5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
VIP Kickoff + Chef Showdown
The weekend will begin at The Port from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with a roster of high profile guests, an open bar, a wine pull and live auction benefiting Make-A-Wish Alabama, high-end wine tastings, a signature drinks from John Emerald Distillery, and small bites. Guests can have a front-row view as three local chefs battle it out during the Chef Showdown. This competition will test the culinary skills and quick-thinking of these chefs, as the rules challenge them to cook against the clock, use Alabama Gulf Seafood and include mystery ingredients. The showdown will be hosted by Texas-born, Georgia-transplant Ford Fry. Chef Fry is both a culinary powerhouse, as well as managing partner of over a dozen nationally celebrated restaurants. Alongside him for the evening will be Laura Bento, the southern beauty behind Good Grit Magazine. This year’s panel of judges for the showdown is quite the pack of heavy-hitting talent. The table will be comprised of dynamic husband and wife duo, Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst, Andy Chapman from Eat Y’all and Eat Jackson fame and local boy Brody Olive, Executive Chef at the Perdido Beach Resort and 2017 Wharf Uncorked Grand Tasting champion. Witness as they use their discerning pallets to award 2018’s champion. James and Brooke will also be signing copies of their latest cookbook throughout the event.