Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.
It’s October, which is always good news for hungry New Yorkers. Back for its eighth consecutive year, the New York City Wine & Food Festival is descending on the Big Apple, bringing together the world’s greatest chefs, winemakers, spirits distillers and culinary personalities to educate, entertain, and feed attendees. A sister event to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, it’s the only fest in New York that unites culinary icons from around the globe and America’s most adored television chefs. The best part? One-hundred percent of net proceeds benefit the Food Bank for NYC, and they’ve raised $8.5 million to date.
To learn more about what to expect from this year’s fest, we caught up with NYCWFF Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager. Check out the Q&A with him below and our picks for the events we’re most looking forward to this year.
You founded the NYCWFF seven years ago, and it’s been a great success ever since. What really drove you to start this amazing yearly series of events?
NYCWFF is modeled after the success of its sister SOBEWFF – which will celebrate 15 years next February. We did an event in New York City in 2007 called SWEET to start gauging interest of consumers, talent and partners in potentially making it something larger. In 2008, we officially started the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival as it occurs today, raising $8.5 million to date for Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry®.
In 2014, NYCWFF raised more than $1 million for the Food Bank of NYC (and No Kid Hungry). Do you know what types of initiatives the Food Bank funds with your donation?
During a recent conversation with Food Bank For New York City President & CEO Margarette Purvis, she mentioned last year they were able to provide more than 2.5 million meals with 2014’s proceeds – that’s an incredible number.
Related: Feel Good Friday: Feast Portland
What event(s) are you most looking forward to this year? Whose food are you most excited to taste?
That’s a little like asking someone to choose their favorite child – I’m looking forward to all of them. I think our Ramen Party that’s new this year will be really great, and the return of Meatopia, hosted by Michael Symon, to close-out the Festival is always delicious.
Any tips for the first time attendee on how to pace him or herself when doing a tasting?
Remember to drink lots of water and wear comfortable shoes.
With so many events to choose from, navigating the NYCWFF can be a little overwhelming. To help you make educated decisions, listed some of the events we’re most looking forward to this year.
Blue Moon Burger Bash
Presented by Pat LaFrieda, Hosted by Rachel Ray
This is one of our favorite events of the fest, we look forward to it every year. Sample delicious, juicy burgers from some of the best chefs and restaurants in town including Michael White, Angie Mar and Shake Shack while enjoying views of the city skyline on Pier 92. And for the first time ever, you’ll be able to dig into some of the best mac and cheese dishes with the Burger Bash’s brand new Smack Down contest. Tickets
Jets + Chefs: The Ultimate Tailgate
Hosted by Joe Namath and Mario Batali
If you’re looking for a family-friendly event that adults will love just as much as the kids, join Mario Batali, Joe Namath and other former and current New York Jets players for a day of games and delicious eats. Chefs from restaurants like Num Pang Sandwich Shop, American Cut and Artichoke Basille’s Pizza will be recreated tailgating favorites like steaks, ribs and wings for a mouthwatering twist on the classics.
Presented by Creekstone Farms, Hosted by Michael Symon
Created and envisioned by the late James Beard Award-winning writer and Manual contributor Josh Ozersky, Meatopia is not to be missed. With a simple mission to cook every part of every animal over open fires, the “Whole Animal Court” will include whole hogs, lambs and goats along with beef, chicken, duck, turkey and quail. And with chefs participating from restaurants like Brindle Room, Hill Country Barbecue and Hometown Bar-B-Que, you know the meat sweats will be worth every bite. Tickets
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