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NEW YORK For an event to qualify as a “food event,” it must meet a few criteria. There must be at least one celebrity chef involved. It must have some affiliation with a food magazine (Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Food & Wine are the usual suspects) or a hunger charity (such as Citymeals-on-Wheels or City Harvest). Trufflesthe fungus, not the chocolatemust be somewhere amongst the edibles. And Drew Nieporent must be there. Bon Appetit and the Food Network's fifth annual American Food and Entertaining Awards at the W New YorkUnion Square certainly qualified as a food event, which is fortunate for Al Roker, the Today Show's affable weatherman, who told guests, “I only eat at food events.” Roker, who would have gone hungry if uber-chefs Todd English and Alain Ducasse weren't behind the stove that night, hosted the awards show and dinner for 110 of the biggest foodies in town.
Boston-based design pro Bryan Rafanelli, who had worked with fellow Bostonian English for an event earlier this year, was hired to posh up the W's Great Room for the event. (English likes his work so much that Rafanelli is working on a redesign for Olives.) The evening's colors were chosen by the Bon Appetit editorial staff, and from there, the marketing staff worked with Rafanelli to create a simple, elegant theme that would translate well on camera. (The Food Network will broadcast the awards show on October 13.) The simple decor included low vasesto avoid obstructing the camera's viewsfilled with flowers, and the table settings included silver-rimmed dinner plates and ribbons that matched the lavender color of the event's programs and menus.
The event's martini and olive-themed gift bag featured a martini shaker embossed with the Food Network logo, Joe Boxer boxers with a green olive pattern, a black olive foam
stress squeezer from Olives, Alain Ducasse's seasonal newsletter entitled “I love Olive,” a bottle of Ralph Lauren's Romance fragrance, an Oxo peeler, a paperback copy of fast food industry expose bestseller Fast Food Nation and a Moet Chandon champagne cap. The cute bag, which was decorated with an illustration of a cocktail party, was designed by Bon Appetit illustrator Leonard Cadiente.
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