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Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival to host biggest-ever celebration this April

People at a food festival

One of our favorite new foodie festivals is going bigger than ever this year, with 10,000 attendees expected over its five-day run. After staggering success in its inaugural year, the incredible Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is back for year two, showcasing celebrity chefs, incredible regional talent, and one of the best gastronomic experiences you’ll have all year.

Presented by GOYA Foods and the Hillsborough County commissioners, the celebrated festival is spread over the course of five days, Tuesday-Saturday April 9-13, as the immersive experience canvases all of Tampa, showering the city with food and wine. The entire week consists of five ticketed events, with Saturday’s Grand Tasting Experience on the waterfront serving as the biggest draw of the festival.

Tickets for all five events are available at tampabaywff.com, and with many of them expected to sell out, we recommend securing yours soon. See the full schedule of events below.

Try more than 40 local restaurants in one day

People at a food festival

As part of the all-inclusive Grand Tasting Experience on Saturday, April 13, guests will be able to enjoy unlimited samplings from more than 40 of Tampa Bay’s signature restaurants, while also taking advantage of complimentary cocktails and wine tastings throughout the grounds at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, courtesy of Breakthru Beverage. Featuring local and international bites, the afternoon extravaganza promises an unparalleled spread of delectable bites and invigorating drinks, courtesy of Tampa Bay’s premier dining establishments. Tickets are available here.

Plus, this year’s chefs battle is going bigger than ever, pitting last year’s champion chefs against new contenders for the crown in categories such as best tacos, fried chicken, pasta and more. Guests get to sample each and vote for their favorite. Get tickets here while supplies last, and get more details below.

The Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival features an impressive collection of celebrity chefs being featured throughout the event. Guest host Robert Irvine is leading the way, alongside celebrated guests such as Chef Brad Kilgore, named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine and a James Beard Award-nominee; Geoffrey Zakarian, a celebrated chef, restaurateur and television personality; Executive Chef Fernando Desa of GOYA Foods; and honorary chef host, Chef Sean Brasel of Meat Market.

These culinary talents will join forces with hometown chefs and masterminds from Tampa and the surrounding area to deliver an unforgettable gastronomic experience for ticketed guests. From a chef competition to guest appearances at local favorites, the lineup for the week is bringing a truly one-of-a-kind experience to the city.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is such a hit. The event is put on by CI Management, the team behind some of South Florida’s leading wine and food festivals and experiences, including the immensely popular South Beach Seafood Festival.

Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival events

People at a food festival

Experience Water StreetWednesday, April 10, 7 pm: A new attraction this year allows guests to select from one of several acclaimed Water Street restaurants, where four-course pairing dinners will take place at favorite dining destinations in the booming area, complete with celebrity chef collaborations to top it off. Experiences are available (until sold out) at favorites such as Boulon Brasserie, Predalina, Small Giant, and Rooster & The Till.

People at a food festival

Experience Hyde ParkThursday, April 11, 7 pm: Another fantastic dinner experience, guests can enjoy a showcase of the crème de la crème of culinary talent in Tampa’s buzzing Hyde Park area with multi-course pairing dinners. Participating restaurants include Bouzy, RO Hyde Park, Meat Market and Sur la Table.

A chef holding meat

Breaking Bread with HeroesFriday, April 12, 10 am: In partnership with the Robert Irvine Foundation, as part of celebrity Chef Robert Irvine’s participation in the Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival, Friday morning will see an all new invite-only event added to the line up, hosting 250 veterans to an incredible breakfast to honor and gather our nation’s heroes over a delicious meal as they sit down for an opportunity to talk, listen, and share their stories.

People at a festival

Irvine Spirit’s Chef ShowdownFriday, April 12, 7 pm: At this battle of the culinary minds, voters are the real winners, as 14 chefs will battle head-to-head in seven unique showdowns. Each will host their own “battle pavilion,” where guests will visit each battle, sample, and vote on their favorite of the two. Throughout the night, chefs from each battle will take the Publix Culinary Showdown Kitchen stage to put on a show in their live demos. Hosted at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

This year’s participating restaurants and competition lineup will include the reigning champions from last year (listed first) versus their new competitors:

  • Battle Burger: Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill vs Chef Jay Narvaez of Cru Cellars
  • Battle Seafood: Chef Manuel Arevalo of Rusty Pelican vs Chef Jon Walker of The Tides Seafood Market
  • Battle Fried Chicken: Chef Joe Dodd of King of the Coop vs Chef Cheyanne Misurelli of Sugar Wing
  • Battle Tacos: Chef Christopher Yadid Garcia of Tacos Las Californias vs Chef Dernier Buleje of The Dan at Hotel Flor
  • Battle Truffle: Chef Matthew Zappoli of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa vs Chef Paul Morrison of Ponte
  • Battle Sushi: Chef David Reyes of Haiku vs Chef Mike Morales of Sunda New Asian
  • Battle Pasta: Chef Ricardo Nava vs Chef Anthony Pellicone of DeVito’s Italian Specialties
People at a food festival

Grand Tasting Saturday, April 13, 1 pm: Taking over the full festival grounds at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, guests will come together to enjoy flavor-packed bites from dozens of Tampa Bay’s leading restaurants. In addition, guests will find an endless array of cocktail and wine pavilions that will celebrate fantastic varietals, along with interactive activations from leading national brands and the all-new Publix Culinary Showcase Kitchen Demo stage. With hundreds of food and drink items to be savored, the Grand Tasting will be a great day at one of Tampa’s favorite parks.

Learn more about the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival and get tickets here.

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