A festival of food, wine, culture, culinary talent and foodies! An elaborate 4-day affair bringing in thousands of people together in one fun city, offering a wide array of events to satisfy every experience-craving! A brilliant idea!
There are chef demos, grand tastings, walk around tastings, intimate dinners, talks, seminars, brunches and lunches, night markets, wine exploration, celebrity chef book signings, late-night parties .... you name it! Every event is star-studded with big names in the culinary industry - bringing these otherwise unattainable, up close and personal experiences, to people like you and me.
This was the first year I ventured out to NYC to take in some of the events during the festival. It is impossible to do it all, so one has to be selective based on time, interest and budget. I chose four events this year (some of which had me practically giddy with excitement), and here are some of the highlights:
1. The most exciting event by far, was the Intimate Dinner hosted by chef David Kinch of Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, California. This man is a genius. EVERYONE in the culinary industry seems to be talking about him right now. He has taken the concept of “haute cuisine” and paired it masterfully with another wonderful concept, “farm to table”. His new book, Manresa, is just released and each diner got a signed copy of it that night. This will be my bible for the coming months - that’s for sure!
2. Another really cool event I attended was at Times Center, a talk with David Chang and Alex Atala- two luminaries of the culinary world. I am an absolute fan of both. What struck me about these two chefs was how super-talented yet super-humble they are. When David Chang was asked what made Momofuku so successful, he simply said, “it was a fluke!” Now, David had toiled for years and years, learning the art of cooking, in grueling kitchen-environments around the world. His hard work is well-deserved. Yet this man has no idea of what an amazing chef he now is! The world keeps telling him that, and yet he does not believe it.
Alex Atala was such a soft spoken man. He was zen-personified. His vast knowledge of ingredients from the Amazon region as well as those from all over the world is mind blowing. He can speak just as fluently about a rare ingredient from the Amazon as he can about a rare spice from India.
It was interesting to hear that, according to Alex Atala, “creativity” is not about doing what no one is doing. Instead it is doing what others are doing - but in a surprising way. If you really stop and think about it, it makes a lot of sense and tells you a lot about this chef.
David Chang talked about his inspiration for his restaurants. He said he wanted to make great food accessible to the masses. He said, until recently, good food could only be had at fancy restaurants with white table cloths. He wanted to change that culture to prove that the most humble of restaurants and kitchens can make food just as good, if not better.
Alex Atala, confessed that he used to be one of those chefs who was always yelling in the kitchen. He soon realized that the atmosphere in the kitchen directly effects the diner’s experience. So, he consciously decided to change that experience for himself, his staff as well as his diners. He has three laws in a kitchen: Do not run. Do not stop. Do not talk.
I LOVED this intimate glimpse of two of my idols!
For the rest of this article by Fairfield County Foodie, visit http://www.fcfoodie.com