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The 27 Essential Food and Drink Events for Spring

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Where to eat, drink, and schmooze from now until June.

Andrew A/Flickr

Here now, Eater's Spring 2015 Food and Drink Events Preview. Below you will find events, conferences, and festivals from April to June that are focused on restaurants, chefs, food, and/or beverages.

For meat lovers, it's a busy season of protein-filled events. In April, the Austin Food + Wine festival promises plates of barbecue cooked up by celebrity chefs. In May, Madison, Wisconsin will host its first-ever barbecue festival (Madison Magazine BBQ Festival) where 24 professional barbecue competitors will cook pounds of pork, chicken, ribs, and more. June brings not one, but two meat-centric events, including the pork-heavy Grand Cochon and the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in NYC.

Also on deck are large festivals where swathes of celebrity chefs will be in attendance. Big names like Emeril Lagasse will appear at Vegas Uncork'd (in April), and others such as Hugh Acheson and Marcus Samuelsson will fly out to Colorado for three days of eating, drinking, and partying in the mountains at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic (in June). Check out Eater's Spring Events preview below — and feel free to add your picks in the comments.


Photo: Facebook

Food Book Fair
When: April 10 – April 12, 2015
Where: Brooklyn, NY
The Food Book Fair returns to Brooklyn for its fourth year, promising an action-packed weekend of literary events. Not only will there be a pop-up bookstore from Kitchen Arts & Letters, but attendees will have the chance to attend events like a food-styling competition, cooking demos, and numerous cocktail-centric events. The FBF will also host a number of panels covering topics like Chinese food in America, how to make a book, vegetable-forward cooking, and more. A number of chefs and journalists are participating this year, including April Bloomfield, Joanne Chang (of Boston's Flour Bakery), New York Times writer Martha Rose Shulman, and Brooklyn restaurateur Andrew Tarlow.

Photo: Facebook

When: April 10 – 12; April 17 – 19, 2015
Where: Indio, CA
Beyond the jam-packed musical lineup slated to play over the course of two weekends, Coachella also has a ton to offer in the way of food. This year, there will be multiple food trucks including Kogi BBQ, coffee from Verve Coffee, and fare from restaurants like Eggslut, Spicy Pie and many, many more. For those who want a slightly fancier meal, chefs Roy Choi (POT), Kris Morningstar (Terrine), and Phillip Lee (Scratch Bar) will offer $50 tasting menus in the VIP section.

Photo: Official site

Vegas Uncork'd
When: April 23 – April 26, 2015
Where: Las Vegas, NV
Vegas Uncork'd will take over Aria, the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and the MGM Grand in April with some massive gastronomic events, including a seafood extravaganza with Emeril Lagasse, a lunch by various chefs from Wolfgang Puck's empire, and an "In Hell's Kitchen Dinner" with Gordon Ramsay. Also on-tap: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will be on-hand to conduct a brunch demo and Jean-Georges is cooking up a four-course dinner centered around beef.

Photo: Facebook

Austin Food + Wine Festival
When: April 24 – April 26, 2015
Where: Austin, TX

Those looking to mingle with celebrity chefs should flock to the Austin Food + Wine Festival. This year's lineup includes chefs Hugh Acheson, Tim Love, Richard Blais, Antonia Lofaso, Jenn Louis, Jamie Bissonnette, and the city's very own Paul Qui. Notable television personalities like Gail Simmons and Andrew Zimmern will also be attendance, alongside numerous wine experts. Beyond the grand tasting, there will be demos, panels, book signings, and a massive fire pit where chefs will serve up plenty of barbecue.

Also in April:

