1. James Beard Awards
Kim Cattrall and Bobby Flay welcomed more than 1,800 guests to Avery Fisher Hall in June 2008, as the James Beard Foundation handed out the culinary world’s most prestigious prizes. The best part for many attendees was the post-show reception, when they sampled dishes from many of the award winners. The 2009 event is slated for May 4.
2. Fancy Food Show
More than 24,000 guests sample everything from chocolate to cheese at this trade show from the National Association for Specialty Food Trade. The show returns to the Javits Center June 28 to 30, but not for long—organizers recently announced they plan to move the event to Washington, D.C. in 2011.
3. International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York
More than 18,000 people are expected at the Javits Center for this restaurant trade show from March 1 to 3. Chef Thomas Keller is set to deliver the keynote, and 650 companies will exhibit some 10,000 products.
4. New York City Wine & Food Festival
The only inaugural event to join the list, this Food Network-sponsored spin-off of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival brought all the big names—Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Anthony Bourdain—for four days of events at locations like Hotel Gansevoort and Chelsea Market. The festival’s second outing is scheduled for October 8 to 11.
5. Chef’s Tribute to Citymeals-on-Wheels
A who’s who of the cooking world—including Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, and Charlie Palmer—donated their skills to help raise more than $900,000 at this fund-raiser, held in the Rockefeller Center ice rink in June 2008. The 2009 event will take place June 8.
6. Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs Event
For the 20th anniversary event in 2008, 20 former honorees returned to treat some 800 guests to an array of high-end culinary delights (and honor the new winners, including local chef Michael Psilakis of Anthos). Held at Espace, the event returns in April.