After more than a year of planning the finish line is in sight for Cleveland Eats, a two-day culinary festival happening next weekend organized by the Hospitality Management Center of Excellence at Cuyahoga Community College.
"Not everyone can get ten or 15 of the city's top chefs talking to each other — they're really busy guys and gals, and it's a very intense business — but this program is a place where they like to seed, it's a place where they hire graduates," says Michael Huff, the hospitality management school's dean. "It's a natural pairing."
Huff spent a year hitting just about every festival in Cleveland and neighboring cities in anticipation of the event, and he gathered a Culinary Council chockfull of notable names like Ben Bebenroth, Jonathan Bennett, Brandt Evans, Heather Haviland, Douglas Katz, Jonathon Sawyer, and Karen Small to help guide the process.
The resulting fest, spanning two days (Sept 14-15), will feature food, music, beer and more. Tickets for Saturday's main event featuring food from 30-plus restaurants are just $5 (all food tastings and beverages will be purchased individually). Friday features a food truck happy hour with local music on Mall B. Tickets and more information can be found at the fest's site
"Our students are the next generation, and we're trying to connect to all things Cleveland culinary," says Huff. "Cleveland has very deep ethnic culinary roots, and we currently have a very vibrant food scene, and we love our restaurants. The festival connects the past, present and our students, who are the future. The college was the perfect lynchpin to connect the community and the city for an event of this size. This weekend we finally get to show Cleveland what we've been working on."