ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The inaugural St. Augustine Food and Wine Festival will showcase culinary arts, beverages and culture in the Nation’s Oldest City this weekend.
The event will host celebrity chefs, such as Maneet Chauhan, as well as winemakers, local chefs, artisans and have plenty of local craft spirits/beers.
The festival kicks off Thursday night with the World Gold Hall of Fame Winemaker’s Dinner.
“The most important part about food is not forgetting where you’ve come from and celebrating where you have arrived at,” Chauhan said. “And I think that is what the cuisine of St. Augustine is -- it is so deeply entrenched in, in history. It’s got, you know, the global influences to it, and that’s exactly how I cook.”
Chauhan is an Indian American chef and television personality who has been an executive chef of several notable restaurants in major cities and has been featured as a judge on the Food Network’s series, Chopped.
Chauhan’s creative take on Indian food put her on a global stage, a platform she’s now using to help India deal with the deadly COVID crisis.
“I mean what’s happening in India right now is devastating. It is. It just breaks all of our hearts,” she said. “I’ve grown up in India, I’ve spent half my life in India. I have family over there. I have friends over there. So, this is very, very close to home.”
Chauhan was teaming up with celebrity chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen to help using funds she helped raise in the U.S. to help health care heroes in India.
“Providing meals to frontline workers in hospital in Delhi and about and Mumbai, and I have been in touch with my friends who are doctors trying to get contacts, trying to do what we can,” Chauhan said.
Chauhan will be spicing up the St. Augustine festival with some native spices with the masalas of Mumbai.
“The fun about wine and food pairing is to accentuate the flavors,” Chauhan said. “I always tell people that if you have any discussion over food and wine, there will be no conflicts in the world, because food and wine is something that brings the world together and that’s what I’m so excited about being here in St. Augustine, for the Food and Wine Festival because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about getting people together.”
Chauhan has a pretty unconventional approach to her pairings. She told News4Jax she loves pairing her food with Malbecs.
“One of my favorite pairings is I make a coconut almost like a Bouillabaisse, right, which has got Indian spices, it’s got garam masala which is a blend of Indian spices, and it’s a seafood dish, and I always recommend pairing it with a, you know, beautiful, Malbec, or even a Rioja, only because it has the spices, even though the fish is delicate, but the spices have that body to carry it through.”
Chauhan said food and wine bring the world together and that’s why she’s excited to be here in the historic city.
For more information on the event visit, staugustinefoodandwinefestival.com.