Introducing the first euphoria insiders

Experience an all new way to see, taste and hear the 13th annual euphoria Food, Wine and Music festival with the euphoria Insiders! This team of well-known Greenville area-based bloggers and Instagrammers are gearing up to bring you the most delicious sights and sounds of this year’s highly-anticipated festival.

Get to know the euphoria Insiders below, and make sure you’re following along on their accounts and #euphoriainsider for all the details on the intimate culinary, musical and learning experiences happening September 20-23, 2018.

Eleanor Rogers, The Upstate Foodie   


Eleanor grew up in Greenville, S.C. and moved to Columbia to attend USC where she began her journey teaching Montessori. While teaching will always be closer to her heart, food has consistently been a passion of hers. When she moved back to Greenville, she was blown away at the variety of foods offered and was frankly overwhelmed by all the new and trendy restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, etc. that were opening up. Her goal with The Upstate Foodie is to share some of the best dishes around Greenville, as well as offer some of her insights to eating and cooking. 

Sam Slaughter, The Manual

@slaughterwrites @themanualguide

Sam Slaughter is a spirits editor for the men’s lifestyle magazine, The Manual. He received his BA from Elon University and his MA from Stetson University. Outside of spirits work, his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of places, including Midwestern Gothic, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Heavy Feather Review. He was awarded the 2014 “Best of There Will Be Words” and has several pieces of work published. 

Cara Sinicropi, Mirrors and Mimosas


Cara Sinicropi is a reader, writer, Greenville city dweller, dual degree holder, coffee drinker and blogger of Mirrors and Mimosas. Her fashion blog is a personal lifestyle blog filled with the things that make her who she is. 

Peter Dezzi, Pd.Likeness


Peter Dezzi was born and raised in New York, and now lives with a southern state of mind in Greenville. Photographer by trade, degree-wielding designer, dog loving, thrill seeking, challenge meeting kind-of-guy who never leaves home without his Canon 6D, Nexus 5 and Drone. 

Christen Clinkscales, Christen Eats


Christen Clinkscales is a 29 year old food obsessed, culinary school dropout. She studied culinary arts at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York before deciding that the back of a New York kitchen wasn’t for her. After living and eating in New York City for five years, Christen returned to her burgeoning hometown of Greenville for a slower-paced life. 

Jamarcus Gaston


Jamarcus grew up in the very small town of Great Falls, S.C. in Chester County. He graduated Salutatorian from Great Falls High School in 2003 and headed to the mountainous upstate to attend Furman University on an academic and music scholarship. After graduation college, Jamarcus started his career at WSPA as an intern and worked his way up to host and producer of “Carolina Now” on the Carolinas CW 62 where he transformed the show into an all things local show. Following the ending of “Carolina Now,” Jamarcus returned to a show that started his love in promoting all the things that make the Carolinas great when he was promoted to co-host/co-producer of Scene on 7.


POSTED ON: April 5, 2018 BY: Ariel Turner

euphoria appoints new executive director, looks to the next 10 years

Founded in 2006 by musician Edwin McCain and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski, Greenville’s food, wine, and music festival, euphoria, is no longer merely a local event, as proven by the addition of Michelin-starred guest chefs and a growing number of James Beard Foundation award winners and finalists to the lineups over the last few years.

With the festival’s location between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, which have similar festivals on a larger scale, the leadership realized after the last festival, held annually in September, it was time to make some changes in order to remain relevant in the regional and national festival scene.

“euphoria Greenville has reached a critical stage in its development. We are no longer a startup festival,” says Jack Bacot, board vice chairman of euphoria. “We have matured from a successful local event into a food, wine, and music festival that is receiving national attention and recognition. euphoria Greenville has become a destination event, and we haven’t scratched the surface of our potential.”

The most immediate change, which serves as the catalyst for the festival’s future transformation, is appointing a new executive director. After the 2017 festival, the board decided to conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director to give the organization an opportunity to grow under new leadership.

“We realized we needed to position euphoria for future success, and the executive director position is critical to that vision,” Bacot says.

After a national search conducted by a third-party firm that resulted in 155 applicants, Morgan Allen, euphoria’s former event director of food & beverage since she moved to Greenville in 2016, has been promoted to the role of executive director. Brianna Shaw, former executive director, departed in November 2017.

