Enjoy unlimited cooking classes and more at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Harvest Festival

From November 1-November 23, 2011, people looking for the ultimate experience in food and wine should head over to New Mexico for the Santa Fe Harvest Festival. During the festival, ticket holders are entitled to unlimited cooking classes and discounts on lodging and dining, allowing them to fully experience the hospitality and food culture of the area. The kickoff for the event includes a server relay race, where teams of servers from different restaurants race around The Plaza carrying trays loaded with drinks. There will also be a Chef Showdown, a competition between chefs, as well as Bar Wars!, which will determine who is the #1 mixologist in Santa Fe (and, spectators get to sip their own cocktails at discounted prices).

Are you a fan of sampling food and wine? The Santa Fe Harvest Festival will also feature a Food & Wine Expo which will have more than 50 booths set up for food and wine tasting, culinary demonstrations and exhibits, and book signings by celebrity chefs. The week culminates in a Best of the Fest silent auction and gala dinner.

Need another reason to attend? A portion of the proceeds go to help Cooking with Kids, a nonprofit based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that works to motivate and empower elementary school children to eat healthy through hands-on learning techniques using fresh, affordable foods from different cultural backgrounds.

Chicago Gourmet festival flavors Chicago this weekend

In Chicago this weekend with an empty stomach? Then head to the third annual Chicago Gourmet festival. Hosted by “Bon Appétit” magazine, Chicago Gourmet compiles the best and brightest in Chi-town cuisine.

Event presenters include Frontera Grill’s Rick Bayless, chocolate guy Jacques Torres and former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” food guy Ted Allen, who is now something called a “food and wine ambassador” for Robert Mondavi wines. And subjects to be covered included gourmet guacamole, great steak and eggs dishes and fall foods. The fest also features live cooking demonstrations from the likes of Carlos Guytan, or Mexique and Bruce Sherman of North Pond Restaurant.

And on both days, master sommeliers will be on hand for Grand Cru Tasting events. Plus there’s a separate “Hamburger Hop” burger showdown scheduled for Friday. Cost for Chicago Gourmet is somewhat steep: $250 for the weekend or $150 for the day (the Grand Cru event and Hamburger Hop are priced separately) — but foodies will find it worthwhile.

For the full schedule of events and payment details, go to ChicagoGourmet.org.