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The Good Life Festival Presented: wine tasting ~ food trucks ~ celebrity chefs ~ live music

Feb 9, 2013

The Good Life Festival Presented:

wine tasting ~ food trucks ~ celebrity chefs ~ live music

Saturday, February 9th

Food Network Stars & Celebrity Chefs Tyler Florence and Duff Goldman hosted a day devoted to wine tasting, gourmet food trucks, celebrity chefs, live music, and Valentine’s gifts.

The Recap:

It’s not every day that you see food trucks rolling onto the golf course of a high-end country club. Add to that live cooking demonstrations from Food Network celebrity chefs, wine and beer tasting, and classic rock hits from Fleetwood Mac tribute band Bella Donna, and you have the recipe for our first food festival.

On February 9, a few thousand foodies and festival-goers braved the chilly weather and streamed into The Good Life Festival at Encanterra to everything from tacos and lobster rolls, to grilled cheese and pulled pork from 16 of the best gourmet food trucks.  The event centered around romance, offering guests the ultimate pre-Valentine’s day shopping and noshing experience.

The celebrity chefs rose to the occasion by preparing and serving romance-inspired fare and sweet treats.  The line-up on the Jenn Air Cooking Demonstration stage included chef and Petite Maison owner James Porter, restaurateur and Valley chef Aaron May, Phoenix confectioner Julia Baker, and Food Network celebrity chefs Tyler Florence (host of The Great Food Truck Race) and Duff Goldman (from Charm City Cakes and Ace of Cakes).

Live music from Bella Donna, a Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac tribute band, rounded out the day, leaving attendees with a swig of nostalgia to wash down all of delicious food of the day.


  • Gourmet Food from the most popular Valley Food Trucks
  • The Jenn-Air® stage featured a non-stop schedule of exciting Chef Demonstrations
  • Food Network celebrity chefs Tyler Florence & Duff Goldman
  • The Valley’s own baker to the stars, Julia Baker
  • Aaron May and James Porter, two of Phoenix’s hottest chefs
  • Wine tasting from a variety of vineyards


The celebrity chefs in attendance included:

  • Duff Goldman, Food Network star of smash hit Ace of Cakes
  • Tyler Florence, Food Network star of The Great Food Truck Race
  • Julia Baker, the Valley’s finest chocolatier and baker to the stars
  • Aaron May & James Porter, two of Phoenix’s hottest chefs
  • Ann Nolan, Culinary Training Chef for Jenn-Air Appliances

Food Trucks:

The food trucks in attendance included:

Burgers Amore dishes up made-to-order and freshly grilled beef burgers, chicken burgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, salmon burgers, bison burgers and pork burgers. Family owned and operated, Burgers Amore has been serving the Phoenix Metropolitan area since 1973.
Lulu’s Italian Ice features Italian flavored ice made fresh daily with seasonal fruit, 100 percent natural fruit juices, cane sugar and the best flavorings. Smooth like ice cream, but made without dairy, the Natale family brings this unique treat from Philadelphia and New York to the Valley. Flavors include all natural lemon and mango, plus kid favorites like cotton candy, blue raspberry and cherry.
Maine Lobster Lady’s lobster shack on wheels offers diners the “Ultimate White Meat.” Responsibly harvested and sustainable, Maine Lobster is healthy, low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein, and off-the-chart delicious. Order up a lobster roll “Traditional Style” with chunks of chilled lobster meat tossed with a touch of lemon aioli in a butter grilled roll, or try it warm, drizzled with melted butter.
Mister Softee has been bringing ice cream treats curbside since 1956. Mister Softee offers freshly made soft serve ice cream sundaes, soda floats, cones, cups, banana splits and shakes.
Old Dixie’s Kitchen gives Chef Michael Babcock a chance to share a true taste of authentic southern cuisine with the people of Phoenix. House (aka truck) specials include fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches, red beans and rice, Carolina style pulled pork, gumbo, and housemade boudin sausage.
Pizza People are serving up pie on the fly. Pizza People is the vision of longtime Phoenix residents MaryBeth and Tim Scanlon who are focused on making great tasting, affordable food using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Q Up! BBQ takes bomb diggitty BBQ to the streets. A chef and foodie at heart, the owner of Q UP! BBQ wanted to share his passion and love for food with everyone by way of good serving size, reasonable prices, and the freshest, tastiest ingredients available.
Sandra Dee’s Catering specializes in providing the finest Louisiana cuisine, offering the best of Creole and Cajun flavors. The menu features dishes with influences from France, Spain, Africa, Germany, Italy and the West Indies.
Spice It Up makes life more flavorful, incorporating tastes, textures, ingredients and spices from around the world. Their menu uses spices as an artist uses a palette to tone and color the food.
Tom’s BBQ rolls out its iconic Pig Rig chock full of the great Tom’s BBQ flavors. Menu items include a variety of smoked meats topped with Toms own recipe of BBQ sauce and homemade sides.
Gourmet Command Center serves the best of East Coast fare with a Southwest flare. Husband and wife owners Bernie Boyle and Cindie Powell-Boyle make their food truck a family affair.
J-Licious (aka T-Licious Teazy Taco) specializes in Mexican food, with dishes such as shrimp ceviche, machaca, nachos and award-winning tacos.
Street Kitchen Food Truck – debuting at The Good Life Festival for its first event, this brand new food truck is the baby of LTB Concepts and culinary genius Chef Aaron May (helped to open establishments such as Over Easy, The Lodge, Renegade Tap and Kitchen, May’s Counter Chicken & Waffles and Praying Monk). The menu features breakfast and lunch items such as fried egg sandwiches, breakfast burros, Korean tacos, turkey pastrami wraps, lettuce turnip burgers, and more.
Udder Delights specializes in homemade ice cream, cookies, brownies, pastries and ice cream cakes. You won’t find a more delectable assortment of goodies anywhere.
The Grilled Cheese Truck brings a favorite childhood (and adult) comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwich, to the streets. The original truck is based in Los Angeles, but the concept has expanded to the Phoenix market. Its sandwiches are not just the classic bread, butter and cheese, but amazing creations that are constructed with the best ingredients, local produce and chock full of love.