“The board decided to engage a national search firm to make sure we had the best candidates available that would move the needle forward,” Bacot says. “Morgan submitted her resume, and she received the same consideration and process as any other national candidate. As a board, we were not aware she was interested in the position of executive director until the search firm placed her in the top five finalists.”

Allen, who had been filling the role for the last few months, says she wasn’t initially planning to apply for the job.

Much of Allen’s role will be securing sponsorships for the festival, which is critical to keeping ticket sales at a level that still allows the events to remain intimate and not overcrowded — a key to euphoria’s unique identity.

“Community support and sponsorships are the lifeblood of any successful event — Artisphere and Fall for Greenville are prime examples,” Bacot says. “The board knew that to grow, we needed to focus more on support and sponsorships than ticket sales to sustain and grow the event.”

Before accepting the executive director role, Allen secured the Lexus sponsorship, which is euphoria’s first ever national presenting sponsorship, Bacot says.

“The board has challenged her, and all board members, to develop and secure sponsors to give us the resources to bring in a strong list of talent in food and music supported by key wine and spirit vendors,” Bacot says. “Greenville deserves a well-balanced, upscale food, wine, and music festival that attracts national talent — sponsorships are key to that potential. With more community support and sponsorships, you will see positive changes in what is presented and the level of talent coming to Greenville.”

Allen says a primary responsibility will be nurturing relationships with current sponsors, cultivating relationships with new ones, and increasing the sponsorship dollars coming in.

“These truly are partnerships we’re forming,” she says. “We’re working to build lasting relationships in our community so they’re beneficial to all of our partners.”

That may mean more travel for her as she seeks out more media as well.

“We’re definitely planning to take a few road trips to meet with regional and national media and encourage them to come to Greenville for euphoria, which — in turn — brings a strong tourism and economic impact back home,” she says.

The resulting changes from the board’s restructured approach may not be as noticeable this year as they will in the years to come, Bacot says.

“We have some surprises planned, but the biggest changes will come in the near future as we position euphoria for the next 10 years,” he says.

Bacot says he and the board believe Allen, of all the potential candidates, was the right choice to enact the changes they want to see with the festival.

“I believe she understood the odds and put together one of the most impressive proposals to manage an event that I have witnessed. Her thoughts, ideas, and management proposal, while not unique, were refreshing and aggressive, and she had some tough competition,” he says. “Morgan did not simply say, ‘I want the job’ — she developed a strong proposal that convinced the committee, board, and the search firm that she was best suited for the job. I’m confident the board made the right decision, and I’m anxious to see her proposal come to fruition.”

The lineup and tickets for the Sept. 20-23 festival will be released during Roast & Toast on April 22.


euphoria Presented by Lexus

euphoria, the Upstate’s premier food, wine and music festival, is proud to announce Lexus of Greenville as the title sponsor for 2018. This is an expansion of the organization’s partnership with Lexus, as they have been the official vehicle of the festival since 2015.

“We are truly honored to have the international brand of Lexus as presenting sponsor of euphoria Greenville,” said Jack Bacot, Vice Chair of the euphoria Board of Directors. “Their trust in euphoria and the Greenville market is a compliment to the people who founded and built this event into one of the leading food, wine and music festivals in the Southeast. This is truly a partnership of good taste.”

Now in their 13th year, euphoria presented by Lexus will take place September 20-23, 2018. The weekend will consist of over twenty-five unique events including live musical performances, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, multi-course dinners, as well as curated tasting events. The festival hosts regional and nationally-acclaimed chefs, beverage professionals, and musicians at various venues across the Upstate.

“euphoria seeks to present a first-class event which raises funds for charities, while also enhancing the reputation of Greenville as a premier culinary and tourism destination,” said Morgan Allen, euphoria’s Event Director of Food & Beverage.

“Having the support of such a prestigious brand, such as Lexus, reinforces our ability to be known as a destination event that attracts guests from around the country. This partnership also enhances the high caliber of our events and will help to build multiple facets of our festival as we look to cultivate our national reputation,” Allen added.


POSTED ON: September 27, 2017 BY: Food & Wine by Jennifer Rice

Keanu Reeves and Curtis Duffy Bond Over Exotic Motorcycles and Michelin-Starred Food

When Keanu Reeves surfaced at Euphoria, a four-day food festival in Greenville, South Carolina, alongside three-star Michelin chef Curtis Duffy, a few questions arose, the most pressing one being: Why is Neo/John Wick/Ted Logan/Johnny Utah attending a food event in the Carolinas? It turns out he was speaking with Duffy at Michelin’s North America headquarters, located in Greenville, on their mutual admiration of food and the international tire brand. (Some relevant background: Reeves, in partnership with Gard Hollinger, owns an exotic motorcycle company called Arch Motorcycle.)

