Every year, Phoenix foodies eagerly await the most anticipated culinary event in Arizona, the Devoured Food + Wine Classic. This year was no different. In its fifth year at the Phoenix Art Museum in the city’s downtown, Devoured satisfied more than just sophisticated palates. Newly released economic figures show Phoenix’s top food and wine festival to have an annual financial impact of $743,435, owing to influx from ticket sales, food purchases, sponsorship, marketing and travel expenses.
Food local spotlight
Devoured Food + Wine Classic 2014 Attracts Over 3 Thousand Foodies to Metro Phoenix, Festival Sold Out Months in AdvanceMarch 11, 2014
“Devoured is a true representation of the talented chefs and restaurants that exist here in Phoenix, as well as a forum to highlight the impact that promoting local talent has on our local economy,” stated Kimber Lanning, founder of Devoured and Local First Arizona, a coalition of Arizona-based businesses.
While once considered a culinary desert, Phoenix is now far removed from associations with strip-mall chain restaurants and unimaginative fare. Today’s chef-driven restaurants feature talent from around the globe, with Michelin star credentials and pedigrees of the sort one would expect to find in foodie hotspots such as Chicago, San Francisco and Aspen.
This years highlights included:
300 exclusive tickets were sold per day that allowed VIP attendees into the festival an hour before general admission begins. VIP ticket-holders received a more personal experience with the chefs as well as the opportunity to beat the crowds.
VIP ticket-holders received access to a VIP lounge, where they will be treated to exclusive wine tastings, meetings with chefs and cooking demonstrations.
New eco-friendly measures were in place which reduced festival waste. Reusable plates are to be incorporated for chefs and guests.
Increased festival space enabled a larger number of patrons to enjoy the attractions.
The culinary scene in Phoenix has advanced recently owing to a foodie movement that has embraced the culture of farm-to-table, community supported agriculture and sustainability. With everything from sunflower-based bio fuels grown by high-schoolers to subscription-based Chow Locally produce boxes, Phoenix’s food revolution is well underway and already accruing praise from local chefs.
“The farmers’ markets have taken hold, which is great for local farmers, restaurants and the public,” explains Justin Beckett of acclaimed restaurant Beckett’s Table. “I also think that, in general, we are supporting and rooting for the little guy and/or the independent restaurants. I think that Phoenix is trying really hard to be a food town.”
“The success of Devoured is a reflection of these efforts and highlights the positive changes in the culinary community that are the work of talented, energetic individuals, including chefs and restaurateurs, whose goal it is to transform the national image of Phoenix into a dining destination,” Lanning stated.
Food festivals have proven to be a worthy investment for local economies, as recent studies show. These festivals are steadily growing in popularity in cities across the nation, from large towns, like Charleston, NC, to smaller communities, such as Fayetteville, Ark. In 2012, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience drew 11,000 visitors, 82 percent of which were out-of-towners who spent upwards of $492 a day on their festival experience.
Phoenix organizers are hopeful that Devoured will see a similar trajectory, as it becomes a fixture in the national gastro festival scene. “As Devoured grows in popularity, it will continue to put Phoenix on the map as a culinary destination. This, in turn, will increase investment in local restaurants year round–from locals and tourists,” said Lanning.
The title sponsor this year was Alliance Bank.
The Devoured Food + Wine Classic 2015 preparations are already underway.
For more information, visit www.devouredphoenix.com.
About Devoured Food + Wine Classic
Devoured Food + Wine Classic is the annual signature culinary celebration hosted by Devour Phoenix, a coalition of select, independent restaurants operating under the Local First Arizona umbrella. Devour Phoenix is working to maintain a forum for sharing ideas, strengthening purchasing power, and leveraging marketing dollars to advance dining in the Phoenix area. The mission is to create an image for Phoenix as a respected destination for dining and culinary exploration, to share resources to strengthen and grow restaurants in Phoenix and to manage and host events such as culinary festivals and restaurant crawls that will build awareness for Phoenix restaurants while identifying and encouraging the use of local agriculture and local artisans as a means for increasing sustainability in the region. For more information, visit http://www.devouredphoenix.com
About Local First Arizona
Founded in 2003 by Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is the largest alliance of independent businesses in North America, working to strengthen communities and local economies through supporting, maintaining and celebrating locally owned businesses and talent throughout the state of Arizona. LFA educates citizens, stakeholders, business leaders and legislators about the significant environmental, economic and cultural benefits of strong local economies. Visitwww.localfirstaz.com for more information and a directory of thousands of locally owned businesses.
About Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum has provided access to visual arts and educational programs in Arizona for more than 50 years and is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States. Critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions are shown alongside the Museum’s collection of more than 17,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art and fashion design. Visitors also enjoy vibrant photography exhibitions through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit PhxArt.org.