Chew On This
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 daylong 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 10th Annual Taste of the Beach opens Saturday, Sept. 16, at 10:30 a.m. when 23 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.
The 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.
Kicking off the day-long festivities at 10:30 am is the amateur chef team challenge, where teams of three compete using a secret ingredient in a timed cooking competition.
Following the team challenge, at 11 a.m., the winning bartender of the Taste of the Beach signature drink contest will take the stage to demonstrate his/her cocktail – which will then be available for purchase the remainder of the day.
On center stage, an epic battle ensues at 11:30 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.
The Pensacola Beach 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.
The Pensacola Beach Celebrity Chefs include Jere Doyle of Crabs We Got ‘Em, Dan Dunn of H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, Gregg McCarthy of The Grand Marlin, Dennis Moore of Flounder’s Chowder House, and John Smith of Hemingway’s Island Grill.
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!
From 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.
A free concert will wrap up the day-long festival beginning 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.