Sea. Sip. Savor. The white sand beach and crisp Gulf waters are the backdrop for Pensacola Beach’s premier fall festival, Taste of the Beach, September 18-19. The Beach Chamber hosts this culinary shindig which allows foodies to meet Celebrity Chef John Besh at a VIP ticketed show at the Hilton Gulfside Pensacola Beach on Friday night. He’ll be on the open air Gulfside Pavilion stage on Saturday preparing one of his famous recipes at 1 p.m. and be available at 2 p.m. for a Meet-and-Greet with all his fans. Besh is a Louisiana-raised restaurateur who owns 11 acclaimed restaurants. He is a well-known face and frequent contributor on national television shows such “Iron Chef” on Food Network. He’s the host of two PBS cooking shows, the author of three cookbooks and the new star of “Hungry Investors,” a show that airs on Spike network. John Besh That’s not all. Two dozen Pensacola Beach restaurants will be showcased featuring their signature dishes; each priced at a family-friendly five dollars are less. The Gulf front dinning tent is spacious so you can feast on Crab’s Chef Jere Doyle’s perfect boiled shrimp or Frank and Lola’s Lobster-Crab Mac and Cheese. Guests will love the Frozen Zone for a Bushwacker made with real Kaluha or a snow cone for the kids. The Football Tent televises gridiron action. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. so come early and stay late. Entry and parking are free at Taste of the Beach, but cash is king. ATMs are located next door to the festival site. Mix in some special events like a Chef’s Challenge Cooking Contest, Dessert Contest, Beer Tasting and Hermit Crab races followed by an after sundown concert by the Molly Ringwalds and you get a real taste of what Pensacola Beach …a unique blend of island flavors and sun-soaked hospitality. Are you hungry for more? Festival ingredients are at

By Shelley Johnson