Food & Drink

Culinary event narrows its focus

Call it a slightly quieter Shout.

The Charlotte Shout's Culinary Arts Experience returns Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, in a tighter, simpler form.

There will still be headline-worthy names on stage, like Cat Cora of “ Iron Chef America,” Asian cooking expert Martin Yan and Curtis Stone of “ Take Home Chef.”

There will still be restaurants serving up small plates, the three cooking schools and plenty of free samples floating through the audience.

But there won't be a ticket-only gala on Thursday night.

And the Friday and Saturday events will follow a tighter, more focused schedule.

If you remember past years when Shout sprawled across several days, that actually makes things easier to follow. And the location is new: the campus of Johnson & Wales University, 801 W. Trade St.

Friday's event will be 5-10 p.m., including 14 local restaurants, the three cooking schools – run by Johnson & Wales University, Compass Group and Presbyterian Cardiovascular Institute – plus Discover Wine With Robert Mondavi and a Grey Goose Martini Bar with three-martini samples for $10.

Cooking on the main stage kicks off at 7 p.m. with Billy Strynkowski of Cooking Light, followed by Yan at 8 p.m. and Cora at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, everything repeats starting at 1 p.m. On stage, some of the food personalities will include Rick Browne of “ Barbecue America,” Peter Reinhart of Johnson & Wales, Strynkowski, Charlotte chef Chris Ivens-Brown, Latin American TV chef Lorena Garcia, mixologist Ron Patric and Stone, The Learning Channel's “Take Home Chef.”

Most of Shout's culinary events are free.

You do need to buy tokens for the restaurant booths – most plates are four to six tokens, roughly $4 to $6. You pay separately for things like the Grey Goose Martini Bar (over 21 only).

For the full schedule, go to charlotteshout.com.

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