Friday — The Seeing Red Wine Festival’s Gulf Coast to Table dinner was a culinary night under the stars by Susan Benton
On a cool and balmy fall Seaside evening, great chefs, wine makers, purveyors and guests came together to celebrate fine food and drink at the 27th annual Seeing Red Wine Festival.
The Gulf Coast to Table dinner was held on the Lyceum Lawn under the stars showcasing a warm and elegant décor providing a welcoming environment created by Fisher’s Flowers. Guests were taken to their tables, seated and greeted with a glass of champagne before dinner.
An interactive kitchen was created and an incredible stage set, giving the wine makers and chefs the opportunity to engage diners in the all-encompassing sensory experience.
Chef Ryan Smith of Atlanta’s Staplehouse Restaurant was the featured guest chef for Friday evening’s soirée. His background includes working with some of Atlanta’s most prominent restaurants such as Bacchanalia, Canoe, Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch, and Empire State South. Smith was joined by award-winning Seaside restaurateur, Chef Jim Shirley, for the exciting, new-to-Seaside event.
Smith and Shirley teamed up to feature locally sourced offerings, specifically prepared to complement the finely curated wines from Kokomo Winery and the Seaside Wine Project for each plating. Erik Miller educated patrons on the different varietals as they sipped and swirled.
The dinner service began with an amuse bouche of potato dauphine topped with North Carolina caviar and moved to the first course of raw snapper with celtuce and daylily capers. The second course was the delicate pumpkin topped with wild mushrooms and regional pecans. Chef Smith outdid himself on the cobia with Staplehouse fish sauce served with bitter greens, the fourth course presented. Olive & Sinclair, the chocolatier from Nashville, was showcased in the final dessert course and served with peanut miso and sponge cake.
“Since its inception, the Seeing Red Wine Festival has had a proven track record for providing the utmost in quality wines within the beautiful landscape of Seaside’s intimacy and charm,” said Kevin Boyle, Seaside events director. “We continually pursue our goal of staying true to the original spirit of the festival.”
Recognized as one of the “Top 10 Can’t-Miss Fall Wine Festivals” by Fodor’s Travel, the Seeing Red Festival draws attendees from around the world. The Gulf Coast To Table Dinner was the perfect way to kick off the wine and culinary event.
Susan Benton is a food and travel writer with published articles, recipes, and photography in many local, regional and national publications. Her website is 30AEATS.com where she writes about the secrets of Gulf Coast food.