Inside The 2012 Atlantic City Food And Wine Festival

ht acvcs class kb 120802 wblog Inside the 2012 Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

                                                                                   (Image credit: Caesars Entertainment)

By Diane Henderiks:

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being one of the culinary personalities at The Fourth Annual Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival, three action-packed days of food, wine, spirits, beer, fashion, celebrity chef demos, tastings, coffee, teas and sweets.  You name it, it was there.

The festival kicked off on Thursday. What followed were three days and over 30 fantastic events that took place at all four of Caesars Entertainment properties.  Atlantic City was the place to be.

A highlight of the festival for me was hosting a class at The Viking Cooking School[1] (VCS) at Harrahs.

There are fifteen VCSs across the country where more than 75,000 students including kids, moms, dads,  business professionals, and others attend classes each year.  To a chef, the VCS is the equivalent of the Olympic pool to Michael Phelps.  The teaching kitchen is gorgeous and equipment is state of the art, with high-performance professional Viking appliances, cookware and cutlery.

The setting at the VCS Harrahs is intimate, the staff is spot-on and the attached market is a foodies candy store.   Guests mingled, munched on fruit and cheese,  sipped wine and Pomegranate martinis and waited for the demo to begin.  I then got to work making my Pistachio-Pesto Crabcakes with Avocado Cream and Kiwi-Mango Salsa.

They asked a lot of questions that really led to some great discussions like:

What type of olive oil makes the best pesto?

Extra virgin olive oil is classic, but dont be afraid to experiment with different types of oils, and infused oils, which with bring a different flavor to your pesto.  There are 120 calories in a tablespoon of olive oil, so even though its good for you, moderation is the key.

Why are avocados said to be so good for you?

Avocados provide close to 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, B vitamins, and folic acid. They contain a lot of fat but its monounsaturated fat or the good fat that can help lower cholesterol.  Avocados also boost absorption of fat-soluble nutrients in foods that are eaten with it.

Why did you add egg white to the crabmeat?

It helps to bind the crab cake and keep it from coming apart.  Also adds a nice nutritional dose of excellent protein.

Does it matter what kind of salt you use?

It does.  Kosher salt and sea salt are great everyday cooking salts.  Fleur de Sel,  Hawaiian salts, Himalayan salts, Sel de Gris and the more expensive salts are better suited as finishing salts.  The more expensive the salt, the later you use it in the cooking process, with the most expensive ones used at the table.  Remember, your body needs only a little salt to be healthy, so whatever salt you choose to use, use with a light shake.

When the demo was over guests dined on the crab cakes and salsa.

RECIPE: Diane Henderiks Pistachio Pesto Crabcakes With Avocado Cream[2]

In addition to the VCS class I was part of several great events.  The Grand Market and Italian Village had  back-to-back chef demonstrations all weekend long, while 100 culinary and wine stations were crowded with hungry and thirsty foodies.  I hosted three culinary demonstrations that were packed with over 300 people who sat and enjoyed each presentation.

Once again, former White House chef Guy Mitchell was terrific as the host and emcee.   Sweet & Stylish was an event at which guests were served a healthy dose of sweet treats and a fashion show from top designers hosted by Nadia G and Buddy Valastro.  Guest were treated to my Mint, Chocolate, Pretzel and Nut Bark and there were many rave reviews. Your Morning Cup which was an extravaganza of teas, coffee and baked treats held in the Diamond Club at Caesars.

Do not miss the opportunity to attend this festival next year[3].  You will be very glad you did.

Diane Henderiks[4] is a registered dietitian, the founder of[5] and a Good Morning America health contributor.


  1. ^ The Viking Cooking School (
  2. ^ RECIPE: Diane Henderiks Pistachio Pesto Crabcakes With Avocado Cream (
  3. ^ next year (
  4. ^ Diane Henderiks (
  5. ^ (

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12 thoughts on “Inside The 2012 Atlantic City Food And Wine Festival

  1. Is There A Good Book Or Guide To Food, Wine And Beer? I’m Training To Be A Waiter? Hi,

    I’m a host at a restaurant right now and I’ll be training to serve soon. I know nothing about food wine and spirits and I’d like to have some sort of foundation before I begin to train.

    I’d like to know things like what wine goes good with what food, what’s the difference between a stout and a lager etc etc etc.

    Are there any good websites (free) or books/guides you’d recommend?

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  2. Any Tips For The Disney World Food And Wine Festival? I just found out that I am going to the Disney Food and Wine Festival. Has anyone gone to this event, if so, what should I expect? Are there free samples of wine/food at each country? If not, how much money should I bring for the samples? I am a wine enthusiast, and really looking forward to tasting great wine. Thanks in advance!

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  3. What Is The Best Wine/food Pairing Anyone Has Had? Awhile ago I had a Red wine I brought back from Mexico and it taste nasty but then I went and got a snack out of my kitchen and ate it with the wine and it blew my mind away how it changed the taste of the wine so much. I don’t remember the wine or the food I was eating. I would love to experience that again if someone could help me.

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  4. What Are The Differences Between Food And Wine Festivals In South Australia And Those In Other States? Sorry~~ Due to the the limitation of words I could only write that much…
    I am doing an investigation of food and wine festivals in South Australia and I would like to get some resources~~~ Thank you very much…
    The original question should be: What are the differences between the Food and Wine Festivals in South Australia compared to Food and Wine Festivals in other states of Australia?

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  5. Are There Any Major Food And Wine Festivals I Can Take My Mother To For A Christmas Present? My mom loves to cook and absolutely loves the Food Network and Top Chef. I had this great idea to take her to the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival in April, 2011 for a great Christmas present this year. Unfortunately, all the events and packages are sold out! I’m trying to find something similar to take her to. The budget and location aren’t an issue, I just want her to have a great Christmas present because she really deserves the best! ANY ideas are appreciated, thank you!

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  6. Last year my husband, I and some friends attended the Finger Lakes “Deck the Halls” weekend on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
    This year the dates are November 19-21, 2010 or December 3-5, 2010.
    You begin at one winery where you receive a wreath made from grape vines and an ornament and a food pairing. After that, you visit other participating wineries where you recieve an ornament and a food pairing. You also receive a booklet with all the recipes from each of the wineries.
    We live about an hour away so we attended only one day, but are thinking of doing the entire weekend this year.
    You can stay at hotels in Geneva, NY or Watkins Glen, NY or at one of the many nice Bed & Breakfast along the Lake.
    Info for this year’s event can be found here:

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  7. Where Can Shop Online Imported Food And Wine In Shanghai? It’s hot and wast lot of time to shop in supermarket to get what I want of quality food and wine. I’m wondering if I can shop online and they also can delivery my staff to my home would be great! I’m living in Shanghai, China.

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