Food festivals are the rock shows of the eating world. In every major market they’ve become unavoidable spectacles of industry star power, food media familiars and the digitally determined.
While critical to sell tickets and generate relevant exposure for all parties involved, the existential reality about these big events remain: Flexing among industry peers is equally paramount.
For the general public looking for a fun day of well-earned sunburns and stomach aches, thankfully, such behind-the-curtain politics and stagecraft remain unnoticed.
There is no shortage of food festivals these days, and Phoenix is certainly no exception. Be it the region’s remarkably pleasant weather, most of the year, or its unshakable resort-town handicaps, whether the event happens to be pizza-focused or beer-focused, pie-focused or beyond, anyone here with a will and a way hopes to take advantage of a national craze that shows zero signs of slowing down.
The latest upcoming test, or spectacle, will be the ambitious Nirvana Food and Wine Festival being hosted at Paradise Valley’s Sanctuary on Camelback Resort over a stretch of four days, April 27-30. Billed as a “star packed” culinary moment, Nirvana is a departure from the traditional one-stop, all-day festival model, pushing instead a weekend-long circuit of intimate but over-the-top food, wine and cocktail receptions held at venues throughout Sanctuary’s mountainside property. The nearby Mountain Shadows Resort (Sanctuary’s brand-new sibling hotel) will be hosting Nirvana’s only off-property event, a celebrity golf tournament.
Nirvana’s event schedule stages national kitchen table names like Scott Conant, Todd English, Robert Irvine, and more, with a growing rank of appearances from Phoenix-based talent like Justin Beckett, Bernie Kantak, Alex Stratta, Christopher Gross, Gio Osso, Mark Tarbell, Stephen Jones, Cullen Campbell, Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan, and many more. The region’s cocktail class will be represented by local notables Micah Olson (Crudo, Okra), Jason Asher (Undertow, Counter Intuitive), among others. There will also be wine-centered programming and live entertainment throughout.
Leveraging Nirvana’s arsenal of culinary star power and intentionally chummy atmosphere, ticket prices for the individual events range widely from $85 to $400. Out-of-town guests or gilded locals can also take the all-inclusive route with overnight resort packages at Sanctuary starting at $479* per night, based on availability.
For all Nirvana Food and Wine details, ticket information, and a full list of events and participants, click here.