The tire company is the same Michelin that rates restaurants by one, two and three stars, and the very same organization that connected Reeves and Duffy at the beginning of 2017 at a Pilot Sport 4S tire release in Palm Springs. “I knew that Reeves had built motorcycles with his partner, Gard,” Duffy said, prior to their first meeting. “That was always of interest to me. When I knew he was coming out there, I wasn’t star struck because of who he was. It was more about, I want to know this guy because of the motorcycle side.”

Reeves and Duffy’s friendship quickly evolved over their shared interests: motorcycles and food. “He’s super passionate about motorcycles, and I’m super passionate about motorcycles,” Duffy says. “I don’t build them, but I can respect it and understand what goes into it because my father used to do it.”

It was Duffy’s third year at Euphoria and his second year of making the 14-hour trek from Chicago to Greenville on his motorcycle. In the midst of preparing for a highly-anticipated Michelin dinner and “Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown” (an annual kids cooking competition) at Euphoria, Duffy managed to sneak away with Reeves, Gard and Arch’s Heath Cofran for a picturesque bike ride through the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

The next day, a Michelin dinner at The Lazy Goat showcased the food of Duffy, Dominique Crenn and Michael Mina. It was here that the bike and dining connection started to make sense. Each bite of the dinner promised something new and unexpected: a rice paper chip for crunch, Vietnamese herbs for flavor, Japanese Miyazaki beef so tender that it melted in your mouth. Each ingredient contributed to the overall dining experience, just like technical components make up the anatomy of a quality bike.

A brief one-on-one with Reeves backed this up: High end components are to Arch bikes as quality ingredients are to Duffy’s creations. “It’s making sure we keep the integrity of the dish,” Duffy says, when cooking outside of Grace in Chicago. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to bring Grace to the restaurant we’re cooking in. What you experienced tonight [at the Lazy Goat] is exactly what you’d see at Grace.”

Food & Wine


POSTED ON: September 27, 2017 BY: Eater Chicago by Ashok Selvam

Keanu Reeves and Chef Curtis Duffy Have an Excellent Adventure on Motorcycles

Chicago chef Curtis Duffy likes motorcycles, and so does actor Keanu Reeves. Now they’re friends. Duffy, the chef behind Grace — one of two Chicago restaurants with a full three stars from Michelin — rode his motorbike 14 hours from Chicago to Greenville, South Carolina for the Euphoria food festival. Turns out the actor who played Neo from The Matrix also attended the festival, held over the past weekend, and the two took a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Reeves and Duffy spoke at Michelin’s North American headquarters in Greenville. The two’s common interests allowed Duffy to compare high-end motorcycle components to quality ingredients he uses in the kitchen. Food & Wine pointed out that Reeves co-owns a motorcycle company called Arch Motorcycle. The pair met in January at a Michelin tire release event in Palm Springs, California.

Apparently, a ride on a rare Arch motorbike creates a memory that can last a lifetime. That sounds a lot like a meal at Grace.


POSTED ON: September 27, 2017 BY: The Greenville News by Lillia Callum-Penso

Catching up on euphoria – my favs from this year’s festival

I ate, I sipped, I listened, and now, I am full, happy and cultured.

The 12th annual euphoria festival wrapped up Sunday and while, full disclosure, I did not get to attend everything, I enjoyed what I did. Here, in no particular order, are my favorite moments from the event.

-Husk. Perhaps this goes without saying, but truly, it is magical to watch an artist in their element. And, at the Greenville Kick-Off party Thursday night, Sean Brock, Jon Buck and their team were. Their Georgia pine sap glazed potatoes with caviar was a favorite dish of mine. I might have had two. OK, maybe three.

-Bacon Bros. Public House. Executive chef, Anthony Gray is somewhat of a master of meats, and it showed at the Kick-Off. His smoked quail was one of the tastiest dishes I think we sampled. It was Manchester Farms quail stuffed with mortadella. But what I really appreciated was how the chefs considered every element of the dish. The quail was served with chanterelles mushrooms, 2-year aged country ham and tomato jam, but the kicker was the creamed hominy. It was masterful and interesting in taste and texture and really brought the dish home for me.

