Harrah’s gets the party going at Food & Wine Festival

Being that they’re hotels with casinos built around them, Harrah’s and Harveys at Stateline, Nev., know how to throw a party. Right now they’re prepping for the fifth annual South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival, Oct. 18-19.

Featured will be food-and-wine pairings, wine- and bourbon-tastings, special dinners, cooking and winemaking demonstrations, discussions and seminars.

The centerpiece Grand Market Expo will be noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 18, as Harrah’s special-events center will fill with tasting stations staffed by chefs from the best restaurants in the hotel-casino chain, serving four-star dishes. Grilled scallops and chateaubriand, anyone? Beverage stations will serve top-shelf spirits, Napa Valley wines and craft brews, as entertainment continues in the background.

This year’s celebrity chef-cookbook author will be Rocco DiSpirito, joined by chef Mark Estee. DiSpirito’s TV shows have included “Restaurant Divided” and “Now Eat This!,” and the reality shows “Rocco Gets Real” and “Rocco’s Dinner Party.”

Estee has three restaurants in Reno: Campo, Chez Louie inside the Nevada Museum of Art, and Heritage in the Whitney Peak Hotel. His Reno Provisions gourmet market is scheduled to open in November. He also has Burger Me eateries in Truckee and Reno, and Campo in Mammoth Lakes. Also, Estee won the 2013 Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off at the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival at Northstar ski resort.

DiSpirito will star in two events on Oct. 18: “President’s Dinner,” an exclusive three-course meal with running commentary and a reveal of his “best-kept culinary secrets,” and “Chef On Stage,” a presentation in Harrah’s South Shore Room.

On Oct. 19, DiSpirito and Estee will co-host the “Farewell Brunch” at Harrah’s Forest Buffet, a spread that will reflect the philosophies of each chef: “Healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive,” says DiSpirito. “Locally sourced ingredients for freshness,” says Estee.

For more information and to buy tickets, go to Tickets are also at under “Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival”) and at the Harrah’s and Harveys box offices. For Ticketmaster phone orders: (800) 745-3000.

Patrons must be at least 21 years of age to attend.