  • Pebble Beach Food & Wine: This West Coast event returns for its eighth year, once again bringing together hundreds of wineries and a slew of big-name chefs for four days of drinking and eating. The all-star chef lineup includes the likes of Dominique Crenn, Neal Fraser, Nick Elmi, Hugh Acheson, Anita Lo, Floyd Cardoz, Stephanie Izard, Matthew Accarrino, Seamus Mullen, Kevin Nashan, John Tesar, and more. (April 9 – April 12)
  • Great Vegas Festival of Beer: This year's Great Vegas Festival of Beer will feature more than 300 beers from over 100 breweries when the event hits Downtown Vegas in April. The event will also erect a gastropub featuring local chefs, local beers, and a menu of beer-infused foods. The festival also includes live music and demos from industry professionals and certified cicerones. (April 11)
  • Growing the Next Generation: Edible Schoolyard NYC's third-annual spring benefit will be held on Wall Street this year. Co-chaired by model Karlie Kloss and curated by chef David Chang (Momofuku), the dinner will bring together 30 chefs to cook a four-course dinner for individual tables. Chefs include Ignacio Mattos (Estela), Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster Harlem), Alex Stupak (Empellón), Einat Admony (Balaboosta), Nick Anderer (Marta), and many more. (April 13)
  • Emporiyum: Pop-up food market Emporiyum will set up shop at Baltimore's Thames Street Wharf in late April, featuring stands by some of the Mid-Atlantic's most celebrated food purveyors. Vendors include chef Spike Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen, Shake Shack, fancy marshmallow maker Sweet Lydia's, fruit ketchup company Chup's, and much, much more. (April 18 & 19)
  • Cultivate Festival: Chipotle's Cultivate Festival brings together a lineup of hip musicians and chefs. Alongside musical performances, there will be chef demos from the likes of Chopped judge Amanda Freitag and Top Chef star Richard Blais. Attendees will also have the chance to explore the Tasting Hall, which will serve beers from Four Peaks, Grand Canyon Brewing Company, and more. The festivities kick off in Phoenix, Arizona before heading to Kansas City and Minneapolis later in the year. (April 18)
  • Eat Drink RI: In celebration of the state's growing and thriving food scene, a lineup of more than 80 chefs, bartenders, farmers, and producers will gather in Providence for the fourth-annual Eat Drink RI festival. The four-day event includes a food truck rally featuring a live band playing swing music, a grand tasting with drinks from local companies like Narragansett Brewing Company, and a multi-course dinner benefitting AIDS Project RI. (April 30 – May 3)


Mario Batali and Questlove at the 2015 Awards Eater Chicago

Photo: Facebook

James Beard Foundation Awards
When: May 4, 2015
Where: Chicago, IL
America's food world luminaries will congregate in Chicago for this year's James Beard Foundation Awards. (In previous years, the awards ceremony has been held in New York City.) Restaurants and chefs will be honored in categories like Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Chef, and after the medals are handed out, the event itself includes a post-ceremony Gala Reception where chefs like Dave Beran (Next), Nancy Silverton (Mozza), and Daniel Patterson (Choi) will cook. Expect plenty of after-parties to ensue.

Photo: Facebook

Harlem EatUp!
When: May 14 – May 17, 2015
Where: New York City
Founded by chef Marcus Samuelsson and supported by former president Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the four-day festival is designed to celebrate NYC's vibrant Harlem neighborhood. The festival promises dinners cooked by local Harlem chefs, who will teamed up with national chefs "with personal ties to Harlem," including Carla Hall, Sean Brock, Paul Qui, and Ludo Lefebvre. Other activities include talks, a yoga class, live gospel music, and tasting tents.

Photo: Facebook

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
When: May 28 – May 31, 2015
Where: Atlanta, GA
This year's Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is chock full with amazing dinners like the annual Pig Out: Market Style, hosted by chef Linton Hopkins and Anne Quatrano at their anticipated Ponce City Market. Cassidee Dabney, the chef at Tennessee's famed Blackberry Farm, is also heading to Georgia to cook a multi-course meal that will honor the South's "prized farmers." The festival is rife with classes, too. Topics covered include cheese dip, bugs and chocolate, masa, the wines of Portugal, and more.

Also in May:

