PINEHURST WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL
Pinehurst is a buzzword for serious golfers right now. The No. 2 course is the landmark location for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open which will be played during the month of June. The North Carolina event marks the first time that the two national championships will be held on the same course in back to back weeks. Golfers, vacation seekers, wedding planners, wine enthusiasts and locavores are clamoring after all things Pinehurst.
During a recent visit to Pinehurst, I got a chance to spy the famous greens. However, I didn't play, particularly since I'm more comfortable with a fishing rod in my hand than I am with a 5 iron. One thing I did get to do was take part in the 25th annual wine festival - a spectacular event that featured over 80 wineries as well as a host of chef and wine experts. The theme was called "A Passport to the World." Guests were treated to summer crop flavors and wine seminars which included, "The American Grand Crus of Napa and Sonoma" and "South Africa: The Cape Crusaders".
The silver anniversary festival ended with a battle of the house Iron Chef Competition where I was one of three judges. The secret ingredient was tomatoes. As a former competitor for Iron Chef America, I have to confess this time around I was so much more at ease being on the other side of the table than I was in the pressure cooker. For any chef battling it out in the kitchen stadium it can be a stress racking 75 minutes. Both executive chef (Dolce) Steven Queen and Chef de Cuisine (Pinehurst) William "Jay" Hunter did extraordinarily well. The Iron Chef was a great way to close the festival. I'm looking forward to seeing what Pinehurst lines up for next year.