Like magicians, chefs rarely reveal their secrets and are capable of performing astounding feats with a table and a salt shaker. Get a behind-the-scenes look at culinary wizardry with today’s Groupon: for $22, you get a two-hour gourmet food tour (a $45 value) from Newport Gourmet Tours in Newport, Rhode Island.
Newport Gourmet Tours invites guests to peek behind the kitchen curtain with two-hour walking expeditions that explore Newport’s world-class restaurants and gourmet shops. Chef Michael Martini, a 25-year veteran of the Rhode Island restaurant trenches, whisks fervent foodies into workspaces of local chefs, chocolatiers, and cheesemongers for an inside look at how the finest foods wade through steel, fire, and itchy spice blends to land on perfectly presented plates. The Broadway Tour whisks fervent foodies through the heart of the city's Restaurant Row, with stops at an eatery frequented by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and a local bakery, among others. The Bellevue Tour treats strollers to a trek through a gourmet cheese shop and a restaurant at the Victorian casino, a taste of a former mayor's famous spaghetti sauce, and more.
On both tours Michael’s encyclopedic knowledge, carefully honed perspective, and VIP access, as well as a sample from that night’s menu at each destination along the way, bring an essential experience for every culinary connoisseur. Newport Gourmet Tours cover fewer than two miles, moving at a leisurely pace to accommodate easily distracted wanderers and the slow-moving owners of stuffed bellies.
The Broadway Tour meets at the Vanderbilt Hall Hotel on Thursdays at 2 p.m.; the Bellevue Tour starts from Hotel Viking on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Check the calendar for details.
Newport Gourmet Tours
Ann and Michael Martini have long shared a love and familiarity with Rhode Island's culinary landscape. Ann left her post at Rhode Island Monthly to work with chefs, restaurants, and food events, and Michael, a professional chef, has let his knives fly at upscale Rhode Island eateries for more than 25 years. Together, they bring outsiders into New England's culinary gems to sample signature dishes, tour kitchens, meet chefs, and get lucky guests’ tongues autographed. Ann coordinates each tour, then sends Michael off with up to a dozen people to receive insider access to restaurants, gourmet shops, and other palate-pleasing stops. For two hours, groups cover about 2 miles of ground at a leisurely pace. There are treats to sample at each stop—although, according to the Sun Chronicle, "What's almost as good as the food is the fact that the chefs welcome tour guests into their kitchens, which in many cases have sous chefs and other personnel beginning to prepare for dinner service."