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NEPM announces 36th Annual Wine & Food Lovers’ Weekend

Premier wine and food event returns to MGM Springfield March 10–11, 2023

Feb. 10, 2023, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — New England Public Media (NEPM) is proud to announce the return of western New England's premier wine and food event on March 10-11, 2023. The 36th Annual Wine & Food Lovers’ Weekend will be held at MGM Springfield and will celebrate the legacy of Julia Child, whose ground-breaking public television series “The French Chef” introduced generations to the joy of fine cuisine and pioneered the concept of TV cooking shows. The weekend will be co-hosted by Amy Traverso of “Weekends with Yankee” and NEPM's Monte Belmonte. Tickets are available at nepm.org/wine.

“It’s exciting to see the many ways this annual tradition has evolved over the years,” said Marie Waechter, director of events for NEPM. “We’re looking forward to working with talented chefs and purveyors from across our region to make the Wine & Food Lovers’ Weekend both a wonderful celebration of our local food and wine scene, and of course, the tastiest way to support NEPM.”

“Public media represents the best in us — in all of us,” said Traverso. “The Wine & Food Lover's Weekend is a chance to celebrate this valuable resource in style and to raise a glass to Julia Child, who transformed public television and food media into what they are today.”

The Wine & Food Lovers’ Tasting will be held on Friday, March 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. at MGM Springfield. Talented chefs from around the region will offer tapas-sized servings of their signature dishes. Guests will have the choice of more than 200 wines, craft beers, and ciders presented by Provisions of Northampton.

Provisions' Benson Hyde and Bruce McAmis are looking forward to collaborating with NEPM on this event. "At Provisions we strive to be one of the premier destinations in Massachusetts for fun and unique wine, beer, spirits, cheese, and specialty foods," said Hyde. "Partnering with New England Public Media on this event is a perfect fit."

Chefs, food experts and pundits will conduct demonstrations and present pop-up conversations throughout the evening. Guests include celebrated PBS chef Sara Moulton, host of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals;” Olivia Wong, vice president of marketing and communications at American Public Television; and Christine Tobin, the food stylist behind HBO Max's “Julia.” Chef Alex and students of the HCC Hospitality and Culinary Arts program will host a meet and greet with Amy Traverso. Attendees will have the chance to meet radio personality and avid local foodie Monte Belmonte, who is developing a new weekday radio show that is coming soon to NEPM.

The Wine & Food Lovers’ Dinner on Saturday, March 11 from 6 to 10 p.m., will be a sumptuous evening of fine dining at MGM Springfield, where guests will enjoy a unique culinary experience inspired by the legacy of Julia Child. The six-course menu, curated by Amy Traverso, will be expertly paired with wines selected by Provisions.

The dinner will be co-hosted by Amy Traverso and NEPM's Monte Belmonte. Special guests include Sarah Moulton, host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals;” Portuguese cuisine specialist David Leite, Laurie Donnelly, executive producer of lifestyle programming at GBH; and Chef Maria Loi, host of PBS’s newest cooking show, “The Life of Loi: Mediterranean Secrets,” which airs on NEPM TV Saturdays at 1 p.m. David Leite and Amy Traverso, who collaborate as co-hosts on the popular podcast “Talking with My Mouth Full,” will share insights about the menu. NEPM's Monte Belmonte will chat with Provisions sommeliers about their wine selections.

“Public media has a long legacy of creating cooking shows, beginning with Julia Child and ‘The French Chef’ and continuing today with Chef Maria Loi and ‘The Life of Loi,’” said Laurie Donnelly, executive producer for national lifestyle programming overseeing GBH Lifestyles.

“‘The Life of Loi’ puts a spotlight on Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Maria brings unmatched energy to the show, which offers a unique look at the healthiest cuisine in the world and the secret ingredient to longevity.”

Tickets are available at nepm.org/wine. Proceeds from the event benefit New England Public Media.

Amy Traverso

Amy Traverso is the senior food editor at Yankee magazine and co-host of the television series “Weekends with Yankee,” as well as the podcast “Talking with My Mouth Full.” Previously, she was food editor at Boston magazine and an associate food editor at Sunset magazine. Her work has also been published in The Boston Globe, Saveur, and Travel & Leisure, and she has appeared on Hallmark Home & Family, The Martha Stewart Show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Amy is the author of “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” which was a finalist for the Julia Child Award for best first-time author and won an IACP Cookbook Award in the “American” category. Traverso lives in the Boston area.