  • Charleston Insiders' Weekend: The first-ever Charleston Insiders' Weekend will feature events hosted by staffers from Coastal Living, Departures, Food & Wine, Southern Living, and Travel + Leisure, including a series of dinners pairing chefs like Mike Lata and Jeremiah Bacon with editors from the magazines. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend a lowcountry boil and a pig roast, and drink beers from local craft brewers. (May 1 – May 3)
  • Terroir Symposium: Francis Lam, Sang Yoon, Dominique Crenn, Gavin Kaysen, and Will Beckett are headed to Toronto in May for the ninth-annual Terroir Symposium. This year's symposium will explore the topic of "pioneering change," celebrating individuals who craft the way the world eats. Public speaker Max Valiquette and Norwegian sea urchin fisherman Roderick Sloan will host. (May 10 – 13)
  • Madison Magazine BBQ Festival: Twenty-four professional barbecue competitors will descend upon Madison for the city's first BBQ festival. Vegetarians may want to steer clear of the two-day event, during which pounds of chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket will be served. The festival also includes a bicycle race, an amateur BBQ competition, and a merchandise market. (May 16 & 17)
  • Taste of Paris: This year's festival features 14 chefs who will cook in a pop-up restaurant set up at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. The lineup includes a string of French heavy-hitters like Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon, and Guy Savoy, who will all be on-hand to serve up tastings of their dishes. (May 21 – 25)
  • Sweetlife Festival: The Sweetlife Music + Food Festival, produced by the salad chainlet Sweetgreen, returns to Columbia, MD with a lineup that includes Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Charlie XCX, Tove Lo, and more. The two-day festival also features a serious food component. While this year's chef lineup has not been released yet, in years past José Andrés, Erik Bruner-Yang, and Spike Gjerde were among the vendors. (May 30 & May 31)


Photo: Facebook

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
When: June 13 & 14, 2015
Where: New York City
Pitmasters from across America are descending upon New York for a weekend of barbecue, music, seminars, and booze. Chefs/pitbosses Billy Durney, Tim Love, Wayne Mueller, Chris Lilly, Jimmy Hagood, and more will be serving up plates of barbecue while a slew of musicians perform live in Madison Square Park.

Photo: Facebook

Food & Wine Classic
When: June 19 – June 21, 2015
Where: Aspen, CO
As was the case in years past, attendees at the Food & Wine in Aspen can expect a line-up packed with megastars. Celebrity chefs and Top Chef cast members like Hugh Acheson (Empire State South, Atlanta), Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster Harlem, NYC), Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy, San Diego), and Kristin Kish will all be in attendance. So will chef Tim Love, restaurateur Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group), Food Network staple Tyler Florence, Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern, and pastry chef Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC). The three-day event includes a "celebrity chef" 5k charity run, panel discussions, wine seminars, cooking demos, tasting events, and numerous parties.

Photo: Facebook

Fancy Food Show
When: June 28 – June 30, 2015
Where: New York City
The Fancy Food Show heads back to the East Coast for its annual summer edition, featuring nearly 2,400 food and drink exhibitors from more than 50 countries and regions. There will be more than 180,000 products on display, from cheeses to coffees to spices. In addition to the exhibitors, the event also includes seminars, showcases, and more.

Also in June:

  • Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival: The ninth-annual Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival will feature food from more than 100 restaurants, including Bagatelle Los Angeles and STK Los Angeles. Events include chef demonstrations, a grand tasting, and VIP after parties. (June 4 – June 14; July 18)
  • SAVOR: This massive beer celebration — featuring more than 70 craft breweries from across America — returns to Washington, DC for another year. While this year's events list has not been released yet, attendees can expect beer competitions, tap takeovers, and collaborations with local restaurants. (June 5 & 6)
  • Kennebunkport Festival: More than 40 culinary events will hit Kennebunkport, Maine for its 11th-annual culinary festival. Chefs such as Anita Lo and Sam Talbot will be there, and events include a "Grand Tapas Party" where 25 chefs and wineries will offer samples along the Kennebunk River. (June 7 – June 13)
  • Taste of London: The English capital will play host to nearly 55,000 attendees during the Taste of London. More than 200 exhibitors are confirmed for this year's festival, including a range of distilleries, artisan bakeries, wineries, chocolate companies, and more. Chefs in attendance include Vivek Singh (Cinnamon Kitchen), Andrew Ward (Tredwell's), and Isaac McHale (The Clove Club). (June 17 – June 21)
  • Grand Cochon: Traveling pork orgy Cochon 555 has wound its way around America to crown the Princes and Princesses of Pork, who will all face off on June 20 at the Grand Cochon in Aspen. Brace for an onslaught of piggy dishes. (June 20)
  • La Nuit en Rosé: The festival dedicated exclusively to rosé and Champagne returns for a second year. Things kicked off in Miami in February, and now the event heads to New York City. There will be plenty of swanky rosé wines on hand, and events will take place on a yacht. (June 25 – June 27)

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