New York City Wine & Food Festival: Something for Every Palate

September 28, 2013 5:00 pm Last Updated: September 29, 2013 10:30 pm

NEW YORK—Celebrity chefs, the city’s top chefs, and wine and spirit makers are planning the city’s biggest food party, for the sake of a good cause.

The sixth annual Food Network Wine & Food Festival takes place on Oct. 17–20, with 100 percent of the net proceeds to benefit hunger relief programs: the Food Bank of New York City and Share Our Strength, which works to end childhood hunger in the United States. In 2011, the festival raised more than $1.2 million for these charities.

Tastings, classes, late-night parties, brunches, small-dinner seminars all feature on the menu.

For those new to the festival, Grand Tastings is a signature event, featuring personalities such as Giada de Laurentiis, Tyler Laurence, Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse, and Anne Burrell. The Grand Tastings offer culinary demonstrations by celebrity chefs, bites from dishes prepared by New York’s top chefs, and samples of wines and spirits from Southern Wines & Spirits of New York. 

The other classic events also include the Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray, and Tacos & Tequila hosted by Bobby Flay. Those familiar with the festival and looking for new events can choose Oktoberfest hosted by Andrew Zimmern; or La Sagra Sunday Slices, an event focused on the humble pizza; or a cross-country dinner hosted by Sean Brock, George Mendes, and Daniel Patterson.

Night owls will enjoy the evening soirées. Guy Fieri’s Rock of Ages Party is sold out, but tickets are still available for some other events. If you enjoy a well-crafted cocktail, go see the masters face off at the Mixology Masters at Bagatelle hosted by Justin Warner, which is also a new event this year. Where else can you sample cutting edge cocktails from Death and Company, the Rum House, and Silver Lining Bar under one roof?

Todd English will also host a Global Night Market at The Plaza Food Hall, a walk-around tasting from vendors the world over.

Finally, if you’re hungry for learning, the choices are varied: Make pizza with Jim Lahey; bake pies with Four and Twenty Blackbirds; make tartines with Le Pain Quotidien’s Alain Coumont; roll sushi with Masaharu Morimoto; taste wine like a pro with Wine Spectator. Or wax philosophical about food and memory with Food & Wine’s editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, moderating a panel of chefs including Gabrielle Hamilton, Marcus Samuelsson, and Andy Ricker.



Chef Marc Murphy

Landmarc, Ditch Plains

Chef Marc Murphy is participating in the Burger Bash, Taste NY Brunch, and the Bloody Mary Brunch. 

Epoch Times: What’s most exciting about these events?

Marc Murphy: The NYCWFF has so many amazing events it’s hard to keep up! Burger Bash is such a staple, so it’s always fun to participate because the energy is great and you know people are there to eat and I love to feed them! I’m also really happy to be a part of the Taste of NY Brunch with Governor Cuomo. He does a great job to help promote New York State products and this event is really going to showcase the best of what New York State has to offer, which is exciting. 

Epoch Times: What dishes will you be preparing this year?

Mr. Murphy: For Burger Bash, we’re going as my restaurant Ditch Plains and serving up the The Sweet Cheesus, an all beef burger with our famous mac n’ cheese, bacon, and sweet + spicy relish. For the Taste of NY Brunch we’re using all local ingredients and I’m making a frittata with red kale and wild mushrooms and a salad with smoked oyster vinaigrette.

Epoch Times: What’s the best thing about the festival?

Mr. Murphy: I love the camaraderie and energy that all the chefs have during the festival. It’s really a great time getting to see all your friends from across the country and everyone always has a lot of fun! The festival also benefits Share Our Strength, which is a charity that I’m heavily involved with and am a member of their Leadership Council. It’s nice to know the festival is raising awareness and money to support their efforts to end childhood hunger in America. 


Chef Amanda Freitag

Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

Chef Amanda Freitag is participating in the Bloody Mary Brunch. 

Epoch Times: What’s most exciting about it?

Amanda Freitag: I am most excited about hanging out with my fellow “Chopped” judges! We actually like each other.

Epoch Times: What dishes will you be preparing?

Ms. Freitag: I will be doing what I do best and judging the dishes and tasting Bloody Marys.

Epoch Times: What’s the best thing about the festival?

Ms. Freitag: For me, the best thing about the festival is having all the chefs in town and getting to see everyone. I also really enjoy connecting with the “Chopped” fans, they are great.

Epoch Times: Events you’re putting on your must-attend list:

Ms. Freitag: I always love Tacos & Tequila because those are two of my favorite things and there is always such a fun energy at that particular event.


Chef Todd English

Todd English Food Hall, Olives

Chef Todd English is hosting the new Global Night Market at The Plaza this year. 

Epoch Times: What’s most exciting about it?

Todd English: I love the idea of this Night Market event and our venue lends itself to this type of event perfectly, so we’re excited to be able to bring food lovers together to experience all we have to offer. 

We’re going to have a wide variety of multiethnic options from our Food Hall stations. We are going to showcase our best Night Market dishes such as our signature chicken Parmesan sliders, street tacos from our taqueria, and our flatbread pizzas. We’ll definitely feature dumplings and noodles from the East and West, plus our notorious sushi is always a crowd pleaser. 

Fall is one of my favorite seasons so we’ll also be creating some seasonal dishes to celebrate the local harvest. We’re going all out! 

Epoch Times: You’re also participating in the Oyster Bash. What are you going to be preparing? What’s your favorite take on oysters?

Mr. English: I love oysters and am excited to be a part of the event and work with Watch Hill Oysters out of Rhode Island. I’ve been on this kick of grilled oysters lately so I may do something savory, or I may do something cold with fruit and citrus notes. Come to the event and find out which dish I make!

Epoch Times: What’s the best thing about the festival?

Mr. English: I’m excited to create The Global Night Market with the festival and looking forward to seeing friends old and new and just having a great time all weekend! There’s a real camaraderie among the chefs and a healthy competitive spirit at some of the events too. It’s a great place to catch up with everyone and see a lot of friends from out of town. It’s a great way for NYC to showcase its amazing chefs and restaurants and see everyone come out to celebrate. It’s one big party!

Epoch Times: Events you’re putting on your must check out list:

Mr. English: Of course the Global Night Market at the Food Hall and the Oyster Bash, which I’m hosting and participating in, respectively. I will drop in on several others as well as run around to my restaurants seeing lots of friends and know it will be a fantastic time.