Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 5, 2013

A new foodie festival is born

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Carol Lewis has the recipe for a food festival that has something for everybody, foodie or not.

The ingredient list includes an event planner, a royal chef, regional food and drinks, demos, workshops, cooking lessons and a little live music.

Mix it all together and there you have it: the recipe for the inaugural Taste of Traverse City.

The main edible events during the three days, Sept. 13-15, are a Downtown Grub Crawl on Friday night, a Taste of Traverse City at the Open Space on Saturday, the Royal Chef Reception on Saturday evening and a Best of Brunch competition Sunday.

“You don’t have to have a lot of money to be a foodie, and that’s not the atmosphere we want to promote,” Lewis said. “You can enjoy yourself all day for $20, or have a more intense experience for $50 or $60, but either way you’ll get value.”

McGrady will appear at the Taste of Traverse from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday to demonstrate royal recipes and seminars to discuss cooking and entertainment in palace kitchens.

Later, from 7-9 p.m. Saturday night, he will be the guest of honor at the The Box, located in the former Traverse City Cigar Box Factory at Eighth Street and Boardman Avenue. The building is home to Matt and Victoria Sutherland (the main floor), and ForeWord Reviews magazine on the top floor.

McGrady was the personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry for 14 years, the last four as Diana’s chef. He is now a chef, author, culinary consultant, event planner and public speaker living in Dallas, Texas.

Lewis, who bought a second home on Old Mission Peninsula two years ago, is no stranger to planning big shindigs. She’s been doing them, as owner of C. Lewis Event Group in Troy, for Detroit auto shows, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s inauguration, conference and trade shows for corporate and nonprofit groups.

The festival is her first event in Traverse City, and she envisions it as an annual occasion.

The festival’s Sept. 13-15 menu includes a variety of options and ticket prices for adults 21 and older. Here are highlights:

Grub Crawl

General admission to the 6-9 p.m. Friday event is $55, which buys a badge with 15 punches on it. Each punch equals two or three bites of a sample food or beverage in participating restaurants. Check-in starts at 5:30 p.m., when crawlers receive “survival kits” and guidebooks. Shuttles begin boarding at 5:30 p.m. and depart the Century 21 Northland parking lot at 6 p.m. and will run until 10 p.m.

A Taste of Traverse City

The noon to 6 p.m. Saturday event takes place in several big tent pavilions at the Open Space. General admission tickets to festival grounds are $20 in advance and at the gate. They include a commemorative tasting glass, access to the culinary demo stage, educational seminars, workshops, live music, entertainment and sitting in the “Grillin’ & Chillin’” area as well as the retail pavilion. Tasting tickets cost $1 each for foods and beverages.

Other ticket options are: $30 General Admission Plus, which includes eight beverage and seven food-tasting tickets, available in advance only; and the $50 Ultimate Foodie VIP ticket, which includes everything offered in the general admission, plus access to the VIP-only Lakeside Lounge to sip and sample premium alcoholic beverages and complimentary food. Also included are a meet-and-greet with McGrady and a complimentary screening of “Mostly Martha” at Dennos Museum Center that night.

Royal Taste Reception

Tickets are $60 each or $100 per couple. The 7-9 p.m. Saturday event features McGrady and food prepared from recipes in McGrady’s first book, “Eating Royally,” now in its sixth edition. Guests will receive a special gift bag that includes an autographed copy of the book.

Foodie Movie Festival

Films that will be screened at Milliken Auditorium at Dennos Museum Center and Insideout Gallery on Friday and Saturday are: “My Big Night,” “Mostly Martha,” “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Chocolat,” “Bottle Shock,” “A Good Year,” and “Woman on Top.” Tickets: $8 for adults and $4 for children under 12. A Foodie Film Festival Fanatic ticket to all foodie movies at either venue costs $55.

Best of the Brunch

Sunday’s offering from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hagerty Center is a culinary throwdown — a competition between epicurean teams of chefs, farm suppliers and beverage creators to serve the “perfect brunch.” Tickets are $60 each. It includes live music and a Bloody Mary bar.

For more details and information on specific events, go to:, contact Taste of Traverse City at 714-4646 for group rates and multiple events discount.

“If people want to buy more than one event, we want to reward them,” Lewis said.