Dear Friends and Readers,
I have always loved food festivals. In Italy, I used to go to food festivals with friends and family, but I admit that America takes the concept of food festivals to the next level! I went to the first Wine and Food Festival in Atlantic City in 201o, but the New York City Wine and Food Festival, also known as NYCWFF is really my favorite. No, it’s not because it takes place few blocks away from my apartment. It is because of the event, the people, the enthusiasm of getting together and celebrating food and wime from all over the world… all for charity!
Those of you who were already reading this blog last year will remember the memorable event with all the contestants of the Next Iron Chef and the great picture of me and Alton Brown. This year I had even more of a blast! To my friends living outside of NYC I should say that there is no better time to visit the Big Apple than the weekend of the NYCWFF. Not only you get to meet chefs and TV personalities, you get to eat what they cook and party with them too!
But let’s start from the very beginning, the Opening Brunch organized by Lee Brian Schrager (the man behind the Festivals in NYC and Miami) at the Dream hotel. I arrive at the Dream Rooftop and immediately see many food bloggers and other prominent industry insiders. Then I catch a glimpse of a man dressed in a Isaia suit (for those of you who did not grow up in a Neapolitan household, Isaia and Kiton are like Hermes’ Birkins in the suit world, second only to Saville Row)… and of course it turns out to be David Rocco, a TV personality and celebrity chef from Food Network Canada, who hosts Dolce Vita, one of my favorite cooking show. As it happens David and I have a couple of friends in common so we start chatting about Ravello and the Amalfi Coast. Best way to start a great weekend of wine and food!
Next event for my personal tour is Meatpacking Uncorked, an event aimed at showcasing the great restaurants of the Meatpacking District with an additional surprise. The whole neighbourhood turns into a giant party because if you are in the mood for some nighttime shopping, you will find that several store are hosting their own party featuring the celebrity chefs from Cooking Channel!
Another event that has become the simbol of the NYCWFF is the Grand Tasting: you can taste the creations of many brands who exhibit their products of you can see celebrity chefs such as Giada, Tyler, Bobby, Sunny, Guy in action during their demos. It’s funny that these celebrity chefs are such a household name that you only need to say their first name and everyone knows who you are talking about ! The Grand Tasting is a lot of fun and I had a nice conversation with former Top Chef Contestant Ricahrd lais who give me the beauty plate from hims demo! (what a sweetheart!)
My last event for this year’s NYCWFF was a concert! The band Train recently launched a brand of wines called Save Me, San Francisco and they played at the food trucks event hosted by Andrew Zimmern. I have a very good relationship with food trucks because, as many of you may remember, during The Next Food Network Star Season 6, I actually won
the food truck challenge. After that experience I have the utmost respect for the chefs who cook in such close quarters. A small kitchen, in conparison, is a piece of cake! So the event featured the best food trucks and some great music too. Train took the stage and everyone forgot about the food and wine and enjoyed the great music and Patrick Moynahan’s great voice and fun personality. And that was the best way to bring NYCWFF 2012 to a close…. until next year!
Who knows maybe one day I, too, will have an event at the NYCWFF… oh people don’t look at me like that… a girl’s gotta dr