Welcoming the Masters golf tournament each year has its advantages. The Taste of the Master Chefs on Friday, April 6, at West Lake Country Club is a prime example of the opportunities us locals get to take advantage of once a year. You’ll find celebrity chefs, phenomenal food, maybe even a PGA player (?!) or two!
The night is basically a gathering of celebrity chefs where attendees get to mingle with them and taste their amazing offerings.
And Taste of the Master Chefs CEO Laurie Merrill slyly said it just might be the place that professional golfers in town will want to be every year.
“Last year (my business partner Wayne Kostroski) brought some of his good friends including Sergio Garcia, who a few days later went on to win the Masters. For golfers, this just might be the new good luck charm,” Merrill said with a laugh. “‘So come to Taste of Master Chefs on Friday, and on Sunday, you might win the big prize!’”
She said it’s an informal event, but with really high-end food. If you’re wondering what to wear, you don’t need to worry too much about it.
“It was a gorgeous night (last year); we had the fire pits going in the towers. We had an outdoor bourbon and cigar lounge,” Merrill said. “People enjoyed it because it was perfect weather, but it was still cool, so you had everything from casual slacks and open-collar shirts, to a few of the men wore jackets. The women wore a mix of just nice dress pants or casual slacks, and then comfortable dresses — not formal at all. Think Charleston, Southern, low-country… an enjoyable night out.”
She said the event is about half indoors and outdoors, with no reserved seating except for a VIP area.
The event, which got its start last April, is modeled after Taste of the NFL, which takes place the night before the Super Bowl. And the good cause Taste of the Master Chefs supports? Hunger relief in America. The charity partner in Augusta is the Salvation Army.
Culinary mastermind José Andrés returns this year as chef chair. Andrés, who most recently was praised at the Oscars, is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, TV personality, humanitarian and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. Andrés’ award-winning group of restaurants includes locations in Washington, D.C., Miami, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Mexico City. He is a committed advocate on food and hunger issues and is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy.
Taste of the Master Chefs is bringing a fantastic team of award-winning chefs with Andrés, most of whom appear regularly on the Travel Channel, NBC’s “Today” show, and other national networks… all for this one-night appearance in Augusta.
Andrés will be the guest of honor but won’t be cooking; however, 14 other celebrity chefs will.
“Most of our chefs have won the James Beard (award), have been nominated and their restaurants have been nominated,” Merrill said. “Joe Kindred from North Carolina, he’s got two of the most popular restaurants — Kindred and Hello, Sailor — we’re thrilled to have him. We’ve got some new chefs, so Joe’s one of our new ones to join us. And we’re also bringing in Joe DiMaio from Charleston, right there on King Street, so we’ll have a big oyster table right there. I mean, every inch of it is just… people last year, and as they will I’m sure again this year, will marvel at the amazing amount of incredible food, just enjoying walking around meeting the chefs, talking with the chefs.”
The evening is topped off with a musical performance by Esera Tuaolo. You might know Tuaolo from his appearance on this season of “The Voice,” wowing judges with his soaring vocals while performing Andra Day’s “Rise Up” and ultimately joining Blake Shelton’s team.
Football fans will remember him as an NFL defensive tackle for 10 years, when he played with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.
There’s lots going on this week, but if you want in on this foodie night, you’d better get your tickets now.
Taste of the Master Chefs
West Lake Country Club
7 p.m. Friday, April 6
$175, general; $275, VIP (VIP experience starts at 6 p.m.); benefits the Salvation Army’s hunger relief efforts