Countdown to the 2019 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival – Interview with Vivek Surti of Tailor

Grab your glasses, eleven chefs from Tennessee will take guests Off The Eaten Path during the ninth annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. The epicurean adventure takes place from May 30 – June 2, where attendees from across the country will come together to enjoy the dishes and spirits of the South. This year, talent will spotlight off-the-grid foodie destinations, rising culinary stars, and more.

The stellar lineup of talent hailing from Tennessee includes Vivek Surti of Tailor. We had the opportunity to chat with him in our countdown to the BIG event!

Vivek Surti, (photo credit Andrea Behrends)

Why did you want to get involved with the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival? I attended the festival as a guest in its second year and was blown away by the community of Southern food lovers and the professionalism and execution of the production team. There were many people I met that year that I now consider friends and keep up with. I was honored when asked to be on the advisory council as this year’s focus is on restaurants that are “Off the Eaten Path.” As someone who was born in Manchester, TN to immigrant parents from India, it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the past, present, and future of South Asian American food to a wider audience.

What events will you be featured? Kitchen Nightmares demo with Matt & Ted Lee and the Grant Thornton Time & Place Dinner

Do you like meeting foodies at festivals? Of course! Food people are the best kind of people. The beauty of food is that you never stop learning. Whether it’s a small technique, a new ingredient, or learning about a new culture and cuisine, there is just so much to explore. I hope to showcase some lesser known homestyle Indian dishes like dal bhaat and dhokla. And just like the foodies, I’ll be going around trying to learn from everyone else there as well!

There is always bound to be musicians and celebrities partaking in the festival. Is there anyone you would love to meet? It’s always nice to meet musicians and celebrities. But to me, I get excited about meeting people who save up their money to come experience the festival, meet the chefs and appreciate having great conversations about food. I want to be able to showcase the cuisine that we do at Tailor and if I can help a few people make better and tastier meals for their families at home, I think that’s a job well done.

Is it good to talk to chefs at the festival and swap ideas, or are you a secretive bunch? Absolutely! Chefs – especially in the South – tend to be a collaborative bunch. It’s great to talk about ideas and techniques. It’s even more fun to talk about the business – how to treat your staff, create an amazing work environment, to build a restaurant culture that uplifts, invigorates and serves.

What sets Atlanta apart from all other cities, food-wise? Atlanta is a city I’ve been going to for years. I think what sets it apart from the South is it’s central location and ability to be a melting pot of so many Southern  influences.

Any new Atlanta restaurants or chefs on your radar that you’re looking forward to checking out? I’ve been dying to go down Buford Highway and try all the different Sichuan, Indonesian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian food. I love those cuisines and that type of food. While we get some of that in Nashville, I will be spending most of my free time digging in there.

What is the best music to cook to?  While they are completely different in style, I’m listening to Bollywood or Lo-Fi.

Do you stream Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, or classic tapes/cds/vinyls? Spotify

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Tiesto, Jay Z

Do you have music playing in the kitchen at home and is it different than in the restaurant? It’s exactly the same! I make playlists for my moods. I have an early morning/pump up mix, a prep playlist, a pre-opening list and a service playlist. I also make special ones for trips that I take. It’s fun to go back and listen to those.

Finally, what’s one tip you can give festival goers? Say hi. Say hi to everyone – a fellow festival goer, a chef, a brewer, a distiller, a celebrity or a musician. It might lead to an hour-long conversation; you might just get a cool tip or you may just get a “nice to meet ya” back. Try to meet as many people as possible.

 

 

For the full lineup, including Learning Experiences, Master Studios, Dinners and Events, visit www.atlfoodandwinefestival.com. For those traveling from out of town, the Festival will be headquartered at the Loews Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly and referring to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Room Block. For more information on travel and lodging, visit https://atlfoodandwinefestival.com/travel/.

About Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Launched in 2010, by Atlanta entrepreneurs Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is a four-day culinary experience dedicated to shining an international spotlight on the rich food and beverage traditions of the South from Texas to the District of Columbia. With an Advisory Council of 71 award-winning talents from 13 Southern states and the District of Columbia, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is one-part conference and one-part party, offering carefully-crafted programs and events to entertain and educate consumers about Southern food and drink.  The Festival also celebrates the flavors of other Southern regions around the globe including Southern Europe, South Africa, South America, Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) and South-of-the-Border for Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Caribbean. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is a member of the IWSC Group North America’s portfolio of events.  Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns to Midtown Atlanta Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2, 2019. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlfoodandwinefestival.com. Follow Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.  #KnowTheSouth #AFWF19