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August 14, 2014

Fourth Annual Caribbean Food & Wine Festival To Take Place In Turks & Caicos

By Neharika Padala

Grace Bay Resorts, in partnership with the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and The Wine Cellar, have announced the official schedule for the Fourth Annual Caribbean Food & Wine Festival. The weekend-long festival brings together international chefs and winemakers who partner with local chefs to create a truly memorable, and always sold-out, event focused on the local food and flavors of the island.

This year the event takes place from November 6 through November 8, 2014, and welcomes all-star chefs from around the world, including Leah Cohen, David Lefevre, Hans Peter Haider, as well as renowned vintners from Benzinger Family Winery, Cuvaison Estate, Weingut Salzl Seewinkelhof and Duck Pond Cellars & Desert Wind Winery. The not-for-profit event will raise funds for The Department of Youth Affairs and the islands’ ‘Little Chefs’ mentor program that supports and encourages young local chefs to pursue careers in hospitality, a vital industry of Turks and Caicos.

“We are thrilled to welcome guests to the fourth annual festival. This year’s prestigious group of winemakers and chefs reflects the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival’s increasing prominence on an international level, and is a testament to the Turks and Caicos Islands as an epicurean destination in their own right,” said Nikheel Advani, Co-Chair, Caribbean Food & Wine Festival.

The fourth annual event welcomes former “Top Chef” contestant Chef Leah Cohen of New York’s Pig & Khao.  Cohen’s first experience in a New York City kitchen was at Park Avenue Café, where she worked under renowned Chef David Burke.  After this, Cohen spent a year in Italy in a Slow Food program, learning the Italian style and the importance of fresh, local ingredients.  Cohen then took her travels to Sicily, where she spent a year at Michelin-rated La Madia learning the bold flavors of the Mediterranean. Upon returning to New York, she spent time refining her craft at Eleven Madison Park and Centro Vinoteca.  While at Centro Vinoteca, Cohen landed a spot on Bravo’s “Top Chef”, where she had a successful run and returned to Centro Vinoteca as Executive Chef. She then spent a year in Southeast Asia and now uses her knowledge of the art of Asian street food at Pig & Khao.  Cohen combines her New York technique with the bold, striking Asian flavors to create truly unique yet authentic dishes.

Chef David Lefevre of Manhattan Beach Post in California will also join this year’s festival. Chef Lefevre followed his passion for food at an early age, attending the renowned Culinary Institute of America and landing an internship at Chef Charlie Trotter’s celebrated restaurant in Chicago. Chef Lefevre developed a close relationship with Trotter, who served as a mentor throughout Lefevre’s early career. During his time in Chicago, Chef Lefevre also participated in more than fifty national and international culinary events, and still found time to devote to travel, exploring new and exotic cuisines and teaming up with leading hoteliers and restaurateurs in Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, Caribbean and Europe. Chef Lefevre served as Executive Chef of the Water Grill, downtown Los Angeles’ seminal seafood restaurant before opening Manhattan Beach Post, a soulful restaurant offering a rustic menu of playful, artisanal dishes designed to shared, complemented by handcrafted cocktails and small production wines in Manhattan Beach, California.

This year the festival welcomes esteemed winemaker Benzinger Family Winery, a family winery based in Sonoma County California that boasts certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods for a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines. Cuvaison Estate, a Napa Valley Winery and Vineyard that handcrafts Napa Pinot Noir and Napa Chardonnay will also join the festival.

For tickets and additional event information, please visit

(Source: Caribbean Food and Wine Festival) 

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