What To Do At The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

Some of the biggest star power to ever converge on New Jersey will distinguish this year’s Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival from those past and elsewhere. The festivities began last night and will run through Sunday, featuring some of  the country’s most recognized food celebs as hosts, judges and chefs at more than 40 wine and beer tastings, cook-offs, grand markets,  book signings, cooking seminars and plain old meals.

And then of course, there’s Meat Loaf–performing tonight at the House of Blues. Appropriate, no?

Here are a few of the (other) most notable food persons converging on A.C. this weekend.

Paula Deen: The butter-poached Southern treasure will be doing the Amstel Light Presents Blues, Brews & BBQ event on Saturday, 12:00pm – 3:00pm, Price: $65 (location: Main Lot), followed by the Sweet & Stylish fashion show (Saturday, Time: 8:00pm – 11:00pm, Price: $85, Location: Palladium Ballroom), a Gospel Brunch with Paula Deen (Sunday, Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm, Price: $60, Location: The Music Hall); something called Chef In Restaurant: Paula Deen (Saturday, July 28, Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm, Price: $125, Location: Mansion Café) and, finally, will be doing a book signing on Sunday, July 29, at 1:30pm (price: $99, location: Circus Maximus Theater which, somehow, feels only appropriate).

Robert Irvine: The Restaurant: Impossible host and professional yeller will be doing a tutored coffee tasting on Sunday, July 29, (time: 10:00am – 1:00pm, Price: $40, Location: Diamond Club at Caesars Atlantic City), and a festival version of Dinner: Impossible with Chef Robert Irvine on Friday, July 27, (time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm, price: $85, Location: Arturo’s at Ballys Atlantic City).

Andrew Zimmern: Oh, Andrew Zimmern… Apparently, you spend years eating balls in front of TV cameras and that gets you invited to the Poolside Launch Party for A.C. Food & Wine. Good for him. He’ll also be at the Define “Cheese-Steak” competition (yes, the spelling drives me nuts, too) on Friday, July 27, from 8:00pm – 11:00pm (Price: $65, Location: Main Lot at Showboat Atlantic City) and then, true to form, hosting the Bizarre Brunch with Andrew Zimmern (Saturday, July 28, Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm, Price: $85, Location: Atlantic Grill at Caesars Atlantic City). If he was smart, he would just sit back on a big throne made of money while he makes complete strangers eat bugs and aardvark penises and films it all for YouTube. Not saying that’s what WILL happen. It’s just what we would do.

Anne Burrell: She and her haircut also made it to the Poolside Launch Party last night, but she’ll also be hosting a Sunset Sliders, Sushi & Sparkles party on  Saturday, July 28, from 5:00pm – 7:00pm (price: $65, Location: Pool Deck at Caesars Atlantic City); Chef In Restaurant: Anne Burrell on Saturday at noon (price: $65, Location: The Reserve) and a book signing on Saturday evening (7:30pm – 8:30pm, Price: $99, Location: Circus Maximus Theater).

Buddy Valastro: He counts as a celebrity, right? Of course he does. Because he’s on TV and you’re not. He’ll also be doing a Viking cooking demo on Saturday, July 28, from 12:00pm – 1:00pm (price: $149, Location: Viking Cooking School) and doing a book signing right after (time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Price: $99, Location: Circus Maximus Theater).

For more details about the festival, individual events or where to spot famous people, check out the Atlantic City Food and Wine website.