Hell’s Kitchen chef hosts Festival of Trees’ Taste of the Festival


METHUEN — The Festival of Trees’ second annual Taste of the Festival will be held on Friday, Nov. 19, with special guest host Chef Jason Santos, second-place winner of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen.

This culinary celebration features specialty foods from more than 20 local restaurants, as well as the unveiling of more than 200 spectacular Christmas Trees to kick off the 17th annual Festival of Trees, which opens Nov. 20.

“We are thrilled to have such a talented guest as Jason Santos to help us kick off the 2010 Taste of the Festival.” said Ann Guastaferro, president of the Festival of Trees. “Thanks to the generosity of Chef Santos and the local restaurants that are participating, guests will able to experience the wondeful cuisine the Merrimack Valley has to offer.”

As executive chef of Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville, Chef Santos is known for his whimsical and inventive dishes that combine Asian, French and traditional Americal flavors, as well as his trademark blue hair.

“I am very much looking forward to hosting such a great festival; it’s a really nice change to be able to step out of the kitchen for such a great cause,” said Jason Santos. “What better way is there to kick off the holidays than this amazing event?”

The taste of the Festival will run from 6-10 p.m. Tickets ($50) can be purchased by calling 978-685-8878 or via e-mail at info@methuenfestivaloftrees.com. Tickets are limited to 400 guests.

The Festival of Trees officially opens Nov. 20 and runs through Dec. 4. It’s open weekdays from 5-9 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. General Admission is $8, with children under 12 free.

The Festival is located at Valley Office Park, 13 Branch St., Methuen. For more information, visit www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com.

The Festival of Trees is dedicated to the preservation and history of the communities of the Merrimack Valley and in developing partnerships with the state, historic groups and other nonprofit organizations to preserve the heritage that make the Merrimack Valley so unique. It began with funding for the restoration of Methuen’s Tenney Gatehouse in 1994. It has been a catalyst for historic preservation and this year will celebrate the major milestone of contributing $1 million to more than 60 projects in the Merrimack Valley.