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May 15. 2014 9:50PM

Celebrity chefs kick off N.H. Restaurant Week


900 Degree Pizzeria's Chris Millspaugh serves a meatball to Jackye Lawless, of Windham during Thursday night's Restaurant Week Kickoff event at the Bedford Village Inn. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER)

BEDFORD — A hundred or so hungry guests were treated to a sneak preview of the week to come Thursday night, when chefs from around the state whipped up tasty treats at The Bedford Village Inn.

Marking the official kick-off of N.H. Restaurant Week, the Celebrity Chef event offered the chance to try out food and spirits from a dozen or so different vendors.

The Union Leader was among the sponsors of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) event.

Proceeds from the night’s ticket sales benefitted the New Hampshire Food Bank and donations to the charity will be accepted throughout Restaurant Week.

Event spokeswoman Laurie Determan said the Celebrity Chef portion of Restaurant Week is now in its third year, and like the week’s other events, it continues to grow in popularity.

Chef Christopher Grauwiler of 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria chatted up guests while serving up prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, among other delicacies.

“It’s great exposure for us,” Grauwiler said.

Chef Kevin Halligan, who owns Local Eatery in Laconia with his wife, Gillian, opted to serve oysters gratinee during his first appearance at Celebrity Chef Night.

“We’ve got some fresh oysters harvested right here in Dover: we like to source our foods locally,” Halligan said. “This has been an awesome experience.”

Around the corner, Garrett Smith served locals libations like Pig’s Ear and Summer Brews from Woodstock Brewery.

“People love some good, local beer,” he said. “The response has been overwhelming.”

Nashua residents Donna and Neal Johnson said Thursday night was their first Restaurant Week event. The couple agreed it was hard to pick out their favorite taste of the night.

“It’s all good,” Neal Johnson said.

Bedford residents Michael and Debby Felder said they come to the Bedford Village Inn often, but Thursday night was a special treat.

For Michael, it meant sampling T-Bones’ bacon-wrapped shrimp, while Debby took a liking to Local Eatery’s oysters.

Both agreed it would be fun to try some of the featured restaurants for a nice meal in the week to come.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas said Restaurant Week is the perfect chance for many of New Hampshire’s estimated 67,000 food and hospitality workers to show off their talents, while helping those less fortunate.

“It’s their passion and hard work that makes the state’s scene so vibrant,” Pappas said.

Restaurant Week will continue through Friday, May 23. For a complete list of events and location visit www.restaurantweeknh.com.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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