By Hillary Latos
The Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (NYCWFF) is a star-studded four-day event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned chefs, wine and spirit producers, culinary personalities, lifestyle experts and America’s most beloved television chefs while raising funds to support the fight to end hunger with Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry®.
NYCWFF is considered the largest wine and food festival in New York City with more than 100 events and widely recognized for its tastings in celebration of America’s favorite foods, intimate dinners with world-renowned chefs, late night parties, hands-on classes, educational seminars, wine tastings and more. Over 50,000 passionate gourmands and aficionados sip, swirl and savor world-class cuisine, wine and spirits served up by the industry’s finest.
Kicking off the festivities on Thursday was a fun filled Spanish tapas styled late night late-night jaunt around renowned chef, José Andrés’s Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, considered to be his “love letter to Spain”. Guests wandered about this street themed eatery through its many kiosks, and bars tasting salty Spanish jamón, perfect tortilla española, spicy patatas bravas, and crispy churros with chocolate while sipping on unlimited refreshing beer, wine and creative cocktails.
Another crowd pleasing event was the tacos and tequila late night fiesta hosted by 7-time James Beard Award Winner, Rick Bayless, owner of the iconic Frontera Grill. Guests feasted on plenty of delicious tacos, festive side dishes and sipped on unlimited tequila cocktail creations, beer and wine. DJs kept the party going late into the night.
Media and trade got to preview the Grand tasting hosted hosted by Wine Spectator the day before it opened to the public. One of the highlights was the sought-after Wine GEMS Collection Room presented by Wine Spectator and the Boutique Spirits Collection, where guests were able to taste rare, exclusive or limited vintage wines and spirits from the SGWS and Lauber Imports portfolios.
Some of the highlights were the interesting panels hosted by industry leaders. Food and Fake News was hosted by Gail Simmons, which addressed common food industry myths and misconceptions. Panelists discussed why rumors take hold, the cultural implications those misconceptions have on food preferences and beliefs. Anchored by the stigma around MSG, this panel set an example for peers and consumers to act as trusted sources for factual, unbiased information.
• Gail Simmons, Cookbook Author and TV Personality
• Angie Mar, Chef/owner of The Beatrice Inn, Manhattan
• Dan Pashman, Host & Creator of The Sporkful Podcast
• Jason Riis, Behavioral Scientist
The second panel was on females in the industry
Another panel addressed Social Media in the hospitality industry. Measuring ROI from social media can be difficult for restaurants and hospitality brands but the potential bottom-line return from Instagram and other platforms should not be ignored. The panel was led by Andy Lederman, CEO of Bucket Listers, a social-first media company that helps businesses realize a return through social media partnerships and touched on best practices and success stories from the panel experts.
To close out a whirlwind weekend of eating and drinking, on Sunday Valerie Bertinelli, host of Food Network’s Valerie’s Home Cooking and co-host of Kids Baking Championship,hosted a rooftop rose soiree. Held at the beautiful Skylark lounge, guests were treated to endless rose and gourmet treats with views over the beloved midtown skyline.