are also on the bill. For festival-goers who are willing to pay for a more premium experience, sit-down three-course meals prepared by renowned chefs are also available. The Kitchen with Mariano’s gives attendees the opportunity to watch local and celebrity chefs show off their skills and offer cooking tips.

 

Austin Ice Cream Festival – Austin, TX – August 12

 

austin ice cream festival

 

This one-day ice cream extravaganza provides Texans with a much-needed respite from the summer heat. A place where adults, kids, and even dogs are encouraged to indulge in ice cream, the Austin Ice Cream Festival features contests that are fun to watch and even more fun to participate in. A popsicle stick sculpture contest lets attendees flex their creative muscles and build something completely unique. Sculptures can be built at home or on site. Like to make ice cream at home? Submit your most delicious homemade creation and let the festivals’ esteemed judges decide if it stands above the competition.  But this festival’s main event is the ice cream eating contest. Once won by legendary competitive eater and reigning Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Champion Joey Chestnut, the contest requires participants to eat a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream. Whoever finishes first wins!

 

Gilroy Garlic Festival – Gilroy, CA – July 28-30

 

great garlic cook off

 

Founded in 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival takes place in Gilroy, California—the garlic capital of the world. Delicious foods like shrimp, calamari, steak, sausage, pasta, mushrooms, bread, and fries are all available with fresh garlic flavoring. The Great Garlic Cook-Off selects the most delicious-sounding garlic-based recipes from some of the best amateur chefs in the United States and Canada. After each recipe is prepared by the finalists, the meals are tasted by celebrity judges. The contestant with the best dish takes home a cool $5,000! In addition to awarding cooking skills, the festival also holds eaters in high esteem. For the first time ever, the festival will feature The Great Gilroy Garlic Eating Contest. Ten garlic-loving contestants will attempt to eat as many garlic cloves as they can stomach in a one-minute span—all with Guinness World Records in attendance to verify any new world record. The winner receives VIP tickets to the 2018 Garlic Festival, bragging rights, and possible immortality in the Guinness Book of World Records. Other entertainment includes live music, arts & crafts, and the Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant—open to local women between the ages of 18-24.

 

Maine Lobster Festival – Rockland, ME – August 2-6

 

maine lobster festival

 

Celebrating its 70th birthday this year, the Maine Lobster Festival was founded in 1947 and has been a New England tradition ever since. Operated by local volunteers, the nationally renowned food festival is a non-profit event that donates its proceeds to local programs and charities. Receiving international attention from media outlets, the Maine Lobster Festival has also been featured on the Food Network and other programs. The site of the festival is right along the Penobscot Bay, which provides beautiful scenery by which to consume massive amounts of clams, shrimp, mussels, and most of all—lobster! An amateur chef contest awards a total of $525 to its winners and is judged by a panel that weighs creativity, suitability of seafood to the recipe, and simplicity. The contest’s only rule is each dish must contain seafood that’s native to Maine waters. Also featuring live music, the festival has attracted artists like Willie Nelson, Don Mclean, and Smashmouth. A Steins & Wines event is a relatively new addition to the Maine Lobster Festival and allows attendees to try a variety of beers, wines, and spirits—all made in Maine. But the most popular event is The Big Parade, which always draws the largest crowd and is a spectacle that’s not to be missed. 

 

National Buffalo Wing Festival – Buffalo, NY – September 2-3

 

national buffalo wing festival

 

Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, the National Buffalo Wing Festival is a perfect farewell to summer. 2017 marks the 16th year in the festival’s storied history. After the 5K Chicken Wing 5K Run debuted last year and attracted 500 chicken wing-loving runners, the race will make a much-anticipated return to the festival schedule. Another popular event is the Buffalo Ninja Warrior Challenge—an intense obstacle course that tests participants’ mind, body, and will. Each day of this weekend festival is accompanied by live music and mass consumption of chicken wings. In total, 2.4 million wings have been eaten at the festival throughout its 16-year history. The National Chicken Wing Festival also features pageants and cooking contests. And of course—no chicken wing celebration would be complete without a variety of competitive eating contests. The Triple Atomic Hot Wing Eating contest pits teams of 8 against each other to see who can consume the most wings that have been tossed in ridiculously hot sauce. But it’s every man for himself in the festival’s main event—the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship. With 12 minutes on the clock, each contestant needs to consume as many wings as possible. Famed eater Joey Chestnut is the contest’s three-time defending champ.

 

Georgia Peach Festival – Peach County, GA – June 3rd and June 10th

 

worlds largest peach cobbler

 

Although not technically taking place during summer, any Georgian will attest to the sweltering summer temperatures that accompany the arrival of June in the south. Taking place in Byron, GA on June 3rd and in Fort Valley, GA on June 10, the Georgia Peach Festival attracts upwards of 10,000 visitors. Celebrating the same delicious peaches that its state is known for, the festival features pageants, concerts, parades, and the World’s Largest Peach Cobbler—which measures 11 by 5 feet and is about eight inches deep. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own containers and take as much cobbler as they can handle.

 

These are just a few of the many great summer food festivals that are scheduled to take place across the United States during the next few months. Since each festival offers such a unique experience, there’s nothing wrong with attending multiple events. If you don’t see a festival close to where you live, just google your state and “summer food festivals.” There are sure to be at least a couple options.

 

summer food festival night