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Chefs look forward to festival

Story by April Garon/The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Food & Wine festival this weekend will bring in plenty of culinary masters, including two chefs eager to give festival-goers a taste of their talent.

Chefs Haley Bitterman and Cory Bahr said they are excited to come to Natchez.

“Natchez is like kin to me — I was raised in Winnsboro, which is a hop, skip and a jump from Natchez, so this place feels like home.” Bahr said. “It’s fun to get out there and throw down with some of the best chefs in the South — can’t wait to taste the gamut.”

Events planned for the festival include cooking classes, wine and craft beer tastings and dinners served at historic houses prepared by participating chefs.

Bitterman and Bahr will showcase their talents in, “Tastings along the River” Friday night. Bitterman will be judging the event and Bahr will prepare Muscovy duck wraps. Bahr is the executive chef and owner of Restaurant Cotton in Monroe, La.

“I had to stay true to my Monroe roots, so it was an easy choice to serve this,” Bahr said. “For both nights of the festival, I’ll be sourcing my ingredients and staying true to the North Delta cuisine I grew up on.”

Bitterman and Bahr will be cooking alongside chef Matt Kadjan at, “An Invitation to the Natchez Table” event at Dunleith Saturday night.

Bitterman said her menu will include pickled gulf shrimp and creole tomatoes, mache, fresh herb-shallot dressing and deviled quail eggs and a desert of peach Bavarian lemon chiffon cake with wild dew berries and honeysuckle gelee.

“I’m excited to jump in there on Saturday and cook with two chefs I’ve never worked with before,” Bitterman said. “Doing a collaborative dinner is a great way to broaden your cooking horizons and bring a little inspiration back home with you.”

For the complete schedule of events and to buy tickets, go to natchezfoodandwinefest.com.