-New restaurants. It was pretty cool to get a sneak taste of some of Greenville’s just opened and soon to open restaurants. Abanico, the Spanish tapas bar and restaurant which opened in August serves up some tasty paella and potatoes, but my fav part was the piquant sauce served on top.

Limoncello, the authentic Italian concept coming from the owners of Larkin’s Restaurants, was serving up some delicious penne arrabbiata and bracciole. And the best part, Larkin’s COO, Bob Munnich was working behind the station. And It. Was. Good.

Daniel is the Maitre Chocolatier behind LaRue Fine Chocolate. (Photo: HEIDI HEILBRUNN/Staff)
-LaRue Fine Chocolate. It was pretty cool to hang out with one of Greenville’s most talented chocolatiers, Elizabeth McDaniel. The owner and artist behind LaRue Fine Chocolate was out and about Thursday evening at the Kick-Off and also taught a class on pairing chocolates and spirits (which I sadly missed due to some confusion about the venue) Saturday. But still, I think that is kind of what is so unique about euphoria is that you get to actually talk to the people creating your food, and not just in passing, but often one on one, because they are often attending events as well. So it creates a different kind of dynamic and, I would argue, understanding about what they create.

-Curtis Duffy. One thing I remember about last year’s euphoria is getting to meet Curtis Duffy in person. The three-star Michelin chef and owner of Grace Restaurant in Chicago has made euphoria a priority in his very very busy schedule since 2015, and he is incredibly nice. He also has a deep and personal interest in healthy eating and childhood obesity, and participates in the Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown each year. Duffy has two daughters, ages 8 and 11, and so is kind of on the front lines of feeding children.

And guess what parents, it’s hard. It’s not just you. Even Curtis Duffy struggles. I’m still cracking up over his story of making handmade chicken fingers with his kids only to have his daughter say they tasted “rotten.”

-Dominique Crenn. So full disclosure, I got to interview Dominique Crenn for a story in The Greenville News a couple weeks before euphoria, and it was one that stuck with me. Crenn, a 2-star Michelin chef and owner of Atelier Crenn, is charismatic, kind and unapologetically passionate about her ideals and her food. She spoke at an event at Michelin Friday afternoon and I was transfixed the entire time. Both she and her sous chef, Felix Santos, who was also in attendance, shared such interesting insights about the world of restaurants and food and humanity.

Some takeaways: food is a great unifier that can help us form connections; if you are rude and pompous to Crenn’s staff she will not hesitate to ask you to leave her restaurant and when in doubt, always add more butter to your grilled cheese.

-Work. Truly, all the staff, all the volunteers and all the participants – chefs, beverage folks and musicians – put a lot of effort into creating a seamless experience that was fun, educational and uniquely Greenville. And the work showed.

Catching up on euphoria – my favs from this year’s festival


POSTED ON: September 25, 2017 BY: Eater Charleston by Erin Perkins

Keanu Reeves and Jim Cantore Dominated the Selfies at Euphoria

This past week, chefs, food enthusiasts, cocktail nerds, wine tasters, beer drinkers, and celebrities descended on Greenville, South Carolina, for culinary festival Euphoria. What followed was four days of tasting tents, concerts, cooking demonstrations, wine class, multi-course dinners, and plenty of stalking of the big stars in town.

Actor/motorcycle enthusiast Keanu Reeves was the most-talked about guest in attendance — anyone lucky enough to get a photo promptly posted it on all their social media feeds. Reeves was in town to talk about Arch Motorcycle Company (he’s a co-owner) and attend the Michelin-starred dinner on Saturday, September 23, at The Lazy Goat.Eater Charleston


POSTED ON: September 26, 2017 BY: Greenville Journal by Ariel Turner

Euphoria 2017: Saturday highlights

Saturdays at Euphoria are not for the faint of heart, er, liver.

Beginning with the media breakfast at 9:30 a.m. hosted by Roost and chef Daniel Dobbs, the biscuits, chocolate gravy, and mimosas were flowing. Thankfully, there was also coffee for the visiting media and chefs who may have over-indulged during Taste by the South and the VIP after party the night before.

Then after a brief 30-minute intermission, it was off to Feast by the Field, a literal smorgasbord spanning the corner of South Main and Markley streets and the Fluor Field deck. Cooking demos, almost any kind of wine and liquor, and everything from fresh-shucked oysters from Darling Oyster Bar to red velvet waffles from Stewart Penick’s Terrace were up for all-you-can-eat grabs.

