We have some news that will most likely excite you. Tickets for Atlantic City’s 5th Annual Food And Wine Festival JUST went on sale! This year’s event will take place from Thursday, July 25th to Sunday July 28th and will feature top culinary personalities Robert Irvine, The Neelys and Rocco Dispirito.
Some of your fav events will be back again in 2013. The Grand Market will once again be held in the Grand Ballroom at Bally’s Atlantic City from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th. The Grand Market is like the central hub of ACF&W and is pretty much the mecca of food and drink. Or heaven. Both are fitting. The Grand Market not only gives you cooking demos from awesome chefs, but all the food, wine, beer and liquor you’ve ever wanted to taste. Totally inspirational. And we’re serious. Come hungry.
Blues, Brews & BBQ is also coming back for a second go-around at House Of Blues at Showboat Atlantic City from 12:00 p.m.to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27th. BBQ vendors will invade HOB. And your tum tums will be full and happy with lots of chicken, brisket, ribs and BEER. Nomful.
Each celeb chef will also be hosting a Chef’s In Kitchen session (Robert Irvine has two at Arturo’s at Bally’s) and The Neelys and Robert Irvine will also take part in a Chef’s On Stage at The Concert Venue at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. Additionally, there will be a beach soiree on Caesars Atlantic City beach this year with gourmet apps and drinks and all of our famous friends in attendance, a Gospel Brunch and Island Luau with The Neelys and a session of Your Morning Cup with Robert Irvine on Sunday, July 28th. Woo. We are getting winded just explaining all of this.
One more thing, fear not winos and alckies, we gotcha covered. Just look.
Now we have some other news that will definitely excite you. We interviewed Robert Irvine earlier this week! Woot! Check it out, below.
TAC: We’re so happy to have you back with us for this year’s Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival! What’s your favorite part about this weekend we have here in July?
Robert Irvine: I grew up in Atlantic City as it were, so for me to come back and spend a lot of time in the casinos that I love and see old friends and get to meet new ones, I really have a fun time there because I think that the AC Food And Wine has become one of the top Food And Wine festivals around. You’ve got New York, Atlantic City and Miami which are stellar. It’s just good to be there.
TAC: Yes it is, Robert Irvine. Yes it is. You are doing two Chef’s In Kitchens with us this year. What can fans expect from this?
Robert Irvine: You never know what to expect when the Irvine’s around! It’s really funny to me because it’s like the show Restaurant Impossible. Dining with me, you never know what happens until it actually happens because the people and the guests are the interactive part of that dinner. So the food will be great, that’s a given. But we never know what antics we’ll get up to. Last year, we had such a great time that we ran out of wine. It was just such a fun time of laughter and food and getting to know people. I think one of the things that makes food interesting is the people you dine with; the company you go out with. You can get around mediocre food if you have good service and good friends with you. But it’s all about the people you’re with.
TAC: Going back to Restaurant Impossible for a bit, if you had to choose a number 1 lesson for new restaurant owners to take away from the show, what would it be?
Robert Irvine: There’s a couple that spring to mind. One of them is complacency and knowledge. If you’ve worked somewhere before, if you run a restaurant, you should understand the back of the house and the front of the house and understand what customers want. The second one is money management. Do you have enough money in the bank for a rainy day? People get into this restaurant business because they think it’s a cash cow. And it’s not. It’s like buying a boat. It’s the quickest way to lose money.
TAC: What about the viewers at home?
Robert Irvine: I think viewers at home get a lot of lessons such as how to manage your food budget, how to manage your menu planning and relationships. I think I’ve turned into the Dr. Phil of the Food Network now. I think you’ve got to plan your menus, you’ve got to plan what you do with your money, especially in these economic times. I know it’s tough for everybody. Some of the lessons learned in the show are really good for homes. Especially the relationship stuff.
TAC: Do you have a favorite episode of the show or is there one that sticks out most in your mind for some reason?
Robert Irvine: The Main Dish in Alabama. Lynn Tverberg and her husband Ken. Just such a great couple. Their daughters both worked in the restaurant and they lost their parents five years ago when they started the restaurant. I thought that was such a sad statement. And then there was Stacey Poon-Kinney who was at The Trails in San Diego doing really well. A year after I was there she broke 1 million dollars. We’ve done 69 and I’ve lost seven. The success rate is awesome.
TAC: Absolutely! You uphold a tough persona on the show. What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
Robert Irvine: I’m a softie. I’m tough where I got things to do, absolutely. I’ve run casinos, I’ve run cruise ships, I was in the military. I think the soft spots are for the kids. I’m a big believer in Make A Wish, I do a lot of that. Kids and our wounded warriors and our military are my big soft spots. I’m a champion for the down trodden because I truly believe that my job in television is to help other people. I wouldn’t have said this two or three years ago, but I spend my life doing that now. I just believe that God gives us all a gift and that it’s gotta be used in the right way.
TAC: You’ve cooked for many high profile events including Academy Awards after parties and events at The White House. Who is the most intimidating person you ever cooked for and how did you make sure you would turn out a successful meal?
Robert Irvine: You can’t be intimidated by anybody because to me, the result of cooking is a natural thing. I’m my own worst critic. When I cook, it could have always been better. Everyone else is happy, I am not. I’m my worst A-type personality. I worry before I go in to do a show because I don’t know them. If anybody tells you that they don’t worry before doing live shows or a TV show, they’re full of crap because you never know what’s going to happen. You have to deal with situations from a guy getting in your face wanting to fight you to a little baby that’s whatever. But about four weeks ago, I left a show early because I had to go do a charity dinner in Perona Farms, NJ. It was $1,000 a plate for charity. There were 30 top chefs from the culinary world and I was nervous to mess my dish up there because they were all amazing chefs. I was intimidated in a way to make sure that my dishes were as good as theirs.
TAC: Well you are a fan favorite for many people out there. What chefs are you a fan of?
Robert Irvine: I’m a big fan of Michel Richard who is down in D.C., one of my favorite all-time chefs. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s like a mentor to me. I was at an event recently and he was there, and that was the highlight of the whole event for me. He’s such a great guy.
TAC: And the famous last meal question. What would yours be?
Robert Irvine: Roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
TAC: We so didn’t expect you to say that! What’s your secret in regards to enjoying food and still keeping in such great shape?
Robert Irvine: Workout six days a week. Light weights, lots of reps and just enjoy life.
Words to live by. Heed it, folks. And get your tickets to the 2013 Atlantic City Food And Wine Festival here! You want want to miss it!