Monte Belmonte

Monte Belmonte was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for the last 20 years — the last seventeen of them as host of “Mornings with Monte” on The River, 93.9/WRSI. During his time as host of “Mornings with Monte,” he developed several local fundraising campaigns, including the annual pre-thanksgiving “Monte’s March” for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Monte also serves as the volunteer president of the board of the nonprofit Shea Theater Arts Center in his hometown of Great Falls (Turners Falls). His new weekday radio show for NEPM is in development and will premiere later this month.

David Leite

David Leite is the publisher of the website Leite’s Culinaria, which he founded in 1999. His first book, “The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast,” won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. His most recent book, “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression,” was published by Dey Street Books in 2017. In 2006, he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website. In 2022, David teamed up with new co-host Amy Traverso for his popular podcast, “Talking with My Mouth Full,” which has been nominated for various awards.

Sara Moulton

Sara Moulton was the co-founder of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, executive chef of Gourmet magazine, food editor of “Good Morning America,” and the host of several well-loved shows on the Food Network during that channel’s first decade. A protégée of Julia Child, Sara is the author of several cookbooks including her latest, “Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How To Make Everything Taste Better.” The 11th season of her popular public television show, “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” was seen on NEPM TV in the fall of 2022.

Christine Tobin

Christine Tobin is one of the most sought-after food stylists in the business, having worked on more than 20 film productions including “Julia” on HBO Max,” “Little Women,” “American Hustle,” and “Olive Kitteridge.” Christine brings a unique arts and culinary background to her craft as a graduate of the School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and a veteran of the Boston restaurant scene. She lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts, with her
children Liam and Charlotte.

Maria Loi

Maria Loi is an internationally renowned entrepreneur, author, television personality and philanthropist. Known as “the Julia Child of Greece,” she is the founder and face of a lifestyle brand that nurtures a healthy body and soul, melds the inspiration of ancient Greece with a modern approach to the Mediterranean diet, and helps people boost their immunity and improve their health, wellness and longevity. The author of more than 36 cookbooks, she is also host of the new show, “The Life of Loi,” which debuted on NEPM TV in December 2022.

Laurie Donnelly is executive producer for national lifestyle programming overseeing GBH Lifestyles. She is a Peabody, Emmy, and James Beard award-winning executive producer who has worked with WGBH for over 30 years and has created and launched 16 original national public television series in addition to mini-series and specials. She is the executive producer for several ongoing award-winning national Public Television lifestyle series: “Weekends with Yankee,” “Moveable Feast with Relish,” “Simply Ming” with celebrity chef Ming Tsai, “Road Food” with Misha Collins, and “Lidia Celebrates America” with Lidia Bastianich.

Olivia Wong is vice president of marketing and communications at American Public Television (APT), responsible for APT's brand and content marketing and communications strategies for programming content distribution, multicast channel CreateTV, and new initiatives. Prior to joining APT in 2021, Wong spent nearly two decades at public media flagship stations GBH Boston and WETA Washington, D.C.

The 36th Annual Wine & Food Lovers’ Weekend is sponsored by and partnered with Provisions, MGM Springfield, Yankee magazine and “Weekends with Yankee,” the Dennis Group, AM Lithography, Durocher Florist, Happy Valley Organics, Richardson’s Candy Kitchen, Jasper Hill Farm, and Country Bank. Media sponsors include MassLive, The Republican, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Valley Advocate, The Reminder, and Yankee magazine.


New England Public Media is a community-supported, independent non-profit organization based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Through a deep commitment to independent local journalism, trusted educational content, inspired cultural offerings, and civic engagement, NEPM endeavors to share new voices and inspire new conversations. It provides audiences with a broad array of local and national programs across all media —TV, radio, online, and mobile, including PBS and NPR programs as well as locally produced series, podcasts and specials. Its four digital TV channels, and two radio networks present news, jazz and classical music, documentaries, talk, drama, plus cultural and educational programming.
For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media