Wild Boar Sliders and Reserve Chardonnay Worth Nearly a Million for Devoured Food + Wine Classic

Phoenix earns its title as an emerging gastro hotspot, bringing national fame and economic boost to local culinary community

Phoenix, AZ, September 11, 2013 --(PR.com)-- Every year, Phoenix foodies eagerly await the most anticipated culinary event in Arizona, the Devoured Food + Wine Classic. In its fifth year at the Phoenix Art Museum in the city’s downtown, Devoured is satisfying more than just sophisticated palates. Newly released economic figures show Phoenix’s top food and wine festival to have an annual financial impact of $743,435, owing to influx from ticket sales, food purchases, sponsorship, marketing and travel expenses.

“Devoured is a true representation of the talented chefs and restaurants that exist here in Phoenix, as well as a forum to highlight the impact that promoting local talent has on our local economy,” stated Kimber Lanning, founder of Devoured and Local First Arizona, a coalition of Arizona-based businesses.

While once considered a culinary desert, Phoenix is now far removed from associations with strip-mall chain restaurants and unimaginative fare. Today’s chef-driven restaurants feature talent from around the globe, with Michelin star credentials and pedigrees of the sort one would expect to find in foodie hotspots such as Chicago, San Francisco and Aspen.

The culinary scene in Phoenix has advanced recently owing to a foodie movement that has embraced the culture of farm-to-table, community supported agriculture and sustainability. With everything from sunflower-based bio fuels grown by high-schoolers to subscription-based Chow Locally produce boxes, Phoenix’s food revolution is well underway and already accruing praise from local chefs.

“The farmers’ markets have taken hold, which is great for local farmers, restaurants and the public,” explains Justin Beckett of acclaimed restaurant Beckett’s Table. “I also think that, in general, we are supporting and rooting for the little guy and/or the independent restaurants. I think that Phoenix is trying really hard to be a food town.”

“The success of Devoured is a reflection of these efforts and highlights the positive changes in the culinary community that are the work of talented, energetic individuals, including chefs and restaurateurs, whose goal it is to transform the national image of Phoenix into a dining destination,” Lanning stated.

Food festivals have proven to be a worthy investment for local economies, as recent studies show. These festivals are steadily growing in popularity in cities across the nation, from large towns, like Charleston, SC, to smaller communities, such as Fayetteville, Ark. In 2012, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience drew 11,000 visitors, 82 percent of which were out-of-towners who spent upwards of $492 a day on their festival experience.

Phoenix organizers are hopeful that Devoured will see a similar trajectory, as it becomes a fixture in the national gastro festival scene. “As Devoured grows in popularity, it will continue to put Phoenix on the map as a culinary destination. This, in turn, will increase investment in local restaurants year round--from locals and tourists,” said Lanning.

Ticket sales showcase Devoured’s widespread appeal; the festival sold out in its two most recent outings, and Devoured 2014, with its new VIP focus, is expected to do the same.

Changes to the 2014 festival include:

300 exclusive tickets per day will allow VIP attendees into the festival an hour before general admission begins. VIP ticket-holders can expect a more personal experience with the chefs as well as the opportunity to beat the crowds.

VIP ticket-holders receive access to a VIP lounge, where they will be treated to exclusive wine tastings, meetings with chefs and cooking demonstrations.

New eco-friendly measures aim to reduce festival waste. Reusable plates are to be incorporated for chefs and guests.

Increased festival space will enable a larger number of patrons to enjoy the attractions.

The Devoured Food + Wine Classic will take place March 1st and March 2nd at the Phoenix Art Museum.

For more information, visit www.devouredphoenix.com.
Devoured Food + Wine Classic
Sarah Broome