Inaugural Eat Drink RI festival heads to Providence

THE EAT DRINK RI Festival, Rhode Island's first-ever three-day local food festival, will come to Providence from April 19-21.
Posted 3/1/13

PROVIDENCE – The Eat Drink RI Festival is set to become the state’s first three-day local food festival when it heads to downtown Providence from April 19-21, Dave Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink RI, a regional culinary website, announced Friday.

“Rhode Island’s culinary roots run very deep and have helped play a major role in the state’s unique identity and culture,” Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau said in prepared remarks. “The Eat Drink RI Festival will celebrate our local food community and embrace a very important component of our heritage.”

Dadekian, a food writer and photographer as well as a private chef and cooking instructor, founded Eat Drink RI as a new resource in 2010. He is launching the festival in partnership with Brendan Chipley Roane, director of marketing and events for Gracie’s, a Providence restaurant.

The festival, sponsored in part by Johnson & Wales University, will feature over 40 chefs, farmers, bartenders, and producers, including Champe Speidel, a James Beard Foundation Best Chef Northeast semifinalist from Persimmon, and Benjamin Sukle, a James Beard Foundation Rising Star semifinalist, of The Dorrance.

Festival events will include a “truck stop” tasting from 10 Rhode Island mobile restaurants at the Bank of America Center at Kennedy Plaza, to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a “Cocktail Couture” at the Providence Biltmore Garden Room, education panels, a grand tasting at the Providence Biltmore, and a grand brunch at Gracie’s.

The Eat Drink RI website covers local food events, chefs, restaurants, the beverage industry, and locally-produced artisanal products.

The event announcement comes just a few weeks after Seth Resler, former program director at WBRU, revealed his plans to host Taste Trekkers, a food tourism conference, in Providence this fall. Resler is founder of Mystery Meet, a San Francisco-based social dining community that brings together culinary enthusiasts for meals at a mystery location.

Dadekian and Resler both cited Travel + Leisure’s recent mention of Providence as the nation’s top culinary destination in their plans.

For more information on the Eat Drink RI festival, visit:

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