Party Time

Celebrating its fifth year, the annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine once again welcomed culinary icons, TV chefs and entertainment personalities to the Big Apple. The sister festival of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami Beach, the New York City Festival is the brainchild of Lee Brian Schrager, vice president of corporate communications and national events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America.

The New York City Festival, held Oct. 11-14 this year, not only celebrates the best of food and drink, it also benefits the hunger-relief programs of Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength. All of the proceeds from the festival go to these community-based organizations.

“This year’s program is truly a celebration of what the festival is all about,” Schrager said prior to the event. “Returning favorite events get a makeover, we move to new venues throughout the city and have come up with a whole series of fresh events to satisfy any palate.”

Big Apple Delight

A highlight of the New York City Festival weekend was on Oct. 11, when Bank of America presented On The Chopping Block: A Roast of Anthony Bourdain, hosted by Mario Batali and Willie Geist and produced by Carolines on Broadway. Ted Allen, Guy Fieri, Gilbert Gottfried, Artie Lange, Marc Maron, Jim Norton, Rachael Ray, Eric Ripert and Sarah Silverman all took part. The roast took place at Pier Sixty and featured a four-course dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael White.

One of the new additions to the 2012 festival was its first-ever collaboration with The International Culinary Center and a special schedule of events that took place at The International Culinary Center in SoHo. The International Culinary Center began the festival with Head of Plate: The International Culinary Center Creates Celebrated Dishes & Cocktails, a tasting and high-tech cocktail reception on the center’s fifth-floor loft space in SoHo.

Throughout the festival weekend, The International Culinary Center held a series of all-star dinners, including The Dinner to End All Dinners hosted by Nathan Myhrvold, Tyler's Ultimate Dinner hosted by Tyler Florence and Opening The Slanted Door with Charles Phan. In addition, The International Culinary Center hosted an array of pairing seminars and master classes.

The New York City Wine & Food Festival also showcased food in ways that were tied in to fun and fitness. Returning in 2012 was the festival’s featured family program, Fun and Fit in the City presented by Target. Hosted by Guy Fieri at Basketball City, the event featured healthy food samplings, fitness activities and cooking demonstrations with Sunny Anderson, Melissa d’Arabian, Giada De Laurentiis and Andrew Zimmern.

Another aspect of the festival was highlighting ongoing trends in the food industry, such as the food truck craze. This year, The New York Times and Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. presented Trucks & Train, which was hosted by Andrew Zimmern. The Grammy-winning band Train appeared at Basketball City (Pier 36) along with dozens of New York City’s finest food trucks.

Now, the New York City Wine & Food Festival begins looking forward to the 2013 event on Oct. 10-13, 2013. In the meantime, however, Schrager and his team are firmly focused on the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival to be held Feb. 21-24.

South Beach Style

The 2013 version of the South Beach Festival will be the 12th-annual event, which is a charity event in support of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. The 2013 South Beach Festival has already released its lineup, and will feature returning classics and new events.

Some of the fan favorites returning in 2013 include Moët Hennessy's The Q hosted by Paula Deen and Sons, the Amstel Light Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray, the Dolce Brunch hosted by Daniel Boulud, the Barilla Interactive Lunch hosted by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Thrillist’s BBQ & The Blues hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian and Swine & Wine hosted by Michelle Bernstein.

New events in 2013 will include Garden to Glass hosted by Emeril Lagasse and a celebrity chef golf tournament. “We strive to bring attendees access to exclusive experiences,” Schrager said. “We’re excited to share an extraordinary line-up with our fellow wine, spirits and food enthusiasts.”

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