10th Anniversary Devour Culinary Classic Celebrates a Decade of Showcasing Arizona’s Culinary Talent | Desert Botanical Garden


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10th Anniversary Devour Culinary Classic Celebrates a Decade of Showcasing Arizona’s Culinary Talent

October 24, 2018


Erica Fetherston, Local First Arizona: erica@localfirstaz.com, 602-956-0909 ext. 7
Dana Terrazas, Desert Botanical Garden: dterrazas@dbg.org, 480.481.8101
Gretchen Harper, Arizona Business Committee for the Arts: gretchen@saaca.org, 520-797-3959

10th Anniversary Devour Culinary Classic Celebrates a Decade of Showcasing Arizona’s Culinary Talent

Phoenix, Arizona (October 1, 2018) – The most anticipated culinary event in the region, the Devour Culinary Classic returns to Desert Botanical Garden for its 10th anniversary celebration February 17-24, 2019. Over the last decade, the event has brought together the culinary and beverage leaders who have established Arizona as a sought-after destination. The Devour Culinary Classic has been named Best Southwestern Culinary Festival by New York Times, Best Food Festival by Phoenix Magazine, Best Culinary Festival from the Phoenix New Times, and Best Food Event from azcentral.

As in years past, the Devour Culinary Classic will continue to be one of the state’s most collaborative and creative food-centered events. Unlike other food festivals, the Devour Culinary Classic intentionally focuses on local talent.

“Our main objective is to support the development and promotion of the culinary and extended local food community and culture in Arizona, bringing deserved local and national attention to our state’s food scene,” said Thomas Barr, Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Ten years later after this event started, we can really see the effect it has had on building Phoenix and Arizona as a culinary destination.”

In celebration of the Devour Culinary Classic’s 10th Anniversary, added experiences include signature art installations, a giant 10th Anniversary Birthday Cake, photo opportunities in the Garden, and 10th Anniversary Recipe Cards from featured chefs and more.

“Does it get any better than strolling through the magnificent Southwest landscape, noshing on deliciously crafted small plates while sipping Arizona wines under the springtime desert sun? Not to me, or to the thousands of enthusiastic attendees who sell out Devour year after year,” said Howard Seftel, renowned and retired Arizona food critic who has attended the Devour Culinary Classic over the last decade. “What makes Devour stand out year after year is the chef participation list. It’s filled with Arizona’s top chefs, who aren’t into Food Network appearances, building restaurant empires or becoming celebrities. They are craftsmen and women, working chefs, in their kitchens night after night making sure your meal is up to standard. Many of them may still be under the radar nationally, but I’m not being a hometown booster when I say that they can compete with the best chefs in New York or San Francisco.”

Event Details

The 2019 Devour Culinary Classic promises to present the very best that Arizona’s culinary scene has to offer with even more opportunities to connect with Arizona’s local culinary culture. One hundred percent of all proceeds from the annual Devour Culinary Classic benefit the community efforts of Local First Arizona, Desert Botanical Garden, and Arizona Business Committee for the Arts (AZBCA).


  • Date: Saturday, February 23, and Sunday, February 24, 2019
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Media/VIP Hour: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Location: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008


One of Arizona’s most celebrated chefs, Silvana Salcido Esparza, will headline the VIP area at the 2019 Devour Culinary Classic. Esparza is a baker’s daughter, an activist and a chef. She comes from a long line of cooks and bakers and was trained by her grandmother and parents, in business and in the kitchen. Now she’s busy training the next generation. Esparza creates award-winning food and restaurants in Phoenix, where she is celebrated for her contributions to the city’s vibrant profile. Her food has been featured in Esquire Magazine, and on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Esparza has been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award numerous times and has been inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame.

“It’s an honor to a VIP chef for the 10th anniversary of Devour,” said Esparza. “When Devour started 10 years ago, the food scene here was almost nonexistent. Sure, there were some good chefs and some of us were gaining national attention, but the culinary events were very corporate, they didn’t have substance and truth like Devour. Even today, they don’t have the depth or diversity of Devour.”

Esparza created the acclaimed restaurants Barrio Cafe and now Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva. Barrio Café Gran Reserva opened June 2016, offering a more adventurous “Menu de Gustacion” (Tasting Menu) along with a small selection of her iconic dishes. “The audience here in Arizona wasn’t ready for Gran Reserva 16 years ago, or I would’ve opened it then. But now here we are the culinary scene has advanced to embrace a menu like ours,” said Esparza.

The entire talent lineup for the 2019 Devour Culinary Classic is being finalized. A continuously updated list of confirmed talent can be found at classic.devourphoenix.com/talent/. A list of chefs and their corresponding day of participation along with VIP Lounge features will be available on the website when tickets are released. A final list of talent will be posted and distributed in January, 2019.

Devour Week Events

As in years past, the Devour Culinary Classic will host a series of pre-events ahead of the main event to extend the culinary celebration all week long. Event details subject to change, and other events may be added at a later date.

  • Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition: Sunday February 17th, Location & Time TBD – Kick off Devour Week and celebrate the best of local cocktail culture at the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Attendees can root for their favorite bartenders from the Devour Phoenix Coalition of restaurants as they sip on their competition creations. Facing a celebrity lineup of judges and armed with a selection of Arizona’s best locally distilled spirits, local bartenders will be up on stage shaking it up to take the title as Arizona’s Star Bartender.
  • Devour The World: Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Japanese Friendship Garden (1125 North 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ, 85003), $75 – East meets west, north, and south returns at the 2nd annual Devour the World event that celebrates the international flavors of Phoenix. Unwind in the serene Japanese Friendship Garden as you taste the multicultural cuisines from the regions of your favorite countries. Chefs and restaurant lineup will be announced on November 1, 2018. Tickets are $75 and include libation and food sampling from up to 20 regional restaurants and chefs. Presented by Phoenix Magazine, Arizona Business Committee for the Arts, and Local First Arizona.

Ticketing Details

Ticket Sales Dates

2019 ticket sales will open first to members of the coordinating organizations. Following the exclusive member pre-sale, tickets will open to the general public.

  • Member Pre-Sale: Active members of the Local First Arizona Localist program, Desert Botanical Garden, and the Arizona Business Committee for the Arts are eligible to purchase tickets for the Devour Culinary Classic and other Devour Week events beginning on Wednesday, November 1, 2018. Members will be given details for purchasing tickets by their respective organizations.
  • General Ticket Sale: Tickets for the Devour Culinary Classic and other Devour Week events will be available to the public beginning Monday, November 9, 2018. Tickets are limited and those interested in attending Devour Culinary Classic events are encouraged to explore membership options with LFA, the Garden, and AZBCA to take advantage of the member pre-sale. Tickets will be available for purchase at classic.devourphoenix.com/tickets.

Ticket Packages

For the 2019 Devour Culinary Classic, there are two different ticket packages available. Cost of ticket package includes ticketing and processing fees. Packages are available for both Saturday, February 23, and Sunday, February 24, 2019. Packages are available for single day attendance only, those interested in attending both Saturday and Sunday must purchase those respective packages.

  • The Tasting Package – $105: The Tasting Package offers the essential experience allowing guests to sample and enjoy the best local restaurants and food while strolling Desert Botanical Garden.
    • One Day General Admission to Devour Culinary Classic
    • Access to Hensley/Quench Beverage Garden
    • Access to Hensley/Quench Wine Sales area, with an exclusive selection of wine and spirits available at discounted prices
    • Access to Chef Demos
    • Commemorative Passport
    • Reusable Wine Glass and Yolk
    • Lyft Discount
  • *NEW* VIP Package – $205: The VIP Package is for those looking to have a truly unique experience. Get personal with chefs who pride themselves on the cuisine and culture of Arizona, enjoy exclusive access to new event features, and stroll through the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden while sampling the best of local food and drink.
    • The 2019 Devour VIP Dorrance Hall Lounge will feature an immersive experience of entertainment, food exhibitions, passed Hors d’Oeuvres, sparkling wines, with luxurious and relaxed seating. Rub elbows with Devour special guests, celebrities, media and food judges throughout the day. Commemorative VIP Canvas Swag Bag, with a visit to the Foodie Garden, featuring event recipe cards, special gifts and more
    • Early Admission increased to 1.5 hours and Reserved Parking for One Day to the Devour Culinary Classic
    • Two Tickets for a return attendance to Desert Botanical Garden’s Electric Desert | A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective ($70 value). Cactus and desert become a living canvas in this nighttime experience, taking visitors on an immersive journey through the Garden using light and original music.
    • Access to all participating chef and purveyor menu tastings and experience
    • Access to Hensley/Quench Beverage Garden
    • Access to all featured culinary demos, and education sessions
    • Live Music and Arts Experiences throughout the Garden
    • Reusable Wine Glass and Yoke
    • Lyft discount PLUS

More details with regard to ticket package benefits to be announced in the coming months on the website at https://classic.devourphoenix.com/ All other event details and updates regarding the Devour Culinary Classic will be posted to devourphoenix.com/classic.

Official event hashtag: #DevourPhoenix. Follow @DevourPhoenix on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.

About Local First Arizona

Founded in 2003 by Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is a statewide non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through growing, supporting, and celebrating locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona. LFA seeks to promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating consumers, stakeholders, business leaders, and policymakers about local business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, environmental kinship, and collaboration. Visit www.localfirstaz.com for more information and a directory of more than 3,000 locally owned businesses.

About Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the Southwest, featuring 50,000 plants from across the world. The Garden allows visitors to experience the beauty of the desert like never before. For 78 years, the Garden’s commitment to the community is to advance excellence in education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants of the world with an emphasis on the Southwestern United States. Visit dbg.org for more.

About the Arizona Business Committee for the Arts

The Arizona Business Committee for the Arts (AZBCA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. AZBCA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, AZBCA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages. Visit https://www.saaca.org/artsintegration.html for more.###



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