Illustration by Ben Hillyer
Illustration by Ben Hillyer

Be prepared to eat and drink well at annual festival

Published 12:02am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

With 35 chefs to be featured at the annual Natchez Food and Wine Festival, hungry festival goers should have plenty of tasty food to sample.

Chef Brad Seyfarth, executive chef at The Castle Restaurant, has been participating in the festival since its inception.

“When it first started, there were maybe 10 people that were participating, and it’s grown into a huge event,” he said. “It’s been really, really cool to see how much it has grown.”

Seyfarth, an Adams County Christian School graduate, has won awards at past food and wine festivals and said he looks forward to the event every year.

Seyfarth creates a recipe each year specifically for the festival.

This year, he will prepare a chicken roulade with a pepper jelly glazed shredded duck topped with a watermelon rind relish, all on a bed of Maytag blue cheese pesto grits.

The dish is somewhat inspired by turducken, which consists of de-boned chicken and duck stuffed into a de-boned turkey.

“I didn’t want to do it exactly like that,” Seyfarth said. “So I thought, ‘What the heck, this is my shot to do something outside the box.”

The duck will be cooked and shredded then wrapped inside chicken, Seyfarth said.

Of course it needed a Southern twist, Seyfarth said, which is why he chose the watermelon relish and grits.

Seyfarth said he enjoys the food and wine festival because it is a nice change of pace from the restaurant.

“I like getting to see all the people and talk to everyone,” he said. “At the restaurant, I don’t get to see every table that comes in, and I don’t get a chance to talk to everyone.”

Other chefs scheduled for the festival are Magnolia Bluffs Casino Chef Joey DeFazio, Isle of Capri Casino Chef Andrew Haile, Carriage House Chef Bingo Starr, Parlor Market Chef Matthew Kajdan, Tsunami Chef Toon Nguyen, New Orleans Fish House chefs Gene Mayer and James Sibal and more.

In addition to the 35 chefs to be featured on the first day of the festival at the Tastings Along the River event, wine lovers and craft beer aficionados should have plenty of choices to look forward to, committee chair René Adams said.

The festival will include beer and wine from Tin Roof, Lazy Magnolia, Landshark, Cathead Vodka and more.

Adams said the festival will offer choices for even the pickiest of palates.

“It’s going to be quality food, quality wine and quality beer,” she said.

For more information about the festival or to purchase event tickets, visit natchezfoodandwinefest.com.