Food is the front-runner at the 147th Preakness Stakes.
In part, thank Kevin Liles, the Baltimore-raised entertainment executive who’s curated this year’s Preakness Live Culinary Art & Music Festival, a new festival to be held Friday, coinciding with the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Back in Baltimore, Liles is bringing with him some big-name acts, including Megan Thee Stallion and Ms. Lauryn Hill. But he is also playing to foodie audiences, involving celebrity as well as local chefs. As he told The Baltimore Sun, it’s all about giving audiences “a taste of Baltimore.”
The offerings at Pimlico’s Restaurant Row will not disappoint. In addition to returning vendor Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Black-owned local businesses are well-represented, with Fishnet, Terra Cafe, Cajou Creamery, Breaking Bread and others serving up food. Instagram favorites like Crust by Mack, Underground Pizza and Codetta Bake Shop will be on hand at Old Hilltop too.
Organizers are “looking to reach a different demographic than their usual,” said Codetta Bake Shop owner Sumayyah “Mya” Bilal. “I just think it’s so smart of them to engage in the local businesses. Each of us have our own very diverse but very loyal followings.” At Pimlico, Bilal and her team plan to serve up mini cake jars and crème brûlée “torched to order.”
Want the stars of “Top Chef” to cook for you? This dream can be yours — for a price.
Attendees of this year’s Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes who shell out for tickets to the Turfside Terrace ($324-$756) or Homestretch Suites — or better yet, fork over some serious cash for a private suite in the Infield — can sample menus from none other than “Top Chef” hosts Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and past winner Marcus Samuelsson.
Celebrity chefs as a rule are no stranger to Preakness. In 2013, “Top Chef” alumnus Mike Isabella crafted the menu at Turfside Terrace and Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have both made the rounds in previous years. But this year is different. Three celebrity chefs? A roster of local Black-owned businesses, too?
By the looks of it, Colicchio is bringing the meat, with offerings like short ribs and porchetta, while Samuelsson is cooking up homey Southern dishes like shrimp and grits and fried chicken as well as a berbere-cured salmon that hearkens back to his Ethiopian roots. Simmons is keeping things light but sophisticated with yummy-sounding options like sea scallops with mint gremolata.
Here’s what’s on the menu:
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Friday:
Turfside Terrace and Home Stretch Suites: Buffet-style service with Colicchio’s short ribs, shrimp and grits from Samuelsson, and Simmons’ orecchiette with Swiss chard, lemon and smoky chicken sausage.
Finish Line Suites: Colicchio’s pastrami duck breast with cherry salad, Samuelsson’s fried chicken with hot honey and mac and greens and Simmons’ sea scallop with peas, asparagus, mint gremolata, creamy polenta.
Preakness Stakes, Saturday:
Turfside Terrace and Home Stretch Suites: Colicchio’s porchetta, Samuelsson’s farro risotto, with steamed seafood, carrots and peas and Simmons’ cheesy chicken and mushroom pasta pie with broccoli raab.
Finish Line Suites: Colicchio’s Wagyu beef with spicy onion and pepper salad, Samuelsson’s berbere-cured salmon with corn purée, shaved fennel and honey mustard vinaigrette and Simmons’ tea-marinated duck breast with Asian herb salad and lettuce cups.
For those who want to keep the party going after the main event, Magdalena at the Ivy Hotel (205 E. Biddle Street) is serving up a Preakness-inspired cocktail menu, including a brandy julep and another play on the Black-Eyed Susan that is meant to pay homage to Black jockeys.