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There are dining events aplenty in September throughout the state. Among the highlights: a Restaurant Week, a gala night to honor one of the area’s best-known chefs and one of the nation’s best-known food and wine festivals.
The March of Dimes Rhode Island chapter has been honoring a local chef for the past 11 years. The 12th annual Signature Chefs Auction salutes the longtime chef at Newport’s Hotel Viking, Kevin Thiele, on Sept. 19 at Belle Mer on Goat Island in Newport.
Thiele was genuinely honored to receive this year’s accolades when I spoke with him at the beginning of summer. There will be tastings from more than 25 chefs and restaurants from Newport, Providence and statewide. A live and silent auction will be featured during the evening and funds raised will support the mission of March of Dimes.
Two new events have been added to the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival, which returns Sept. 20-22 for its eighth year. The lawn of Marble House will once again host the event’s famed two-day Grand Tasting, which offers guests the chance to sample hundreds of wines from around the world and cuisine from local restaurants and caterers.
Headlining the Saturday and Sunday Grand Tastings will be this year’s celebrity guest chefs, Food Network “Iron Chef” Alex Guarnaschelli and James Beard Award winner, author, chef and restaurateur Michel Richard. Both Richard and Guarnaschelli will sign copies of their recent books, “Happy in the Kitchen,” and “Old School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook,” respectively.
“I am thrilled to be part of Newport’s exciting wine and food festival,” Richard said. “This is a gorgeous place. I feel like Neptune in Newport’s mansions by the sea.” Guarnaschelli, who makes her return to Rhode Island after a visit several months ago for a book signing at Dave’s Marketplace, said Newport “is a beautiful representation of America’s history and I’m proud to be part of this festival.”
Several other local and regional guest chefs will be participating in the Grand Tasting and will sign their own recent books.
Hosting the chef demonstration stage will be Newport favorite Claudine Pépin. Pépin, who has accompanied her famous father, chef Jacques, on numerous occasions during past festivals, will take center stage this year to interact with the chefs. The goal is to provide an entertaining and informative series of cooking demonstrations. Chefs scheduled to appear on stage for cooking demonstrations include Jonathan Cartwright of Muse, Karsten Hart of Castle Hill Inn, Champe Speidel of Persimmon, Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames, Ben Sargent of the Cooking Channel’s “Hook, Line and Dinner,” and Johnny Iuzzini for Guittard Chocolates.