You've heard of TasteofAtlanta.com, right? The annual event that gathers the best tasting food and most popular, award-winning restaurants for one weekend of "Hey, you know what? Atlanta has a pretty amazing dining scene," and "Mmmm, give me another taste of that". And as Taste of Atlanta is upon us once again, we're looking to Dale, the founder of this delicious event, to tell us a little bit more about how it got started and what her personal Taste of Atlanta happens to be:
SCOUT: Tell us how people might know you:
DALE: People might know me as the Founder and President of Taste of Atlanta, Atlanta’s premier food+wine+beer+cocktail festival. In my previous life, I was the Atlanta festival guru who worked with many of the great music festivals and venues including Music Midtown, Chastain Park, Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera to name a few.
SCOUT: That's quite a track record of Atlanta festivals. And for those people who’ve never been to Taste of Atlanta, can you tell them what they’ve been missing?
DALE: I'd tell them that they’ve been missing the best festival in Atlanta. This one weekend of the year, everyone has permission to eat their hearts out — amazing tastes from over 80 of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants. Unlike other food festivals, we do not serve funnel cakes or cotton candy. We do have three live cooking stages, hands-on experiential cooking opportunities for patrons, as well as live music, Silent Auction and so much more.
SCOUT: So how did this all-encompassing Taste of Atlanta get its start?
DALE: Taste of Atlanta started nine years ago when I was trying to decide where to eat one Saturday night and thought, “Wow, I’d like to go to a food festival where I can eat everything I want in one place and then decide where I’d like to go for dinner all the other nights of the year.”
SCOUT: What was your favorite moment of last year’s event?
DALE: My favorite moment was watching our diverse crowd of people eating and talking to each other trying to find out where they got a particular taste item. Food is truly a universal language.
SCOUT: And what are you most looking forward to for this year’s big event?
DALE: I am looking forward to our newest addition, “Inside the Food Studio”. Tom Sullivan will be our host, where we will feature three intimate and educational sessions per day for patrons to experience the fascinating culinary world of the professional Chef and discover the secrets of his/her craft. Some of the topics include Chocolate Academy with Highland Bakery, Secrets of America’s Best Burger – Holeman & Finch Public House and Joe Truex’s Louisiana Kitchen
with John Kessler to name a few.
SCOUT: Mmmm, that's a lot of deliciousness in one place. Speaking of one place, do you have a go-to favorite restaurant?
DALE: I have too many favorites depending on the occasion, including JCT Kitchen, Holeman & Finch, Lobster Bar, Aria, Antico Pizza
— the list goes on and on!
SCOUT: So, given all those favorites, what exactly does Atlanta taste like to you?
DALE: Atlanta’s restaurant scene tastes sweet and savory! In my travels, I am constantly reminded how lucky we are to live in a city where the restaurants showcase an array of international flavors. Our restaurant scene is alive and vibrant. People are very interested in trying new places and experiencing new flavors.
SCOUT: Surely there are some things about the restaurant scene you'd like to change though:
DALE: I do wish people in Atlanta would get out and support Atlanta’s local chef-driven restaurants.
SCOUT: And what’s one thing this city’s restaurant scene is missing? If you could add something, what would it be?
DALE: If I could add one thing to Atlanta’s culinary scene, I would add a healthy nutritional lunch menu to our school lunch menus.
SCOUT: Finally, a shameless plug for the event:
DALE: Hey Atlanta!!! Come out to Taste of Atlanta! Give us a try. Taste promises to be the best way to spend a fall afternoon — blue skies, phenomenal food, wonderful wines, creative cocktails, craft beers and many amazing Atlanta musicians. Be a VIP Ticket holder and get unlimited wine and beer tastes, seminars and watch the 2010 Barcraft Competition. For more information, go to TasteofAtlanta.com.