Detect a distinct aroma in the air? The fifteenth annual Delray Beach Garlic Fest will hit Atlantic Avenue from February 7-9, bringing with it live entertainment, a heated chef competition and fabulous garlic-based bites, all for the love of the clove.
The festival kicks off Friday night with a VIP dinner hosted by Chefs Michael Giletto of Bayonne Golf Club, Alan Lake and Bruce Feingold of Dada. Held at the venue’s Garlic Chef Stadium from 6-8 p.m., the Garlic-Infused Local Sustainable Cuisine Dining Experience is a farm-to-table dinner infused with the festival’s star ingredient.
All three chefs were former winners of the festival’s cooking battle; Feingold is 2013’s reigning champion and will defend his title of Garlic Chef on February 8 when the first round of the competition begins at 11 a.m. The concept is simple, but execution proves difficult: In true Iron Chef fashion, contestants are presented with a basket of ingredients, of which one ingredient they have no prior knowledge, and are given an hour to prepare and cook a salad, an appetizer and an entrée. Each dish goes before a panel of judges, who choose their favorite of each round. The vaunted title of Garlic Chef, along with a check for a cool grand, is bestowed during the finals February 9.
- Round one at 11 a.m. pits Executive Chef Todd Webster of the Icebox Café in Miami Beach against AJ Benacquisto, sous chef of Delray Beach’s 32 East.
- Lake, the Garlic Chef champion from 2001-2003 and author of the upcoming book The Garlic Manifesto, will follow the round with a cooking demonstration from 1:30-2:30 p.m..
- Round two kicks off at 3 p.m. with Michael Vogler, executive chef of Hollywood’s Latitudes, taking on Jose Pinot, executive chef of The Local House in Miami Beach.
- The semifinals pick up February 9 at 11:30 a.m., when the round one and two winners battle each other. From 2-3 p.m., The Ancient Olive will lead a demonstration utilizing premium olive oils. The cooking finals will come to a head at 3:30 p.m., when Feingold looks to defend his crown against the 2014 upstart.
Throughout the day, Gourmet Alley and the Cloves and Vine Wine Garden will serve up a plethora of garlic-heavy bites. Expect to see fan favorites like flaming garlic shrimp scampi, the garlic crab cake platter and garlic ice cream as well as some specialty dishes like garlic curry chicken kabob, garlic conch and gator, and grilled garlic Argentine barbecue.
For entertainment, Garlic Fest is pulling in some national headliners to jam alongside local and regional acts. The main stage headliners will see the likes of Collective Soul on February 7 at 8:30 p.m., with a headline set by Dispatch on February 8 at 9 p.m.
Kids can enroll in Garlic University, where they’ll learn how to grow their own sustainable garden and take home a potted garlic plant to tend for a future meal.
- Tickets cost $10 at the gate before 6 p.m. on February 7 and 8 and are $20 after 6 p.m. Tickets cost $10 all day February 9.
- Proceeds of Garlic Fest benefit local education and youth art nonprofits. To date, more than $430,000 has been contributed to local beneficiaries.
- To order tickets online and for parking information, visit dbgarlicfest.com.