“There are so many different flavors blended into Tucson,” said Susan Fulton, co-owner of Gourmet Girls and participant in the Savor Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival. “It’s very exciting, and a very fun place to be a foodie these days,” she said. With a fusion of authentic Southwest food and local, homegrown treasures, Savor is dishing up a plate full of the best of Southern Arizona’s culinary treats on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Fulton started Gourmet Girls, the only full service restaurant with a complete gluten-free kitchen, with co-owner Mary Steiger. “Mary knew she wanted to be a chef since she was 5 years old,” Fulton said. A pastry chef for more than 25 years and valedictorian graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Steiger has worked in the local eateries of Denali Park, Alaska and Sedona, Arizona and managed large bakeries, all the while dreaming of a restaurant of her own someday.
“We’ve both been super interested in food as the cheapest medicine there is,” Fulton explained, so it was a natural partnership. The two entrepreneurs share a passion for sharing healthy and delicious food, particularly for those with diet restrictions. “It’s so much more than making food and giving it people,” Fulton said. “We actually have people cry when they see they can eat everything on the menu.” For some visitors with gluten intolerance, it the first time they can order everything on a single menu. "Food is a huge part of our culture, sharing and socializing," Fulton explained, "it can be very damaging when you’re left out of that." “We are totally focused on community and what we can do to make it a better place,” she said. “I think our community has become an extended family group, and we want to help are local family. I’ve become friends with local restauranteurs, and we help each other build community.”
“Driving down the street in Tucson you will see so many local restaurants – families creating their own niches and contributions to Tucson’s uniqueness,” she added. “Staying local is so important because it keeps dollars in our own community and supports everything that is community oriented.”
Gourmet Girls is proud to be a part of the inaugural year for the Savor Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival. They will be among 40 of the regions finest chefs and local restaurants showcasing their craft fare. The event will also feature favorites in specialties like wine, beer, cheese, tea and coffee.
Savor Food and Wine Festival Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way $65 in advance, $75 day-of, includes food and wine tastings from up to 40 local chefs and restaurants. SAACA, Local First Arizona & Tucson Botanical Garden members receive $10 off using discount code MEMBER. See a list of participants and buy tickets online here or call SAACA at (520) 797-3959