Three-Day Culinary Celebration Proceeds to Support Local Industry
OCALA, Florida – The 2022 Ocala Food & Wine Festival presented by Lugano Diamonds is back for a second year at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Drawing more than 800 attendees in a single-day event in 2021, this year’s event is primed to be bigger and better with seven celebrity chefs leading three full days of extraordinary culinary celebration. The festival aims to bring a world-class culinary experience to Ocala while raising funds for charitable programs that support youth seeking careers in the culinary and hospitality industries in Marion County. Tickets for the event are now on sale at ocalafoodandwinefest.com.
Set to take place over the weekend of November 4, 5 and 6, the 21+ event kicks off on Friday night at 6pm with the Tasting Notes Welcome Party sponsored by Ethel M Chocolates® featuring live music by Country hitmakers and CMA Vocal Duo of the Year nominees LOCASH. Sip and sample offerings from more than 20 restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries. VIP ticket holders can stay for the exclusive 9pm Tacos and Tequila afterparty, featuring Maestro Dobel Tequila, with renowned LA-based taquero chef Esdras Ochoa.
Saturday’s Taste of Ocala mainstage event runs from 11am to 3pm in the WEC Grand Plaza. Chefs Lorena Garcia, Art Smith and Ocala’s own “Master of ‘Cue” pitmaster Rashad Jones will take to the stage to lead cooking demonstrations and facilitate an Iron-Chef-style mystery basket competition between two local Ocala chefs. Throughout the afternoon, celebrity chefs and other masters of the industry share all during the diverse educational breakout classes. Unique offerings cover everything from Buffalo Trace bourbon to vertical tastings, and petit gâteau to rustic Italian cooking.
Saturday evening, local restaurant in-house executive chefs will partner with a celebrity chef to create an exclusive, multi-course dinner experience that’s expertly paired with top-notch spirits, beer or wine. Experience a rare fusion of chefs while indulging at some of the best restaurants in Ocala, including local hotspots La Cuisine, Morevino and Mark’s Prime among others. Recent Food Network winner Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s BBQ will partner with WEC Director of Culinary Ryker Brown to offer an elevated take on barbecue. Sunday’s swanky sendoff is a 10am Champagne jazz brunch featuring Veuve Clicquot Champagne on the terrace at Stirrups Restaurant.
Proceeds from the Ocala Food & Wine Festival will benefit charitable foundations whose programs support youth development in the culinary and hospitality industries in Marion County and beyond, including the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation ProStart Program and the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, among others.
Director of Hospitality Operations, Justin Garner says of this year’s event: “We’re extremely proud to be putting on this event because it’s really helping us inspire and support the next generation of the culinary and hospitality professionals in Ocala. Bringing chefs of this caliber to the event and the community allows the next generation to see themselves in viable careers that can take them all over the world, and it’s vital to the future growth of our industry. We’re proud to be supporting youth in our area in a very real way and creating an enduring tradition for Ocala at the same time.”
Tickets for the event are now on sale. To purchase or to view the full event structure, lineup of chefs, entertainment and breakout class details, visit the dedicated event website: ocalafoodandwinefest.com. Stay connected by following the event’s Facebook page Ocala Food & Wine Festival at WEC .
About World Equestrian Center
World Equestrian Center features two premier equestrian and multidisciplinary venues in Ocala, Florida, and Wilmington, Ohio.
These exclusive facilities comprise state-of-the-art arenas, expansive stadiums, versatile outdoor space, sporting fields and well-appointed exposition centers. An abundance of lodging options and luxury accommodations are conveniently located on-site, along with shopping and dining throughout each property.
Dedicated to offering great sport and fun in a family-friendly environment, World Equestrian Center promises an unparalleled experience for exhibitors, spectators, vendors, sponsors and retailers built on three core values: Quality. Class. Distinction.
Learn more at wec.net