News from the NJ Wine & Food Festival

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New Jersey Wine & Food Festival held its first ever Garden State Chef Throwdown on March 21. This fun, interactive event took inspiration from today’s popular culinary competition shows for a friendly chef contest to see who could make the most delicious beef dish. The participants included three of the state’s top chefs: Bryan Gregg of Escape, who made Pave of Beef with huitlacoche, mushroom, carolina gold rice porridge; Francesco Palmieri of The Orange Squirrel who presented a slow-braised Black Angus Short Rib “Chipped Beef” Slider on sesame brioche with beef marrow mayonnaise; and John Greeley of Crystal Springs serving Smoked Brisket with shrimp grits & chimichurri. None of them knew the other’s dish and all had to finish in front of the audience in twenty minutes.

After a spirited battle, Crystal Springs Executive Chef Greeley prevailed in the audience vote with his Smoked Brisket with Shrimp Grits & Chimichurri. Even though they had fresh snow covering the ground, Chef Greeley had fired up the smoker in the outdoor Chef’s Garden restaurant to make his brisket.

The event, which sold out quickly, was very popular with the audience and will return at the 2016 NJ Wine & Food Festival.

Perona Farms marks a century with a culinary-focused celebration.


I’m on the plane back from Las Vegas after an exciting few days at IMEX and I’m still buzzing from the experience of meeting so many suppliers from around the country and the world.


Meeting Professionals International, the official sponsor of Smart Monday, has added five new programs to the inaugural day of IMEX America.

Paws for a Break

MPI is teaming up with Love Dog Adventures—a Las Vegas animal-assisted therapy program. Designed as a stress-reducing activity, several dogs will be present during Smart Monday for attendees to cuddle with. These puppy sessions are quickly becoming a hot new trend and have been featured in a number of World Education Congresses. Puppy Cuddling is sponsored by Visit Norfolk.