New York City Wine & Food Festival
Hear the words “food festival” and usually the image that comes to mind is that of gluttony: people indulging in sumptuous feasts, drinking wine from elaborate goblets, basically a bacchanalian free-for-all. Or, maybe the picture those words paint is one of wealth and privilege: entry to many of the more famous food fests comes with a hefty price tag. What you probably don’t envision is 100% of proceeds—upwards of $1 million—going to charity. In fact, that’s exactly what New York City Wine & Food Festival is all about. Culinary Greats at the New York City Wine and Food Festival Having just celebrated its sixth anniversary, this Food Network and Food & Wine Magazine sponsored event uses one of the world’s greatest foodie cities as the backdrop for this charitable event. Culinary heavy-hitters from around the globe and celebrity chefs from Food Network gather to serve up delicious dishes for a good cause. Eat, Drink & End Hunger: NYCWFF was born back in 2007 as a one-night event called SWEET. The following year, the festival’s founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager, decided to take the event to the next level, launching what is now the New York City Wine and Food Festival. Sister-festival to South Beach Wine & Food, NYCWFF has quickly gained notoriety and acclaim as one of the country’s most successful food festivals. Like South Beach Wine & Food, NYCWFF is held not only to celebrate great food, excellent wine and talented chefs and vintners, but to raise funds for hunger-relief. Proceeds go to the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign. NYCWFF has raised more than $6 million for these worthy causes. Tasty Events: In 2013, NYCWFF delivered the goods again, creating high-profile events like the Food & Wine Best New Chefs 25th Anniversary Party, which was held at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Gourmet food was paired with sweeping views of Central Park, where celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio, Andrew Carmellini and Daniel Boulud mingled with guests. Other not-to-be-missed events during the festival included the Bank of America Dinner Series, more intimate affairs with meals prepared by chefs like Daniel Patterson and Michael Tusk, and the popular Global Night Market tasting event, hosted by Todd English and held in the Plaza’s Food Hall. It’s not all eating all the time though; there are plenty of opportunities for dedicated foodies to learn more about their passion in the many seminars and workshops that are offered. Take a cake-decorating class from the master herself, Martha Stewart; refine your palate in a tasting class with Wine Spectator Magazine; learn how to turn your hobby into a career and take a pitching class with panelists like Tyler Florence and Rachael Ray. Over the course of four days, you’ll rub elbows with NYC’s—and the world’s—best chefs and food & drink superstars. You’ll stuff your face, you’ll drink too much, you’ll learn from the greats and you’ll party. Fortunately, the New York City Wine and Food Festival is one event that you don’t have to feel guilty about going big at.