UPDATE Aug. 12, 2015: Winery and Viticulture Club participating in Fig Fest Aug. 15


Television celebrity chef Fabio Viviani will headline the 12th Annual California Fig Fest at Fresno State from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug.15 and guests will have the opportunity to be a part of a live television audience as a production crew records Viviani’s every move.

Viviani, the author/restaurateur best known as the fan favorite on BRAVO’S “Top Chef” and Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” will be taped from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the main stage for his nationally-syndicated television show “Global Bites.”

More than 3,000 are expected for the event, which benefits Fresno State’s Ag One Ron Radoicich Scholarship for students studying viticulture and enology and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Foundation.

Sponsored by the California Fig Advisory Board and California Fresh Fig Growers Association, the festival is held in front the Satellite Student Union (next to the Peters Business building where free parking is available).

Fig enthusiasts and foodies can sample locally produced fig dishes and products in the Fig Culinary Expo, visit the beer and wine sampling gardens and meet local fig growers. There will be live music and entertainment, local food trucks and over 50 vendors selling fig-inspired items.

“Figology 101,” a presentation by the California Fig Advisory Board at the main stage, will be from 10-10:30 a.m.

A California fig-inspired chef competition with celebrity judges also will be held at the expo with guests voting to determine the winner who will be announced at the Fig Culinary Expo awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

The country band “Wheelhouse” will perform from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The highlight of the event will be Viviani’s live cooking demonstration for his TV show taping in the main stage tent. With the purchase of the VIP Access Pass, guests can attend a meet-and-greet with the celebrity chef and get premier seating for the show. Nicole Giordano of Y101 FM radio in Fresno will serve as co-chef.

Karla Stockli, CEO of the California Dried Fig Advisory Board and Fresh Fig Growers Association, said, “Figs are finding their way onto more and more menus and cooking shows, as well as into a growing number of cookbooks and grocery carts. California figs have long been adored by the culinary elite for their versatility and unique flavor.”

Fresno-based Culinary Competitions International, the event management team behind the show, hopes the farmer-chef pairing will create brand awareness for the California fig. California leads the nation in fig production, responsible for 100 percent of dried figs and 98 percent of fresh figs sold commercially.

Tickets are available online for $25 for general admission and $45 for a VIP Access Pass. In addition to meeting Viviani, the VIP pass includes front-of-the-line entry into the event, exclusive access to the air conditioned VIP lounge with free appetizers and voting access to the Fig Culinary Expo, free drinks (beer/wine for 21-and-over with valid ID, plus soda and bottled water).

Free event parking will be available in lots P5 and P6 near the Peter’s Business and Conley Art buildings (access from Woodrow Avenue between Barstow and Shaw).

For more information: californiafigfestival@gmail.com.

(University Communications news assistant Erika Denise Castañon contributed to this report).

EDITORS: For interviews with Karla Stockli (CEO of the California Fig Advisory Board), Chef Fabio Viviani (featured guest) or with J. Peter DeYoung (president of Culinary Competitions International), please call Marilyn Cowley at 650.218.2205 or Marilyn@DiscoverCCI.com.

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