Food and Wine Festival supports NCC culinary scholarships
Emeril Lagasse, New Orleans celebrity chef and restauranteur, will be the headliner at the eighth annual Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival at the Sands Event Center in South Bethlehem, June 2-4. The owner of three restaurants at Sands Bethlehem, Lagasse will kick off the event on Friday, June 2 at 2 p.m. with a demonstration of his world-renowned culinary skill.
The chef will also announce the names of the six students from Northampton Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Management program who have won the highly competitive, all-expense-paid externships to train in Lagasse’s New Orleans kitchens.
Hosted by Northampton Community College and Sands Bethlehem, in partnership with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the festival offers a full weekend of food and wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and chef competitions. Blues and rock music will be provided by the Craig Thatcher Band.
The Grand Tasting will be held on June 3 and 4, from noon until 4 p.m., with food being provided by some of the Lehigh Valley’s most prestigious restaurants, and a selection of fine wines available from around the world. A special room for sampling Champagne and other spirits also will be available, along with a cigar bar where premium cigars can be purchased.
To date, 35 restaurants have signed up to participate in the festival, including Melt, The Dime, Buddy V’s Ristorante, The Melting Pot. The Twisted Olive, Yanni’s Taverna and all of Chef Lagasse’s Sands restaurants.
The Food & Wine Festival began in 2010 to provide hands-on experience for students of Northampton Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Management Program, and to raise funds for the NCC Foundation, which provides scholarships to students from throughout the region.
From a one-day outdoor fundraiser under a tent its first year, the festival has become the largest of its kind in the region, according to co-chairman Mike Molowski, speaking at a recent news conference to announce highlights of the 2017 event. He said an estimated 5,000 food and wine enthusiasts are expected to attend this year.
“It’s incredible that we have over 35 restaurants involved, and over 100 volunteers who make it happen, but most importantly, the fact that this Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival has raised over $1.5 million since its inception.”
NCC President Dr. Mark Erickson, also speaking at the news conference, thanked the 60 some sponsors who have helped raise the $250,000 this year for scholarships that he said “are transforming the lives of students.”
There are separate tickets for the Emeril Lagasse cooking demonstration and for each of the two days of the Grand Tasting. All three can be purchased at the Sands Event Center box office, or online at lehighvalleyfoodandwine.com.