A festival of epicurean delights | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A festival of epicurean delights

Trisha Leonard, tleonard@tahoedailytribune.com

Trisha Leonard / Tahoe Daily TribuneHarrah's and Harveys Lake Tahoe banquet chef Rick Maricle shells crawfish Monday afternoon in the kitchen at Harveys in preparation for this weekend's South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival.

STATELINE, Nev. – Epicurian enthusiasts are invited to please their palates during this weekend’s South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival.

For the third year in a row, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe will host a series of events that includes wine tasting, food, desserts and dinners prepared by chefs from the company as well as guest chefs.

Harrah’s banquet chef Rick Maricle and cooks Jon Vasquez and Nancy Leon began to peel 160 pounds of crayfish from Tahoe Lobster Co. on Monday afternoon in the kitchen at Harveys. The crayfish will be used in a salad with fried green tomatoes and creole mustard.

“The festival is a tremendous amount of work, and preparation,” he said. “But by the time we get to Saturday, everybody is having a good time.”

In addition to preparing food for the event, Maricle also serves as a host for all the chefs traveling to the area for the festival, which includes making sure they have all the ingredients they need to make their dishes.

“He’s the driving force to make it a success,” Lauren Evison, Director of Food Operations, said of Maricle. “For all the work he has to do, he’s very calm.”

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This year’s epicurean expo will feature 14 food stations, 12 liquor stations and 12 wine stations, Evison said. In addition to the food and drinks, entertainment and prizes will be available for guests who want to take a break between bites. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.

During the expo, Tahoe-Douglas firefighters will compete against South Lake Tahoe firefighters in an eating contest. Firemen will attempt to devour a 5-pound sandwich and the winner will receive $500 toward a charity of his or her choice.

With two years under its belt, Evison said she hopes to see the festival develop into a locals’ event.

“We want a lot more local interest instead of people considering it to be a Harrah’s and Harveys VIP event,” Evison said. “We want more participation, but a lot of people are finding out about it two weeks before the event.”

Evison’s ideas for the future include bringing in food trucks, adding entertainment and children’s activities and inviting local fine-dining establishments to participate. It will take a lot more planning to incoporate those ideas, so Evison said she plans to gauge local response before moving forward. She also hopes to see the revenue grow so they can bring in more big names in the food industry.

“So far we’ve taken little, small steps,” she said. “We want to take a big one next year.”

“I’m excited about this year,” she said. “I have hopes for the new year to get more locals involved and plan right out of the gate and give more back to the community.”

For information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.ltfoodandwine.com.

Friday, Oct. 5

Around the World with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Hosted by master sommelier Jay James, vice president of Fine Wine, Southern Wine and Spirits, Nevada

5:30-6:30 p.m., $75

Harvey’s Lake View Lounge, 12th Floor Tallac Room

President’s Dinner

Features Chuck Wagner, founder of Caymus Vineyards and Wagner Family of Wine and Chef Mark Estee

7-9 p.m., $300

19 Kitchen • Bar

Down on the Bayou Dinner

Hosted by Harrah’s New Orleans Executive Chef Jared Tees, also the Food Network’s newest “Chopped” champion

7:30-9 p.m., $75

Harveys Convention Center

Light Night at Vex

Features Skinny Girl and Voli Light Vodkas

10 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5 for women, $10 for men. Call 775-586-6705 for booth and bottle service reservations

Vex Night Club

Saturday, Oct. 6

Beyond the Fork “An Affair of the Senses” Epicurean Expo

Cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, 14 food stations, 12 wine stations and 10 liquor stations will be featured.

2-5 p.m., $60 in advance, $70 at the door

Harrah’s Special Events Center

Sushi, Sashimi and Sake Tasting

Hosted by Luis de Santos, master sommelier at Southern Wine and Spirits, Nevada and Harrah’s Asian Speciality Chef Naquilo Williams.

6-7:30 p.m., $45

Gi Fu Loh

Whiskies of the World Tasting

Hosted by Dr. Tom Turner, master of whisky

8:30-9:30 p.m., $30


The Icing on the cake

Cupcake wine and vodka will be featured

10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., $10 for women, $20 for men. Call 775-586-6705 for booth and bottle service reservations.

Vex Night Club

Decadent Desserts and Drinks

Desserts prepared by Harrah’s Executive Pastry Chef Cathy Haynes will be paired with libations matched by master sommelier Jay James.

10:30-11:30 p.m., $45

The Summit

Sunday, Oct. 7

Harveys Champagne Brunch

Hosted by Chef Nathan Lyon, an American chef known for using fresh, seasonal ingredients who has appeared on a variety of television shows, including “The Next Food Network Star” and “A Lyon in the Kitchen.”

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., $50. Call 775-586-6777 for reservations.

19 Kitchen • Bar

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