The Kudu open grill played a major roll in this year’s festival for the first time, including at demo tents, like the one where Chattanooga’s chef Erik Neil grilled up 48-hour sous vide short ribs on a stick. Basically, it was a perfect beef popsicle.

Meanwhile, several smaller classroom events were taking place throughout the afternoon, such as Something to Wine About – Tour Italy in 6 Glasses with TV personality, comedienne, and sommelier Laurie Forster. She declared the class a no-PC zone, and after six half pours of wines, most of the guests were on the same level. No pretention here.

Just up Main Street at On the Roxx, hand-crafted chocolates were paired with Remy Martin 1738 cognacs in the Sweet Dreams Are Made of These – Liqueur & Chocolate Pairings class led by LaRue Fine Chocolate owner Elizabeth McDaniel. And these were not your typical milk chocolates. For instance, one tasty bite was crafted from figs soaked in cognac with goat cheese and Bee Well honey in a dark chocolate shell with walnuts.
The highlight of the night, and arguably the entire weekend, was the inaugural Big Easy Bash held at Trailblazer Park in Travelers Rest. It was full-on sensory overload in the best way, from the authentic N’awlins-style Soda City Brass Band marching through the crowd, to the BBQ shrimp and red beans and rice from Restaurant 17’s chef Nick Graves, the Muffuletta from Grits & Groceries’ Heidi Trull, Kevin Belton’s and Joe Trull’s beignets and pralines, James Beard Award winner chef Kevin Nashan’s blue crab pot pie, the show-stopping, bottomless low-country boil, and Tariq Hanna’s All Things Nola pastries for dessert.

The Txotx cider barrel action was a crowd-pleaser, with guests holding their cups and sometimes their open mouths under the stream of Spanish cider to catch a few ounces before it hit the ground.

And once again, guests were slow to leave the party, but with Sunday’s brunch looming only 12 hours later, the break from indulging would prove to be absolutely necessary.

Greenville Journal


POSTED ON: September 25, 2017 BY: WSPA By Vanessa de la Viña

Euphoria wraps up after 4 days of food, music & fun

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Every year Euphoria brings the top chefs from across the country to the Upstate for four days of food, music and fun.

This year’s event wrapped up on Sunday with a barbecue brunch featuring some of the best pitmasters in the South.

While brunch starts at 11, prep work for this event starts more than 24 hours before.

“There’s no shortcuts in barbecue for sure. It’s definitely a labor of love and there’s a lot of time involved,” said pitmaster Anthony DiBernardo from Swig & Swine Barbecue.

Cooking juicy, flavorful barbecue is an art that takes hours of dedication.

“My day starts at about 5:30 Saturday morning. Then I’ll prep meat, prep the smoker and the meat will go on sometime in the afternoon. I’ll stay up all night and then the following day for lunch I’ll start slicing and service so a typical day will be 36 hours,” said pitmaster Robbie Robinson from City Limits Barbecue.

After staying up all night, these barbecue pros say it’s all worth it to see the smiles on people’s faces as they walk away happy and full.

“It’s instant gratification. That’s what drew me to the craft and that’s what keeps me going every day, to know that I put 16 hours into a product and to serve it to somebody and see the look on their face and the smile, to know they’re happy and I’ve won. I’ve won that one battle and every person’s a battle,” DiBernardo told 7News.

Proceeds from Euphoria benefit Boys Do Good, a local nonprofit that uses the money to support charities across the Upstate.



POSTED ON: September 21, 2017 BY: Charleston Paper by Kinsey Giddick

Greenville’s Euphoria food festival is this weekend and it’s not too late to snag a ticket

It’s going to be 75 degrees this Saturday in Greenville. Let me write that again: 75 degrees. If that’s not enough to get you racing up 26, maybe the fact that you can still snag some tickets to Euphoria Greenville (Sept. 21-24) will.

The upstate food festival is similar to Charleston’s Wine + Food festival albeit with a much more laid back feel and less crowds.

For a Culinary Village-esque event, grab a ticket to Feast by the Field. The outdoor event takes place in and around Fluor Field and includes chef stations, beer samples, liquor tastings, and live music. Tickets are $75, a deal compared to W+F’s $125.

Charleston City Paper