Luv Luv Festival brings the culinary community to the table
The culinary event that sets the standard for the community in Winston-Salem is about to get lit.
Dr. Brownstone’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival will pop up on the grounds of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar on Aug. 15 beginning at 5 p.m.
Dr. Brownstone, aka, Chef Tim Grandinetti, originally launched Luv Luv in St. Louis in 2010 before an opportunity sent him to Winston-Salem. Now chef and partner at Spring House, Grandinetti wanted to create an event that brought the culinary community together.
“It all started on a cocktail napkin,” he said. “To bring farmers, artisans, producers, cooks to share the bonds of culinary brotherhood…the culinary love.” It then became Luv Luv. “A couple of drinks in and it was Sweet Summer Luv Luv,” Grandinetti added. Chefs from all over the United States and Canada have joined the popular Luv Luv events in the past.
I was fortunate enough to attend Luv Luv early on in my foodie writing adventures and it was at Luv that I saw how Winston-Salem is leading the Triad when it comes to bringing community in the food scene. It was here that I saw chefs who work in competing kitchens and restaurants gather as one with a single mission: Working together to plate us creative food and deliciousness.
And even though the festival has been graced by chefs from the international scene, the crowning glory of the week is always the night when culinarians from the local area light up the grills. That sets the stage for a slight change in Luv Luv this year. It will now be one night only.
Why the change?
“Everyone’s schedule is crazy busy and five to eight chefs at the same time is hard to schedule,” Grandinetti said. “All the usual suspects have a career trajectory that is upward and going amazingly.”
The chef said he’s going to take full advantage of all the local chef festival for 2018.
“The live local aspect is the most popular and so fun anyway,” he said. “We’re gonna just hit it out of the park. The local night has always shown the bond and love Winston-Salem has right here in the community and it reflects my friendship with these chefs, now that I’ve been here for 10 years. We have a great deal of respect for one another. It’s all about friendship and what we do best.”
Grandinetti said it takes no convincing to ask his chef friends to join him at Luv Luv.
“These chefs simply always say ‘yes! What do you need?’ or they’re asking me ‘When is the Luv?’”
Of course, if you’ve ever met Chef Grandinetti, you know his exuberance makes it impossible to say no.
This year’s lineup features familiar faces but some exciting new additions:
Chef Jeff Bacon, Providence Restaurant
Chef Jared Tipton, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
Chef Chris Fulk, Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar
Chef Mark Grohman, Meridian Restaurant
Pitmaster Mark Little, Bib’s Downtown
Chef Shane Moore, Foothills Brewing & Footnote
Chef Travis Myers, Willow’s Bistro
Chef Tina Hodges, Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar
Chef Greg Rollins, The Graylyn Estate
Chef John Wilson, Sophie’s Cork & Ale
What will they be making? The chefs each offer two small plates or 20 tapas for the guests. One must be barbecue inspired, and the other inspired by the farm; either the farmer’s market or they’ll be partnered with a farmer or feature items they grew themselves.
“There will be pig everywhere, but we like the chefs to bring in different styles of cooking, different mindsets, wonderful vegetarian dishes, cheesy dishes with bread,” Grandinetti said. “There will be a wide variety of tastes to enjoy.”
Also different, it’s all done as a reception-style culinary walkabout where guests will graze and even award tokens for their favorite dishes. Top People’s Choice scores will be gifted with a bag of swag.
Grandinetti said the whole cooking soiree is really about friendship.
“To be able to call upon my colleague and peers…it’s just so cool,” he said. “And to meet someone new and cook with them like, John Wilson of Sophie’s, it’s the reason I do this. There’s always something new and exciting. And the camaraderie is what keeps the cooks who love food and the people who love food coming back.”
Wilson said he’s stoked about being a part of it this year.
“I haven’t had the chance to meet chef Tim all these years and when he reached out to me for an invitation for Luv Luv festival I was more than excited, and what an honor to cook with some of the best local chefs.”
“We’re all so busy,” Grandinetti added. “Life goes by so quickly. It’s so nice to take a night to cook together and break bread together and just catch up.”
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.
Dr. Brownstone’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival is Wednesday, Aug. 15 at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar in Winston-Salem. The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a “Lemonade and Whiskey” Mix & Mingle on the Spring House Terrace– a cash bar featuring Sutler’s Spirit Company, Muddy River Distillery & TOPO Organic Spirits at Top of the Hill Distillery. Dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. The ticket price is $44 plus taxes and gratuity. Beverages are not included. Reservations are strongly suggested by calling (336) 293-4747.