By Melissa Ward Schorsch Posted October 16, 2012, 2:03 PM EDT
Throngs of foodies flocked to culinary demonstrations, tastings, seminars, and parties for the fifth run of the New York City Wine & Food Festival this weekend. Starting on Thursday, October 11, the four-day eating, drinking, and culinary series from Southern Wine & Spirits once again overtook the city, hosting gatherings from SoHo and the meatpacking district to Midtown and Brooklyn.
Ever expanding, this year's festival had plenty of new events, including a roast of Anthony Bourdain and a fried chicken sampling dubbed Shake & Bake with Whoopi Goldberg and Questlove. Naturally, Food Network stars returned to host popular outings, including Giada De Laurentiis for the festival's opener Meatball Madness, Sandra Lee at the Godiva-sponsored dessert tasting known as Sweet, and Bobby Flay for the Mexican-inflected Tacos & Tequila, which was expected to serve 29,700 tacos. Guy Fieri held court at Pier 36 for the daylong Fun and Fit in the City sponsored by Target, which offered culinary demonstrations by Andrew Zimmern and Rachael Ray. Bringing extra foodie events to the festival this year was first-time partner, the International Culinary Center.
To date, the Wine & Food Festival has raised more than $5 million for Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength, and corporate brands played an important role in extending the offerings of the gastronomic series. As a big sponsor and official card of the festival, MasterCard offered cardholders presale ticket access, fast-pass entry to events, premier seating for demonstrations at the ShopRite Grand Tasting, and a lounge at events like Godiva Sweet! and Tacos & Tequila. LG provided kitchen set-ups for culinary demonstrations across all of the weekend’s events, while Illy set up shop by hosting the welcome center, and Whole Foods hosted the Braiser media lounge in addition to presenting events like the Sandwich Showdown.