The Grand Plan for PBFWF’s Grand Tasting

Chef Lindsay Autry, photo by South Moon Photography

If you’re cooking for a couple thousand people, you need a plan. Luckily for those attending the Dec. 15 Wine Spectator’s Grand Tasting (as part of the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival), local celeb Chef Lindsay Autry is on top of it. As usual. 

Autry and dozens of other chefs will feed a huge crowd at the Palm Beach Convention Center, which can seem overwhelming when entering the vast space crawling with hungry people, food, drinks, music, more food… 

I caught up with Autry, co-partner and founder of West Palm Beach’s The Regional Kitchen & Public House, and asked for some strategy:

The Grand Tasting can be a bit surprising for first-time attendees. Where do you suggest folks start?

“The best way is to research who’s going to be there – and especially with a copy of the program – it’s a good opportunity to sample food or check out the station of a restaurant you haven’t been to before. I try to make a top 10 list of the ones I want to hit first.”

What is your plan for The Regional’s serving station? 

“As a chef – for a large-format tasting event – the way I approach it (when I’m cooking for a couple thousand people), is I make something well represented from the restaurant, but also something that gives me time to interact with people. I tend to try things that are vegetable-focused or lighter.” 

Autry’s Southern Revival lunch at The Regional is sold out, as it has been each year. But tickets to the Grand Tasting are available (as well as a few other events), and at $95 per person are some of the least expensive on the schedule.

Along with dozens of restaurants and coffee houses/bars, wine samplings, spirit tastings, desserts – will be the Grand Chef Throwdown, where three local chefs compete for a $10,000 charity prize. Judges are chefs Robert Irvine and Adam Richman.

Wine Spectator’s Grand Tasting, Palm Beach Convention Center, Dec. 15, 3 p.m.