Take a tour of a historic Scranton landmark and the flavors of Northeast Pennsylvania all in one night.
The annual Evening of Fine Food and Wine returns for an 18th edition on Sunday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., in whose unique rooms guests will sample dishes from several local restaurants.
The $100 ticket gains each audience member of sampling of food from such spots as Fire and Ice on Toby Creek, Kingston Twp., and Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel and Montage Mountain Resorts, all in Scranton. Proceeds benefit the cultural center.
“It’s so important, because this is the most beautiful building in Scranton, and we need to preserve it,” said Elizabeth Murray, event co-chairwoman.
Kenny McGraw will provide music during cocktail hour, and groups then will visit rooms across the cultural center where chefs will serve tasting portions and wine. will speak with the audience about the dishes as they prepare them, and members of local media — including Times-Tribune reporters Gia Mazur and Patrice Wilding and newspaper librarian Brian Fulton — will provide background on the facility’s history.
“It’s great for the community,” Hilton chef Donnie Schmidt said, adding that the event lets the chefs break out of their “everyday routine,” too. “It definitely gives us a different outlook to the day.” 
Schmidt and Radisson chef Chris Chludzinski still were deciding on what dinner entrees to serve as of last week, while Fire and Ice chef Gary Edwards looks to make an oxtail ragu with quail hash. Wines will accompany the dishes, but event co-chairman John Murray guests also can enjoy beer pairings and cocktails that night.
Electric City Roasting Co., meanwhile, will prepare batch brews of hot coffee in addition to having cold-brew coffee on tap as guests try desserts and listen to music from the Wanabees, said Kyle Mervau, the company’s director of products.
While Montage Mountain participated in the event previously, this marks chef Tony Mendicino’s first time cooking for it. He plans to prepare a Bailey’s panacotta with Jameson salted caramel for what he expects to be a large crowd.
“(It’s) definitely going to be a good time, a great benefit,” he said.
The chefs also enjoy the camaraderie with their peers the night provides, Chludzinski noted, and he enjoys seeing familiar faces coming back year after year. Edwards said he enjoys sharing his knowledge with the patrons and connecting the culinary arts with the other arts at the cultural center, “such a wonderful facility.”
“I think they go hand in hand,” he said.
Organizers recommend guests buy tickets in advance. John Murray said they are selling fast, and only a limited amount are available.
“It’s the best event anybody will ever attend,” he said.

 

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