The Wineries

goliath-logo      kimcrawford-logo      mondavi-logo

About Tyler Florence

Chef Tyler Florence graduated from the prestigious culinary program at Johnson and Wales University, and immediately moved to New York where he honed his skills under the tutelage of premier chefs like Charlie Palmer at Aureole, Marta Pulini at Mad 61 and Rick Laakonen, ultimately moving on to become executive chef at Cafeteria. The buzz about the charismatic young chef’s food picked up steam and a fresh television network took notice; the rest is history. After 15+ years as a Food Network star, he has starred in such series as How to Boil Water, a cooking show for novices, Food 911, his hugely popular “recipe rescue” show, his signature series, Tyler’s Ultimate as well as The Great Food Truck Race. Florence has also hosted numerous other Food Network shows and specials, including Planet Food, All American Festivals and My Country, My Kitchen. He is a regular guest on the TODAY Show, CNN, The View, The Tonight Show, Oprah, Access Hollywood, Extra, Good Morning America, among others. Tyler is currently a contributing editor at House Beautiful Magazine, and designed their Kitchen of the Year at Rockefeller Center in 2011.

Learn more at TylerFlorence.com.

About Duff Goldman

Chef Duff Goldman started working for acclaimed Baltimore Chef Cindy Wolf while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  After graduating with degrees in History and Philosophy, Duff left Baltimore to study pastries at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. While in Napa, Duff was a stagiere at the French Laundry, working under acclaimed pastry Chef Steven Durfee.  Following graduation from the CIA, Duff left Northern California to become Executive Pastry Chef of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in the mountains of Vail, Colorado. While in Colorado he worked with such notable chefs as Jessie Llapitan, now Executive Chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and Chef Jason Rogers, late of Olives in Aspen, and now at the Borgota of Atlantic City.

Learn more about Duff on the Food Network website.

About Julia Baker

Whether it’s a delectable truffle overflowing with flavor or a breathtaking cake that tastes as amazing as it looks, there’s one ingredient that goes into everything Julia Baker creates – her passion for chocolate. The chic culinary artist and confectioner serves as founder, head chef and CEO of Julia Baker Confections. Originally beginning her career as a statistician, Julia ultimately followed her zeal for food and took her personal and professional dreams in another direction. In 2002, Julia graduated first in her class and obtained the Grande Diplôme de Cuisine & de Pâtisserie – the highest diplomas in both pastry and cuisine from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Her exceptional chocolates, desserts, one-of-a-kind cakes, and confections are all made from scratch each day without any preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Learn more at JuliaBakerConfections.com.

About Aaron May

Chef Aaron May has a quick mind and a low threshold for boredom, which goes a long way toward explaining the local restaurant empire he’s building. Given his passion for food and irrepressible creativity, it’s hard to imagine any other path for this driven but surprisingly easygoing guy. He had his first job working in a restaurant kitchen at age 15, and by 20, he had left the university and his political science major to study culinary arts, including a year in Paris at Ecole Ritz Escoffier and working in local restaurants to refine his skills as a classically trained chef. His first professional position was at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, working at Acacia, before moving to Deseo at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa to work with celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez. A stint at Mario Batali’s Casa Mono was finishing school for May. In recent years, May has forged partnerships to open Over Easy, The Lodge, Renegade Tap and Kitchen, May’s Counter Chicken & Waffles and Praying Monk. Like May himself, each venue is sophisticated yet approachable.

About James Porter

Chef James Porter may be best known for challenging himself and his guests to share his love of food without pretension or apprehension. He is committed to using only the freshest ingredients such as farm fresh produce, line caught and sustainable seafood, prime meats and farmstead cheeses, serving up French country bistro style dishes at his acclaimed Petite Maison. He makes daily changes to the days’ dishes, and also changes the menu seasonally. Porter strongly believes supporting local independent restaurants is the key to helping the Valley reach our full potential as a culinary haven. Porter graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 1992. Since then he has added to his resume by working at an impressive list of kitchens across the country, including an apprenticeship at the prestigious Greenbrier Resort where he worked under Irish born Master Chef Peter Timmons.

Learn more at PetiteMaisonAZ.com.

About Bella Donna

Bella Donna is the critically acclaimed, hauntingly familiar tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Based in Los Angeles and formed in 2002, the 7-piece show has toured throughout the USA performing hundreds of shows. Bella Donna was awarded the highest honor when Stevie Nicks met singer Michelle Tyler after a show and complimented the band. Appearing on local and national television, Bella Donna continues to tour throughout the U.S. Learn more at www.BellaDonna-Music.com.


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