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Saturday April 19th 2014

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Wine and Dine for WSRE

by Lilia Del Bosque Oakey Whitehouse

There is just something about food and wine that brings people together. For 25 years, WSRE’s Food and Wine Classics have been bringing great food to the community and this year, with three events, the annual fundraiser is bigger than ever.

“To celebrate 25 years of Food and Wine Classics, we decided to go all out this year and have three events rather than just one,” said Robin McArthur, manager of marketing and promotions for WSRE. “We have a whole weekend of events planned.”

The celebration starts on Friday with an opening night “Sunset Salute” Reception and walkabout tasting at the newly opened Red Fish, Blue Fish on Pensacola Beach. The event features tastings from 13 local chefs who will each prepare special dishes. Republic National Distributing, a partner for the event, will be providing a wine pairing for each dish.

“Each wine is handpicked based on the menu the chefs selected and they really pair those carefully,” said McArthur.

For those who have a love of wine, a representative from Republic National Distributing will be available to share knowledge on the wines selected.

“They will have people on hand who offer more information on the wine, the process, and the winery it comes from,” McArthur said. “You get to sample and learn about a lot of really different good wines.”

On Saturday, WSRE will hold a VIP dinner and dance featuring former White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach. Mesnier and four local, award winning chefs will be preparing a one-of-a-kind four-course meal for this exclusive event. The dinner will be carefully paired with a selection premium wines and music will be provided by the Tip Tops. Those interested in meeting Mesnier can visit him at the opening reception on Friday night where he will be signing cookbooks.

The celebration will close on Sunday with a “Biscuits n’ Bubbly” Brunch at the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach. Brunch will be prepared by celebrity chef Cody Carroll. Carroll is the chef and owner of Hot Trails in New Roads, La. and is lauded as the “King of Louisiana Seafood.” A fast-rising star in the culinary world, Carroll won this year’s Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, an annual New Orleans competition, beating well-known chefs from New Orleans.

But the Food and Wine Classic is about more than good food and wine. The event helps WSRE provide educational television and services for the community.

“This event helps us provide high end, high quality television that helps people explore and learn and grow,” McArthur said. “From age two to age 92, we have something for everyone.”
WSRE’s impact reaches beyond the television screen, especially concerning early childhood education.

“We are heavily focused in preparing parents, teachers, and caregivers to get children ready to learn,” said McArthur. “It’s our mission to help support an educated community and help provide the tools they need to further their education, learning, and to just grow. It benefits everybody in the end.”

The event also promises to be an educational experience by exposing event-goers to new foods and wines.

As McArthur said, “If you really like food and like to try new things, this will be your cup of tea.”

Tickets are available for all events and seating is limited for the VIP Dinner and Dance and for “Biscuits n’ Bubbly.”

25th ANNUAL WSRE WINE AND FOOD CLASSIC
OPENING NIGHT ‘SUNSET SALUTE’ AND WALKABOUT TASTING
WHEN: 5-8 p.m. Friday, October 18
WHERE: Red Fish Blue Fish, 5B Via de Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach
COST: $50

VIP DINNER AND DANCE
WHEN: 6:30-10 p.m. Saturday, October 19
WHERE: Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, 12 Via de Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach
COST: $150

BISCUITS N’ BUBBLY
WHEN: 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Sunday, October 20
WHERE: Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, 14 Via de Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach
COST: $75

DETAILS: wsre.org/wineandfood