The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience's wine tasting events start tonight with the Royal Street Stroll and Vinola premium wine tasting and continue with Grand Tastings Friday and Saturday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. More on NOWFE highlights here.
One of the food events is the Big Gateaux Show Friday, which is hosted by Keegan Gerhard and Tariq Hannah. Gerhard is a regular host on Food Network and is a former competitor in cake and pastry competitions. He also used to be the pastry chef at the Windsor Court. He currently has a dessert bar in Denver called D Bar. He also serves as emcee for the national and world Team Pastry Championships. Hannah runs Sucre and is a veteran of TLC's Ultimate Cake Off and Food Network Challenge. The judging panel for the NOWFE competition is led by Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef Just Desserts.
Contestants include pastry chefs Jacqueline Lopez from New Orleans' Hyatt Regency, Shun Li from the Windsor Court Hotel and Ravindra Verma from the Ritz-Carlton and Gonzalo Jimenez represents New York City's Grand Hyatt. In the event, each will have to prepare 1,000 petit fours and bonbons as well as small cake showpieces inspired by a local burlesque dancer paired with the chef. Attendees can watch the competition, sample the sweets and drink Champagne and Hendrick's Gin cocktails.The event is 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Royal Sonesta.