The 3rd annual Ocala Culinary Festival begins April 4. Some events are already sold out, so reserve your seat now at ocalaculinaryfestival.com.
The Ocala Culinary Festival is dedicated to providing a platform for extraordinary talent to convene for the purpose of creating unforgettable culinary experiences and generating insightful dialogue about food, wine and spirits.
Food For The Soul By Chef Rosh
Location TBA | Thursday, April 4 | 6pm
This year’s festival kicks off with an evening of fresh, fragrant, Indian fusion comfort food presented by award-winning chef Roshni Gurani.
In Indian cuisine, tandoori is the traditional family comfort food, featuring meats marinated in yogurt with aromatic spices like ginger, coriander and cayenne pepper, cooked over a charcoal fire. Much like American barbecue, the South’s favorite comfort food, tandoori-style cooking produces lean but moist, flavorful, smoky meats that are easily complemented by fresh vegetables.
Chef Rosh is known for her fusion of Indian cuisine and American Tex-Mex, resulting in specialties like Bombay chicken and tandoori-spiced brisket with cilantro bacon chutney.
To accompany these flavors, festival mixologists Shelby Goelz and Brenda Terry will be custom mixing libations.
Attire: Comfortable Casual
Spirits & Smoke
Bridlewood Farm, 8318 NW 90th Terrace | Friday, April 5 | 5 pm
Back for a second year by popular demand, The Local Palate brings together the South’s top pitmasters: Sam Jones of Sam Jones BBQ, Griffin Bufkin of Southern Soul BBQ, Kenny Gilbert of Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, and locals Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s Serious About Barbecue and Jackson Rust of Brick City Southern Kitchen.
Gather around the fire and enjoy meats smoked on site with all the fixins paired with the firewaters of bourbon, scotch and whiskey that are sure to ignite your night. Relax with a cigar and enjoy live music—this will be one hot party, presented among the pastoral live oaks of the world-class equestrian estate Bridlewood Farm.
Attire: Casual Country. Please note the venue is a working farm so we encourage you to use care in selecting footwear that allows you to walk on grass and uneven pavement.
High Design: Food, Fashion & Art
Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | Saturday, April 6 | 10am
New this year, this event is a collaboration with the Appleton Museum of Art for a truly unique brunch experience.
Seven fashion designers each created a couture look inspired by art from the Appleton collection. Local chefs Tony Deras and Dimitri Pomakis were challenged with creating a scrumptious brunch menu to complement both high fashion and the sparkling wines of the Sonoma Valley Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards.
“It’s a complete art event,” says Chef Tony. “They create art and we create art. Whenever you cook something it should be art.”
Fashion designers Breanna Hare and Mayra Pereira-Pulkowski both found inspiration in powerful women. “I chose a painting called ‘Mandolinata,’” Hare says. “Something about the woman spoke to me. She’s exactly the kind of woman I dream to be and to sew for.”
Pereira-Pulkowski chose the Chinese sculpture “Lokapala.” “I envisioned strength, power and a warrior,” she says. “My vision through all my designs seeks to inspire and bring out the strength, power and beauty of woman from all walks of life and cultures.”
Attire: Daywear. Please note the fashion show will be outside in the museum’s courtyard, followed by brunch inside.
Feast at the Farm
Eddie Woods Training Center, 14870 W. Hwy 40, Ocala FL 34481
Saturday, April 6 | 5:30pm
This dinner event sponsored by Showcase Properties has enjoyed a loyal following for three years and is always the first to sell out.
This year, acclaimed local chef and fifth-generation Floridian Randal White collaborates with Chef Digby Stridiron, visiting from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Both chefs take inspiration from seasonal ingredients and regional recipes and are looking forward to blending their respective heritages to create a spectacular dining experience. Locals will recognize Chef Randal as the host of The Chef’s Table on PBS-TV, executive chef at Mark’s Prime Steakhouse and author of the Southern Family Recipes cookbook.
This beautifully-presented meal will be made even lovelier by the tranquil setting of Eddie Woods’ thoroughbred training facility, the 240-acre equine operation built by the Ireland native and former steeplechase jockey which features expansive pastures flanked by rose bushes and venerable live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.
Attire: Country chic. The venue is a working farm so we encourage you to use care in selecting footwear that allows you to walk on grass and uneven pavement.
Citizens’ Circle, 151 SE Osceola Ave., Ocala FL 34471
Sunday, April 7 | Early Access 11am | General Admission 12–3 pm
Ocala’s Tribute to Anthony Bourdain
This year’s festival finale pays homage to the legendary Anthony Bourdain and his influence on the food industry. Festival chefs have been invited to serve food inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s travels, unique attitude and passion for trying new flavors.
Downtown Ocala’s Citizens’ Circle will be transformed into the Grand Tasting, the culmination of the four-day festival. Attendees are invited to spend the afternoon leisurely strolling the open-air festivities, mingling with like-minded foodies, chefs, winemakers, mixologists and culinary vendors while enjoying live music. One price includes a diverse array of delicious food choices, wine, beer and spirits.
All proceeds benefit Ocala Culinary Festival Charities, a nonprofit focused on improving culinary education and fighting hunger in Marion County.
How do I attend the festival?
All events require tickets, which can be purchased at ocalaculinaryfestival.com. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Events go on rain or shine.
Can my diet restrictions be accommodated?
No. Unfortunately, the logistics do not give chefs the room to be flexible with their menus. Participating chefs are given creative license to serve whatever inspires them without the need to anticipate diet restrictions.
Can I bring my children or pets to the festival?
Unfortunately, we cannot allow anyone under 21 to attend the festival. No animals are allowed at any of the festival events.