AquaCurean, Savannah's new gourmet seafood, spirits and music celebration, will be taking place at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa from April 25-27. The final schedule of events and talent for the weekend celebration has been confirmed.
"The Liquid Chef" Junior Merino will headline the Master Chef & Mixologist Stage on April 26. Merino has successfully implemented cocktail programs and partnerships in multiple venues, including theme parks (Epcot Center), cruise ships (The Molecular Bar by Junior Merino onboard Celebrity Cruises Solstice Class) and airlines (Mexicana Airlines). He has created signature cocktails for leading restaurants and bars across the world, such as the Modern in New York City; the Ritz Carlton (42 Restaurant in White Plains, N.Y.); the ANA Hotel in Tokyo; Tequila's in Philadelphia; Malverde & La Condesa in Austin, Texas; Talavera in Miami; and more.
"I'm really excited about coming to Savannah for AquaCurean," Merino said. "It's an event that perfectly matches the branding of The Liquid Chef - elevating the appreciation for the art of the cocktail. The weekend celebration provides an opportunity for me to showcase some of the emerging trends and techniques in mixology, especially in my Saturday seminar, 'Alchemix: Fusion of the kitchen and bar.'"
Merino has also worked with celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, Peter Gabriel, Lenny Kravitz, Cindy Lauper, Michael J. Fox and Patricia Velasquez and government officials such as President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In addition to Merino's announcement, internationally renowned Master Belgian Chef Daniel Joly is also coming to Savannah for the weekend's celebrations, sponsored by Stella Artois and participating in the Best of Belgium seminar tasting April 25. Celebrated Atlanta Chef Shaun Doty of Bantam & Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy will be participating on the Master Chef & Mixologist Stage on April 26.
Todd English's acclaimed restaurant, bluezoo in Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin resort, will take center stage with Executive Chef Ryan Ratino and Star Mixologist/General Manager Chad Lobner on April 25 and 26. Food Network star and international proponent of local and sustainable seafood, Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche in Louisville, Ky., will also be a part of the Master Chef & Mixologist Stage on April 26.
The exclusive Tasting & Technique seminars are the real deal for all the serious foodies and spirit snobs. The intimate gatherings of no more than 50 people will provide incredible tastings of a wide variety of seafood and spirits. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste and learn about the unique and subtle nuances of tasting spirits with savory, spicy and/or sweet seafood pairings along with hands-on, informative chef and mixology demonstrations. The special All-Day Access Pass for April 25 includes all six seminars and the evening AquaCurean Challenge.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, April 25
AquaCurean Tasting & Technique Seminars - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa Meeting Rooms
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: $35 per seminar or $125 for the All-Day Seminar Pass
Friday All-Access Pass (includes ticket to AquaCurean Challenge from 5:30-7:30 p.m.): $175
11 a.m. - Bubbles & Oysters
Todd English's bluezoo restaurant in Orlando, Florida, Executive Chef Ryan Ratino and Star Mixologist and bluezoo General Manager Chad Lobner will be guiding us through an exciting and informative kick-off seminar of bubbles (Champagnes and sparkling wines) along with accompanying oyster delicacies from St. Jude Farms in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
12 p.m. - Gin Genies & Shrimp!
Presented by New Amsterdam Gin and Michael A. Venezia MA CSW CSS, Corporate Director of Education United Distributors Inc. The Gin Genies seminar will focus on the history of gin, classic and modern gin cocktails. Taste a variety of gin cocktails, with guest Mixologist, Jane Fishel, Food and Beverage Manager of the Andaz Hotel and some succulent shrimp dishes from Executive Chef Lauren Teague, 22 Square, Andaz Hotel.
1 p.m. - The Different Faces of Bourbon & Crab
Bourbon Tasting Panel, with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Four Roses Bourbon, Virgil Kaine Bourbon and Savannah Bourbon. Chef Amberley Stewart and the talented students of Culinard, Virginia College will be serving scrumptious tastings of the many faces of crab - from Blue, King and beyond!
2:15 p.m. - Best of Belgium!
An exclusive tasting of the best of Belgium beers with Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella Cidre. All paired with some favorite Belgian ocean delicacies from Master Chef, Daniel Joly. Souvenir Stella Artois chalice included.
3:15 p.m. - Mason Jar Goodness: The First American Whiskey!
Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon - #1 Selling Moonshine in the country, presented by Randall Roberts. Some Savannah favorite seafood specialties will also be sampled!
4:15 p.m. - Tequila 101 and Fusion from the Sea
Tres Agave presents Tequila 101 with a variety of tequila tastings with Sean Land and some great seafood samplings from Tybee Island Social Club.
7:30-10 p.m. - The AquaCurean Challenge
The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa - Harbor Ballroom & Harbor Lawn
Taste the 20 semifinalists' succulent seafood selections and the 30 semifinalists' cocktail creations at this exciting event. The winner's will all be crowned, prize money awarded and the People's Choice vote that evening could make or break the winners!
Saturday, April 26
1-5 p.m. - AquaCurean
The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa - Riverfront Esplanade
The main event will feature a wide variety of spirits, best of Belgium beers, seafood tastings from around the country - all along the beautiful riverfront.
The Master Chef & Mixologist Demonstration Stage:
1 p.m. - Shaun Doty, Bantam & Bidy/Chick-a-Biddy, Atlanta
1:45 p.m. - Todd English's bluezoo in Orlando, Fla., Executive Chef Ryan Ratino and Star Mixologist/bluezoo General Manager, Chad Lobner: "Modern Twist"
2:35 p.m. - Food Network, Chef Anthony Lamas, Seviche in Louisville, Ky.
"Southern Ingredients, Latin Spices"
3:30 p.m. - The Liquid Chef, Junior Merino, "Alchemix: Fusion of the kitchen and the bar"
4:30 p.m. - Executive Chef, Cameron Cheney, B. Tillman's
"Bourbon & Barnacles"
Attendees will also enjoy strolling the Riverfront Esplanade's tastings and demonstrations, while listening to the smooth sounds of Motown, blues, rock big band and more for the 13-piece band Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love on the concert stage.
St. Jude Farms & SeaGlass Wines Stage
1:30 p.m. - Executive Chef Kyle Hinton, St. Jude Farms: "Oysters & SeaGlass Wines"
3 p.m. - Oyster Shucking Contest
4 p.m. - Aquaculture
Sunday, April 27
12:30-3:30 p.m. - Tail-End Sunday Jazz Brunch
Cocktails, shrimp tails, grits, Bloody Mary bar, jazz and much more!
The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa - Legends Pavilion
Three brunch seatings available: 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
*Seminar schedule line-up subject to change.
Advance tickets are available online at www.aquacurean.com or at the door if tickets still available. There is limited ticket availability on some events.
Volunteer opportunities are available for all events; please register online if interested in volunteering. All volunteers who donate six or more hours of their time will earn a free ticket to a special post-AquaCurean Volunteer Appreciation Sunday Brunch at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter: @AquaCurean.