NRA Show’s Buick Experience Combines Great Food, Fine Wine, and Sophisticated Driving

What do celebrity chefs, great food and fine wine have in common with automobiles?

One of the Buick luxury modelsThat was the question clearly on my mind when we received an invitation to participate in the 2013 Buick Discovery Tour as part of the National Restaurant Association Show this past month.  As a highly curious fan of fine food and wine, I signed up for the Chicago tour to find out just what the commonality among these rather disparate elements might be.  To my great surprise, Buick offered me the loan of a 2013 Verano for a full week as part of the promotion.

A new luxury car and an invitation to attend an afternoon focused on food and wine-one can’t complain about this turn of events. (L-R) Chef Gale Gand, Jennifer Roberts, Michael Green, Tommy Hensel, Chef Ben Roche

For this event, Buick teamed up with Chicago’s Kendall College, one of the leading culinary programs in the city.  The full afternoon involved test drives of Buick’s luxury models along with cooking demos and a wine tasting class.  Food demos featured culinary luminaries like Food & Wine’s Best New Chef Gale Gand, celebrity chef Michael Psilakis, and brilliant pastry chef Ben Roche.  The wine portion of the event also featured one of the industry’s most entertaining and informative masters, Michael Green.

The 2013 Verano I drove for a week was sleek, attractive, and comfortable without being one of those overly-pretentious cars that makes you fear to park anywhere near another vehicle.  The drive was smooth and the amenities (On Star navigation, Sirius XM radio, etc.) were a perfect touch to make me feel pampered and safe.

So what’s the connection with food & wine?  Simple: sophistication, comfort, style, and luxury – but without pretense.

Wine tasting suppliesThe food/wine pairings were all about feeling pampered, but learning that great food/wine pairings are simple and don’t need to make anyone feel like they are uninformed.  The cars mirror that: practical luxury that still allows the drive to feel comfortable.  Buick has clearly hit upon an excellent concept.  Bring together guests who are interested in fine dining, fine wine, and feeling pampered and then teach them about their culinary passions while also teaching them just a little bit about how Buick can make them feel the same way while they drive.

I can’t wait for Crave Local to do more with Buick, and share this great driving experience with our food and wine readers across the country.

 All photos courtesy Donna Binbek, Donna Binbek Photography Studios

About Tommy Hensel

Tommy Hensel is a dedicated solo diner who frequently utters the words, “Table for one, please.” When not dining alone, he is often dining and/or drinking with friends as they explore the culinary and mixology wonderland of Chicago. He has worked for over 25 years as theatrical director, actor, singer, and arts administrator and frequently performs as a cabaret singer in and around Chicago. He is a board member of the National Concierge Association, representing the hospitality and entertainment industries to the Chicago concierge community.   If you have an upcoming event, grand opening, great product, contact us

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