WILMINGTON — The 2018 North Carolina Azalea Festival is bringing something new to the table.
The traditional Pre-Festival Kickoff Party is being re-branded into a Chefs’ Showcase, highlighting the talents of local chefs Vivian Howard, Keith Rhodes, William Roberts and One Belle Bakery.
Howard is a celebrity chef who has won acclaim for her food and, more recently, her television work. She recently opened Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington.
Rhodes, founder of Catch, Chef Rhodes, was voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as a finalist for Best Southeast Chef. He also competed on Bravo TV’s Top Chef season 9.
Roberts is the executive chef at Hilton Wilmington Riverside who brings a passion for high-end southern recipes with French techniques to his menu.
Located on Shipyard Boulevard, One Belle Bakery brings customs cakes and retail sweets to Wilmington.
“Wilmington has such amazing chefs, and food is such an integral part of the Southern, coastal culture it is a natural addition to the Azalea Festival. We’ve only scratched the surface of all the culinary talent in our region with this event,” said Azalea Festival President Justin Wolfe.
The Chefs’ Showcase is a fundraiser for the Azalea Festival and signals the official opening of festival season. The event boasts a five-course plated lunch with wine pairings for each course. The showcase will also have light entertainment and a silent auction.
The Chefs’ Showcase will be held Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside. Tickets are on sale now for $75.00 at the Azalea Festival Ticket Office and online through the Azalea Festival website.
The 2018 North Carolina Azalea Festival will be held April 11-15, 2018.