Devour Culinary Classic Announces Bold Move to Desert Botanical Garden in 2018

Photo: Desert Botanical Garden
Photo: Desert Botanical Garden

Hosted by Phoenix Art Museum since its inception, the Devour Culinary Classic, organized by Local First Arizona with support from the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA), has become the Valley’s premier culinary event. For a decade, Classic attendees have enjoyed sampling only the highest quality and most innovative food, beverages, restaurateurs, chefs and food producers while perusing the grounds of Phoenix Art Museum.

Having sold out the event for the previous four years, the Devour Culinary Classic is heading to a new venue in 2018 to accommodate the event’s growth and vision.

“When we first launched the Devour Culinary Classic a decade ago, I knew I wanted the venue to be rooted in Phoenix’s arts and culture community,” says Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona and Devour Phoenix, the primary organizers of the Devour Culinary Classic. “Having this event at Phoenix Art Museum has been a perfect pairing that has drawn attention to Phoenix’s strength in both the culinary and visual arts.”

Lanning explained, however, that after planning the 2017 Devour Culinary Classic, it became apparent that a new venue was needed to accommodate the growth and popularity of the event.

“The Phoenix Art Museum has been an ideal partner, and at this time we all agree that more space is needed to accommodate all that we want to do," says Lanning. "With Phoenix's massive and still growing food scene, we are looking to feature even more local restaurants and chefs that are pushing the culinary envelope here in Arizona, and at the same time allow more Arizonans to be able to experience the Classic.”

Devour Culinary Classic
Devour Culinary Classic

In pursuing a new venue, Lanning emphasized her desire to keep the event at an arts institution, which is why she was drawn to Desert Botanical Garden.

“At Local First Arizona, we believe in the culinary arts as a significant component of our unique culture and identity. It is important to us that the venue of the Devour Culinary Classic ties into that narrative, which is why we are thrilled to be bringing the Classic to Desert Botanical Garden. Desert Botanical Garden is an Arizona treasure, and their expansive venue and community commitment makes them the perfect venue to allow us to expand the Devour Culinary Classic while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere. We’ve had a great 10-year run with Phoenix Art Museum, and now we’re looking forward to another great 10 years of the Devour Culinary Classic at Desert Botanical Garden.”

The Desert Botanical Garden is pleased to be bringing the Devour Culinary Classic to their space, as the event fits in closely to their mission. "Just like all the participants in the Devour Culinary Classic, the Garden is proud to fly the 'locally grown' flag,” says Desert Botanical Garden director Ken Schutz. “We look forward to hosting the event in 2018, and salute our colleagues at Phoenix Art Museum for the wonderful job they have done in building this event over the past ten years."

Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum, says she is proud of how Phoenix Art Museum has been able to play a role in growing this event and Phoenix’s food culture. “Arizona’s culinary community has come so far these past 10 years and, at Phoenix Art Museum, we have been thrilled to be a part of that momentum,” said Cruz. “We are and will continue to be proud of our food and beverage producers and of our culinary artists; we wish them and our community partners, LFA and SAACA, continued success in the future.”

The 2018 Devour Culinary Classic will be held at Desert Botanical Garden on March 3-4, 2018. Tickets for the Devour Culinary Classic will go on sale later this year. Dates and locations for Devour Culinary Classic pre-events including the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, Seven Chef Singh Along, Palette to Palate and others are yet to be determined. All 2018 event details and information will be posted to devourphoenix.com/classic and dbg.org when confirmed.