Eight announces restaurant and celebrity chef line up for Check, Please! Arizona Festival

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PHOENIX (Feb. 18, 2014) – In its second year Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival delivers a renowned celebrity chef lineup showcased in wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and a rare discussion panel by Arizona’s James Beard Award winners.   Plus, the festival adds more culinary hotspots in preparation for the food and drink transformation to hit CityScape, closing down Central Avenue in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The event is set for Sun., March 30, 2014, 11am-3pm; and a special ticket rate of $59 is available now through March 1.  Tickets are $69 after March 1 and $79 at the gate. After enjoying the festival’s first year, celebrity chefs and restaurateurs return with great pleasure to participate in cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and the foodie favorite, the James Beard Award winner discussion panel. Three stages will set the scene for the scheduled showcases, the SubZero/Wolf Chef Demonstration Stage, the Safeway Grill Master Stage and the Chow Bella Stage.

Celebrity chefs include: Check, Please! Arizona host and James Beard Award winner Robert McGrath, who will moderate the discussion panel and share his unmistakable charm and culinary insight in a cooking demonstration; James Beard Award winner and chef, Nobuo Fukuda is also set to participate in the discussion panel and deliver his exotic cooking knowledge sure to impress every food lover; as well as James Beard Award winner and chef, Christopher Gross who is also participating in the discussion panel as well as a wine seminar, showcasing his more than 40 years of experience in the wine and food world.

In addition to celebrity chefs offering a number of unprecedented insights, more than 30 of Arizona’s favorite independent dining spots are set to dish out their specialties, in addition to wineries and craft breweries.   
Restaurant Lineup to Date. Among the more than 30 participating restaurants in this second year are:

  • Cowboy Ciao
  • Durant's
  • Citizen Public House
  • Flancer’s
  • Havana Café
  • Red, White & Brew
  • Tarbell’s
  • Frasher’s Steakhouse and Lounge
  • Salt Cellar Restaurant
  • Centurion
  • Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
  • Cucina Tagliani
  • Salerno's Restaurant & Pizzeria
  • Sofrita
  • Phoenix City Grille
  • Vogue Bistro
  • MacAlpine's Soda Fountain
  • D’Vine Bistro & Wine Bar
  • The Vig Uptown
  • America’s Taco Shop
  • Hob Nobs Coffee House
  • Thee Pitts “Again”
  • Betty's Nosh
  • Cornish Pasty Co.
  • Yupha's Thai Kitchen

A singular opportunity for fans at the CityScape event is the chance for guests to audition for the fifth season of the TV show Check, Please! Arizona, which airs on Eight, Arizona PBS.
Robert McGrath. True to his role as Check, Please! Arizona show host, Chef McGrath will lead the panel discussion once again. McGrath was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2001 and has been nominated for the prestigious award five times. McGrath has earned national acclaim for nearly two decades touting a long list of awards including “Ten Best Chefs in America” by Food & Wine magazine in 1988 and "One of the Best New Restaurants in America," Esquire magazine in 1991.

Christopher Gross. Most recently acclaimed for his Christopher’s & Crush Lounge (which has been named one of the top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot.com), Christopher Gross received the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 1995.   He has been named one of America's 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine; and also was the first chef in Arizona to receive the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence. Gross has been featured on numerous panels with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo.  And, for some fans, most noteworthy of all is Gross’ inclusion in the book and PBS television series “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs” — Julia being Julia Child, the grand dame of culinary pursuits.

Nobuo Fukuda. Most recently acclaimed for Nobuo at Teeter House (which earned a five-star rating by The Arizona Republic, a “Best Of” award by Phoenix New Times, among other rave reviews and awards), Nobuo Fukuda has been dishing out his inventive, Japanese-inspired cuisine in Arizona for more than 30 years.  In 2002, Chef Fukuda opened the Japanese tapas bar Sea Saw earning him the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2007. Winning accolades from all major local publications, Nobuo Fukuda was touted as “Chef to Watch” by Esquire magazine columnist John Mariani; and earned a spot on the "Best New Chefs of 1999" list by Food & Wine magazine.

Check, Please! Arizona on Eight.  Season four of this two-time Emmy Award-winning series premiered Jan. 2, and airs Thursdays at 7pm on Eight, Arizona PBS.  Check, Please! Arizona is continuously the highest-rated local series on Eight, hosted by James Beard Award-winning Chef Robert McGrath.  By the end of season four, more than 150 restaurants will have been featured on the show.   Fans can nominate their favorite eatery; review featured restaurants; view previous shows online; see an interactive map and even obtain recipes at azpbs.org/checkplease.
For more information on sponsorship and participation opportunities with Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival, please contact Chelsea Fox at R Entertainment Company, 480.657.7333 ext.15 or email [email protected].

About R Entertainment Company.  Led by entertainment industry veterans, R Entertainment Company is a global concert and event booking, promotion and production company, which markets and produces more than 200 dates a year. Perhaps at the top of its noteworthy culinary events portfolio is Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival.  R Entertainment Company Events & Destinations division also produces private corporate gatherings such as the American Express Chairman’s event, and the Harvey Mackay 80th Birthday Event.  www.R-Entertainment.com

Media Contact:  Colleen O’Donnell Pierce
[email protected]
(602) 496-0579
(602) 478-3867 (cell)
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