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CRAVE Arizona is Perfectly Balanced Gluttony

CRAVE Arizona is Perfectly Balanced Gluttony

Celebrity chefs. Blind wine tasting contests. Food samples from dozens of Valley restaurants. Only two weeks after Scottsdale's Dine Out With the Chefs event, culinary afficianados from across the Valley loosened their belts for another huge epicurean event: CRAVE Arizona, formerly known as Eats3. This year's event was a relaxed, outdoor affair. It seemed to strike the perfect balance in attendance, with enough of a crowd to make everyone feel sociable without being elbow-to-elbow. 

Four Seasons dished up a tasty gourmet version of short ribs and mac n' cheese.
Four Seasons dished up a tasty gourmet version of short ribs and mac n' cheese.

Crudo Cafe, which opened about a month ago in Scottsdale's Steven Paul Salon, was one of the few booths offering a non-cevich raw fish option. One passing guest took a mouthful and declared chef Brandon Crouser's butterfish with cured lardo, tomatoes and arugula a "home run."

Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard was back in Arizona again, cooking with generous dollops of wine on the Viking Kitchen Stage. Yes, we've now seen her several times at Valley culinary events, but it was nice to be able to get up close and personal with her. Fans were able to talk with her after the demo or walk right up and have a one-on-one at her autograph signing table.

Though we adore Stephanie, there were two CRAVE events which eclipsed even her magnetic personality: a ceviche (yes, there it is again!) demo from Jon Shook and Vinnie Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles and a "Battle of the Sexes" blind wine tasting battle of men vs. women, hosted by Peter Kasperski. "In this event, I'm neutral," he quipped. "I'm like Jesus. I love everybody." Enough said.

Click through for more CRAVE images...

 

Cafe Carumba was in on that ceviche mind-meld.
Cafe Carumba was in on that ceviche mind-meld.
Chef Karen Kleinknecht's Scottsdale Culinary Institute students made her proud.
Chef Karen Kleinknecht's Scottsdale Culinary Institute students made her proud.
Chef Matt Carter offered his ceviche whimsically topped with popcorn!
Chef Matt Carter offered his ceviche whimsically topped with popcorn!
The Men, including Cowboy Ciao's Peter Kasperski (left) were certain they'd win the Battle of the Sexes.
The Men, including Cowboy Ciao's Peter Kasperski (left) were certain they'd win the Battle of the Sexes.
The Ladies (last year's winning team) struggle to hold on to their title.
The Ladies (last year's winning team) struggle to hold on to their title.
Chef Joshua Riesner of Atlas Bistro
Chef Joshua Riesner of Atlas Bistro
Chef Gio Osso of Estate House (right) whipped up fois gras balls that were to die for.
Chef Gio Osso of Estate House (right) whipped up fois gras balls that were to die for.
It was a sticky start for Julia Baker Confections, the one booth that didn't have an umbrella to shield their chocolate from the sun. Luckily, someone brought one over midway through the event.
It was a sticky start for Julia Baker Confections, the one booth that didn't have an umbrella to shield their chocolate from the sun. Luckily, someone brought one over midway through the event.
Finally, we'll leave you with this All-American Verrine (layered chocolate root beer cake with caramel cream cheese mousse) from Cowboy Ciao's pastry chef Country Velador. Delish!
Finally, we'll leave you with this All-American Verrine (layered chocolate root beer cake with caramel cream cheese mousse) from Cowboy Ciao's pastry chef Country Velador. Delish!

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