Bigger and better than ever is how the team behind the Crave Food and Drink Celebration – from the founder/owner and marketing company to the chefs and event staff – describe the third-annual event that took over CenterPlace Regional Event Center in Spokane Valley last Thursday through Saturday.
More people attended Crave’s three days and nights this year than in previous years, and organizers said the number and quality of vendors (chefs, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and sponsors) was better, too. The sunny, sometimes balmy, weather also helped the cause this year, as did the attendance of chefs from the area and as far flung as California, Pennsylvania and New York.
“Things went extremely well, and it was amazing to have so much support from the community. It was our best year yet,” said Spokane chef Adam Hegsted, the founder and owner of Crave and Eat Good Group who launched the event in 2017. “We had more than 2,000 people come out for the weekend and show us that we have one amazing community.
“As usual, the chefs, wineries, brewers, distillers and vendors all put their best efforts out and really showcased what the hospitality industry is all about – delicious food, drinks and people.”
2019 Crave kicked off Thursday with an outdoor Seafood Bash at CenterPlace, and Friday’s signature event was Fire & Smoke featuring barbecue galore. The turnout for Seafood Bash was 50% more than last year, according to Crave organizer Aaron Fish of Eat Good Group.
The final day, Saturday, was jam-packed with a Grand Tasting of predominately wine and beer and The Spokesman Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club Main Stage with Mareya Ibrahim, aka “the Fit Foodie”; Spokane entrepreneur Deborah Di Bernardo (Roast Coffee House and First Avenue Coffee); documentary filmmaker Joanna James (“A Fine Line”); and Michelin-star chef and “Iron Chef America” champion Anita M. Lo.
The enthusiastic audiences at the Main Stage were given complimentary copies of Ibrahim’s new book, “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive”; drink coupons for First Avenue Coffee; tickets to a screening of “A Fine Line”; and green bandanas representing the award-winning Lo.
The evening concluded with Foods From Around the World and an after-party by the waterfall at CenterPlace, while “A Fine Line” was screened at the Bing Crosby Theater downtown, with a panel including James, Ibrahim, Di Bernardo and Lo.
James focused the camera on her own mother, Valerie James, as well as other female chefs, among them Lidia Bastianich and Cat Cora, in her work “A Fine Line,” which brings to light discrimination and obstacles women face in the culinary world. James updated the film after the #MeToo movement made headlines.
“The truth is women in leadership disparities are there everywhere, in restaurants, medicine, law, you name it. With ‘A Fine Line,’ we want to set a model for change,” said James. “The culinary industry has a large and diverse labor pool, but there’s still the disparity.”
The turnout at the food events was much larger than expected to the point that vendors ran out of food after only one hour at the Seafood Bash and Grand Tasting. Here is this year’s lineup of restaurants and chefs per news releases:
Anthony’s Spokane and Coeur d’Alene (Rick Reichelt and Randy Wilson); Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery in Coeur d’Alene (Nick Mikkelson); Barker BBQ in Coeur d’Alene and TT’s Old Iron Brewery in Spokane Valley (Colin Barker); Brandon Rosen of San Mateo, California; Candle in the Woods in Athol, Idaho (Dave Adlard); Cochinito Taqueria in Spokane (Travis Dickinson); Coeur d’Alene Casino in Worley (Steven Walk); Cosmic Cowboy Grill in Coeur d’Alene (Chris White); and Craft & Gather in Spokane Valley (Stefan Reynolds)
Doughlicious and Eat Good Group in Spokane (Emily Crawford); Duffified in Philadelphia (Brian Duffy); Fam Inc in Vancouver, British Columbia (Mark Singson); Farmhouse Kitchen and Silo Bar in Ponderay, Idaho (Chris Sylvia); First Avenue Coffee (Deborah Di Bernardo); Folkart Restaurant Management in Chicago (Matthias Merges); Hay J’s Bistro in Liberty Lake (Patrick Fechser); Honey Eatery and Social Club in Coeur d’Alene (Justin Klauba); and Iron Goat Brewing in Spokane (Travis Tveit)
Los Hernandez Tamales in Union Gap (James Beard Award winner Felipe Hernandez); M8 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Frank Mao); Marcus Whitman in Walla Walla (Grant Hinderliter); Masselow’s Steakhouse at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights (Tanya Broesder); Max at Mirabeau in Spokane Valley (Shawn Matlock); Mt. Spokane High School Pro Start team in Spokane with mentors Aaron Fish and Caleb Hansen; One Night Stand BBQ in Spokane (Bob Watts); Republic Kitchen + Taphouse in Post Falls (Jesse Waldman); Ruins in Spokane (Tony Brown); and Skylar Sinow of Vancouver, British Columbia
Sweet Frostings; Thai Bamboo in Spokane Valley (Alex Santos-Cucalon); The Black Cypress in Pullman (Nick Pitsilionis); The Gilded Unicorn in Spokane (Mary Weaver); The Yards
in Spokane (Nick Onustack); Tu David Phu of San Lorenzo, California; Victor He of Vancouver, British Columbia; Vine and Olive Eatery and Wine Bar in Coeur d’Alene (Paul Mason); Wandering Table in Spokane (Ian Wingate); and WSU in Pullman (Will Wohlfeil).
What’s in store for Crave next year?
“We will just keep learning and honing. With any event we put on, we get a little better, a little faster, and things get a little smoother every year,” summed up Hegsted. “As we get more people attending and more vendors signing up, we will need to figure out how to expand our Grand Tasting and how to make it a dynamic experience for our guests.
“It’s always warm, so getting more misters and a few more fans to get airflow moving inside the tents is important. And, as usual, we want to be as inclusive as possible, trying to connect and get as many people involved as possible. This is about our community, and I would love to get everyone here!”
For The Spokesman-Review’s complete coverage of 2019 Crave, go to spokesman.com/northwest-passages/crave-2019/.
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