Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese cuisine, robust authentic Italian, Mediterranean fare, a “world famous Kobe beef burger,” or a Philadelphia cheesesteak, you can treat your palate to it all at “Savor Borgata: A Taste of American Classics.”
The annual event is being held Saturday, Nov. 12, and concludes the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s restaurant week which runs through Friday, Nov. 11.
Joe Lupo, senior vice president of operations for Borgata believes the food and wine celebration has gained popularity since its inception thanks to the restaurants’ notoriety and celebrity chefs.
“It’s become our premiere annual event for our food and beverage program. We have under one roof probably the best collections of chefs and restaurants on the East Coast,” he says.
Some of the biggest names in the culinary world will be at the event including Wolfgang Puck of Wolfgang Puck American Grille; Bobby Flay of Bobby Flay Steak; Michael Mina of Seablue; Michael Schulson of Izakaya; and Stephen Kalt of Fornelletto Cucina & Wine Bar, who says the event is one of his favorites.
“Everybody’s in town, all the chefs are here, everybody’s really pumped up and it’s always a great event,” Kalt said. “You have people coming and partying and eating and drinking it’s really probably my favorite weekend of the whole year at the Borgata.”
For the first time in the event’s four-year history, Borgata will welcome a guest chef to the culinary lineup: Marc Vetri of Philadelphia’s award-winning Vetri Ristorante, Osteria and Amis Trattoria.
Also appearing at the event: Geoffrey Zakarian from The Water Club and “Next Iron Chef”; Ron Ross, Borgata executive chef; Thaddeus DuBois, Borgata executive pastry chef; Tony Luke of Tony Luke’s Old Philly Style Sandwiches; and restaurateurs Greg and Marc Sherry with Chef Romeo DiBona from Old Homestead Steak House.
“It brings us a lot of pleasure to be able to put this roster together and we feel very good about having the best food and beverage dining operation, including the celebrity chefs and well-known restaurants and even our casual in-house program. We’re very, very proud of it,” Lupo says.
This year, each restaurant will have its own station inviting guests to sample the chef’s unique approach to classic American cuisine paired with wine, beer and spirits. Kalt decided to do something a little unusual at his station; his theme is an Italian-American street fair and promises some delicious bites.
“You can get a sausage sandwich and a rice bowl and a cannoli and things like that so we tried to make really fun things,” Kalt says.
The event also features an exhibition kitchen where each chef will demonstrate his Savor Borgata recipe on-stage with Food Network personality Claire Robinson hosting.
“We’re real happy that Claire can host. And she’ll be interviewing many of the different chefs and hosting cooking-demos during the event and will conclude with a cook-off between two of our celebrity chefs that she’ll host that evening,” says Lupo.
In addition to tasting savory items, guests also will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the renowned chefs, something even Kalt is excited to do.
“Even for me, and I’ve been everywhere and worked with everybody, it’s still an incredibly exciting and fun experience,” says Kalt.
The casino also has expanded its outreach by partnering with the Academy of Culinary Arts to provide more than two dozen students with the learning experience of a lifetime. Borgata is welcoming the students to assist the acclaimed chefs during the Savor Borgata event. Kalt is looking forward to working with the students.
“For these young cooks at this point, chefs in training, I think it’s going to be a phenomenal experience; I’m really happy that Borgata is supporting it,” says Kalt.
Borgata also will host two intimate tasting opportunities with Flay and Zakarian.
Guests can expand their culinary expertise when Flay presents “Lunch & Learn” in his signature steakhouse.
The cooking demonstration includes a three-course lunch paired with wines from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Attendees also will receive a copy of Flay’s new cookbook, “Bar Americain.” Tickets are priced at $95 per person.
Also on Saturday, “Sparkling Sips & Small Bites” hosted by Zakarian will be held at Vintage, a wine boutique inside The Shoppes at The Water Club. Patrons will sample four sparkling wines from around the world paired with signature dishes from The Water Club from 3 to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $45 per person.
“It’s very exclusive, only about 30 to 40 people in each event. And they can ask Bobby questions and speak with Geoffrey, so we wanted to offer a couple additional events, a little bit of a lower price range and a different type of experience,” Lupo says.
Lupo says the success of food and wine events, which appeal to both visitors and locals, are indicators the resort should continue to offer non-gaming amenities.
“Events like these really bring attention to Atlantic City and continue to carry on what our focus has been here at Borgata and that being that we have a lot of great things other than gaming to attract visitors,” he explains.
With all of the options to choose from at this year’s “Savor Borgata: A Taste of American Classics,” foodies certainly will have their fill of some fantastic fare.