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basie appetite 2013 16Scenes from the 2013 inaugural ‘Appetite’ event, which returns to the patio and stage of the Basie this weekend. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

basie appetite 2013 10Its famous stage has hosted everything from Hollywood royalty and hall of fame rockers to high school revues — but Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre seems to have hit upon a fresh recipe for success, with the new breed of live shows built around celebrity chefs.

Such culinary cable stars as Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Robert Irvine and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro have done boffo box office at the Basie. And with the arrival of this weekend’s ‘Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience,’ casual fans and full-fledged foodies can feast on a two-night/two-day excursion that’s highlighted by two superstars of the video-victuals circuit.

A four-course affair running from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, the second annual edition of Appetite also features tie-ins to the good works of some popular hometown favorites.

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A scene from last year’s first Appetite Festival — a three-day culinary and epicurean arts festival — returns to the Count Basie Theater in August.  (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)


The first weekend of August, Red Bank’s Count Basie Theater will become a veritable paradise for eaters and drinkers when the Appeitte Festival returns for a second year.

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Basie marketing director Jon Vena tells PieHole the the multiday food festival is “a celebration and recognition of what makes our area’s culinary energy thrive.”

PieHole knows that August weekends are some of the most valuable real estate on our summer calendar. With that in mind, tickets for the event are now on sale so we can lock in plans well ahead of time.

This year’s event, with its food tastings, wine and beer pairings and cooking demonstrations, will take place over a weekend as opposed to last year’s four-day event that spanned several weekdays. The festival combines eating and drinking at the theater (and its outdoor patio space) with entertainment events in the evening on the theater’s stage. Vena says this year will be more condensed and focused with the daytime events ($10 gets you in the door) pairing more closely with the headliners who will take the stage in the evening ($29-$165 for theater tickets).

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