Sarasota, FL – (November 2, 2016) – The James Beard House in New York City has announced that Sarasota, Florida-based Chef Christopher Covelli and Chef Paul Mattison will be guest chefs on Saturday, December 3, 2016. The six-course wine-pairing dinner is presented by the Florida Winefest & Auction with wine-pairings by The Wagner Family of Wines featuring Conundrum, Emmolo, Mer Soleil, Caymus, and the new Red Schooner Malbec.

The dinner is open to 80 guests and tickets are $135 – $210 per person depending upon membership status. Proceeds benefit Caring for Children Charities, the fundraising arm of Florida Winefest & Auction in an effort to raise more funding to benefit charities assisting disadvantaged children. The Board of Directors of the Florida Winefest & Auction celebrated 26 years in 2016. Over $8 million has been awarded to local disadvantaged children’s programs in total. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future. Towards this end, chefs are invited to “perform” at the Beard House by presenting dinners to Foundation members and the public.

Each Spring, Sarasota turns into “THE” wine lover’s destination and presents a beloved multi-day event offering Wine & Winemaker Dinners; Bayfront Showcase Lunch Tasting; Banquet on the Block; Grand Tasting, Brunch and Charity Auction;and Wine on the Water. Guests can raise their bid paddle for some of the best auction lots in the wine business from around the world as well as art,
trips and luxury items. David Elswood of Christie’s, London celebrated his 21st year as auctioneer.
The non-profit Florida Winefest & Auction provides funding to qualified charitable organizations for programs assisting disadvantaged children, youth and families. They present a variety of fundraising events similar to the James Beard dinner year-round.

With over one million visitors a year, Sarasota has become known regionally, nationally and internationally as one of “THE” top Florida West Coast destinations. USA Today ranked Winefest as one of the country’s best charitable events. The New York Times has recommended Winefest as a travel bucket list if you have “a passion for food, cooking, wine and spirits Sarasota is the place to be.” The list of exhibiting wineries is always prestigious, having resulted in some of the most influential wine critics offering rave reviews through the years.

The board is made of friends who have worked together for a long time including celebrity chefs Paul Mattison and Chris Covelli. Both are dedicated to the cause of helping disadvantaged children in the community eat, sleep, and be educated is their top (our remove) priority.

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, Chef Christopher Covelli was trained by world-renowned chefs including Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin and Alain Saihac. He specializes in Classic French, Italian and Spanish cuisine as well as American Haute Cuisine. Chef Covelli has been showcased on a number of TV shows around the country, including the Food Network and Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. He appeared on the Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay” that aired August 18, 2016. He has worked from New England to Europe and was the owner and chef of L’Uva Restaurant on Cape Cod, MA. Chef Covelli has earned five Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence among other numerous cooking awards. Chef Covelli’s cooking expertise earned him invitations as guest chef for five James Beard Foundation Dinners in New York City. He will again be showcased this December 3, 2016 alongside Board Member and Sarasota celebrity Chef Paul Mattison.

Florida-based Chef Paul Mattison will be a guest chef this December 3rd at the James Beard House and make a special appearance at the Williams-Sonoma store on September 10, 2016. In January 2016, Chef Paul Mattison was a guest speaker in a joint discussion and presentation with scientists from NASA discussing the connection with the International Space Station’s Veggies in Space program and working with local students showcasing a school garden Chef Paul Mattison helped to created replicating the NASA program. He was invited to participate in the prestigious American Harvest Workshop in Napa Valley, California in September, 2015. Hosted by Cakebread Cellars, he was one of five Chefs in the nation selected to attend this annual event.
Chef Paul Mattison is executive chef and proprietor of Mattison’s, an award-winning culinary group on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Located in Sarasota, each of his popular restaurant locations are unique to its neighborhood, offering Chef Paul Mattison’s signature menu items. His cookbook CHEF: The Story and Recipes of Chef Paul Mattison, features over 100 recipes with a Mediterranean flair. The book has generated rave reviews during book signings and personal appearances from Florida to California. Catering in-house and off-site, Mattison’s Catering Company offers certified wedding and event planners, experienced professionals, and customized menus.

In September 2001, Chef Paul Mattison and Tampa-based Jason Sango created the Mattison’s concept which includes: 1) Mattison’s Catering Company, a full service in-house and off-site catering company 2) Mattison’s City Grille, an award-winning al fresco restaurant in downtown Sarasota 3) Mattison’s Forty-One, a highly acclaimed local restaurant boasting comfortable elegance in South Sarasota 4) Mattison’s Bayside at the Van Wezel, the official in-house caterer at the waterfront Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall offering pre-show dining and events and 5)Mattison’s Culinary Adventure Travel, a personalized tour operator offering an irreplaceable hands-on culinary experience filled with history, culture, tradition and of course amazing meals.

Cindy Cockburn
CC Communications
727 432 5862

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