It has been a couple weeks since my whirlwind adventure at the New York City Wine and Food Festival, which was filled with high-energy events and rubbing elbows with celebrity chefs. (OK, not really rubbing elbows, but we were close.) Food & Drink International attended a variety of events held by Food Network chefs, listened to them share life experiences that led to their culinary careers and tasted some of the greatest food and beverages on the market today. Although the parties were amazing, it was just as important to remember why the festival exists – to raise funds for No Kid Hungry Campaign and the Food Bank for New York City – and learn how leaders in the food industry are making a difference in terms of food education with the next generation.

Foodseum2Did you know that humankind's ancestors began encasing mastodon meat two-and-a-half-million years ago or that people shared the streets of Chicago with cattle in 1913? It is the mission of Chicago’s first nonprofit food museum – Foodseum – to provide a central location for anyone to learn about, celebrate and be inspired by food. The first exhibit, “The Hot Dog and Encased Meat of the World” opened Sept. 19.

Tradition and authenticity in the kitchen is treasured among many cultures. In fact, Chef Seamus Mullen says during the Roots Conference that when he first went to Spain at 16 years old, he discovered “food is the language of the culture.” Because tradition and authenticity are so valued, companies have been created to keep those alive. For example, Lou Papé in France specializes in renting grandmothers to those who long for “grandma’s home cooking” to cure their nostalgia and prepare traditional meals. It’s catching on in the United States as companies are hiring grandmas to cook, clean, provide after school care, you name it. But is tradition and authenticity in kitchens throughout the United States today really that important?

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If a chef compiled all the ingredients the animal you were about to consume ate during its life into a dish or centerpiece, what would that look like? Would you eat it? Elysian Fields Sheep Farm and Elysian Fields brand founder Keith Martin tells us during the Roots Conference that a chef did create a centerpiece out of the food his lambs eat and it really made an impact.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Food on display at Evolution Of Mexican Cuisine hosted by Enrique Olvera as a part of the Bank of America Dinner Series during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at Park Lane Hotel on October 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

The crisp air has blown in and the smell of pumpkin is everywhere – from your morning latte to the incense in the office – and that can only mean fall has arrived. The new season begins, bringing with it the highly anticipated annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, one of the largest wine and food festivals in the United States. 

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