New foods and artwork for annual Tastefest

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 16, 2016

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ROSEVILLE — The Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s fifth annual Tastefest event is set for 5:30-8:30 p.m. March 16 at Athena Hall in Roseville, and new food vendors are just one of the additions this year.

According to Director Linda Weishaupt, the event will feature a variety of local chefs, restaurants and vendors providing samples of food for people to try in exchange for food tickets — each ticket costs $1, or visitors can purchase 25 for $20.

Returning this year are places like the Cloverleaf Restaurant from Eastpointe, Olive Garden, and Seeburger’s Cheeseburgers from Roseville.

Weishaupt said they have several new places this year too, such as Potbelly Sandwich Works, Heat Fireside Ale Haus, Toarmina’s Pizza, and the chef from the Advantage Living Center senior housing facility in Roseville.

“Their chef, Steve, used to be a chef at Andiamo’s, and he’s making lobster macaroni and cheese. I guess he’s very particular about food, and the seniors over there are loving their food,” Weishaupt said. “He’s very meticulous — everything has to be exactly at the right temperature — so they’re very excited about him participating in this Tastefest with us.”

Whichever vendor gets the most food tickets by the end of the night will be declared the winner of the 2016 Tastefest, Weishaupt added.

Artwork from Roseville and East Detroit public schools is also going to be on display, with first, second and third prizes being given out in four categories: sculpture, photography, painting and drawing. Phil Gilchrist, director of the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens, is scheduled to judge the competition, and Weishaupt said winners will receive Michaels gift cards.

Gilchrist said that while this is his first time judging an art competition at the Tastefest, he has done so before in the thumb region and for the Michigan State Fair. He said he is excited to see the variety of work that the students have submitted, and to see what they have been working on lately.

“I do think it is important to support the arts, particularly in the younger population,” Gilchrist said. “So I am more than happy to participate as a judge in this year’s contest.”

Gilchrist said he has no particular set of criteria he is looking for when judging the artwork — he is just going to take in everything submitted and judge them on their merits against the other submitted pieces.

Half of the proceeds from the food tickets will be used to purchase art supplies for Roseville High School and East Detroit High School, Weishaupt said.

“Last year, we bought over $1,000 worth of art supplies,” she said.

She said they also have a DJ scheduled to play music and to help with announcements. Event sponsor Costco plans on raffling off an item, though Weishaupt said that had not been decided upon as of March 7.

Last year, the event had 250 seats and filled up within 35 minutes, so Weishaupt has expanded seating to 350 this year to accommodate a potential increase in visitors

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