Sip. Savor. Surf.

Pensacola Beach // September 23-24, 2016

Chew On This

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If your ideal vacation is flip-flops and a fork, we’ll see you on the sugar-white sands of Pensacola Beach in September for Taste of the Beach! This annual foodie festival showcases taste-tempting coastal delights made by Pensacola Beach’s favorite restaurants.

It’s Florida’s best seafood meets Florida’s best beach. Not just “with a beach view.” We’re talking feet in the sand, crashing waves, sunshine and shrimp.

Taste of the Beach brings the restaurants right down to the sandy shoreline for a day-long celebration of all things Southern, seafood, savory and sweet.

Presented by the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, the festival is a chance to highlight the dozens of restaurants where locals eat on a daily basis, forming the base of our culinary scene.

So if you’re a Gulf Coast seafood junkie, you’re not going to want to miss it.

The 9th Annual Taste of the Beach opens Saturday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m. when 22 of the beach’s favorite casual and fine dining restaurants, stationed in booths overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, begin serving sample-size portions of their signature dishes for $5 each throughout the day.

story_2The menu changes every year, but you’ll also find landlubber fair such as sliders, sandwiches and sweets. And yes, beer, wine and frozen alcoholic concoctions will also be available for purchase.

On center stage, an epic battle ensues at 11 a.m. with the Chef’s Challenge competition. Although every cook is accustomed to intensity in the kitchen, add to that the pressure of a live audience who’s judging your abilities, and it’s enough to make even a seasoned pro sweat.

This year, five Pensacola Beach and two downtown Pensacola chefs will be pitted against one another to see who can create the best seafood dish in less than an hour using a secret ingredient. The winning chef will walk away with a cash prize, a trophy and bragging rights for the year.

Pensacola’s Celebrity Chefs headline this year’s Taste of the Beach, taking the Gulfside Pavilion stage at 1 p.m. to spice up the food and crowds with simultaneous live cooking demonstrations.

story_3The Pensacola Celebrity Chefs include Dan Dunn of H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse, Jim Shirley of The Fish House, Gus Silivos of Skopelos at New World and Frank Taylor of Global Grill. The chefs regularly represent and promote Pensacola cuisine on a national stage.

The five celebrity chefs will have an hour to show off their very best skills to thousands of hungry, mouth-watering attendees. Heads up though! Only a select few will get to sample the dishes! So, hint hint: if you’re wanting an opportunity to actually sample each celebrity chef’s dish — attendees have the option of pre-purchasing wristbands for $20 here. Don’t miss out!

story_4From 5 to 7 p.m., festival-goers can sample nearly two dozen beers from six different local breweries. Wristbands can be purchased here for $12.

Guests are encouraged to view the live cooking demos, competitions and entertainment acts while strolling around the grounds, enjoying the signature dishes, beer, wine and frozen drinks for sale.

Tagged as “The World’s Greatest ‘80’s Experience,” glam-rock cover band, The Molly Ringwalds, return this year to close out the festival, once again, with a free concert at 7 p.m.

Taste of the Beach—it’s a foodie paradise wrapped in a beach paradise, with live music and a side of sunset.