The first New York City Wine & Food Festival this weekend filled the meatpacking district—and some other areas—with celebrated chefs and foodies for a four-day celebration of all things culinary. Led by Lee Schrager, director of special events for Southern Wine & Spirits and founder of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, this Northeast series was produced by Karlitz & Company and benefited the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength.
Covering a variety of topics, the weekend-long fair included more than 70 individual seminars, panel discussions, food demonstrations, cooking classes, and large-scale tasting parties. And even with food squarely center stage, the biggest events of the festival—Burger Bash, Sweet, Chelsea Market After Dark, and Midnight Music and Munchies—also provided musical entertainment, from DJs and roaming performers in elaborate costumes to a coffee psychic and an appearance from Tom Colicchio singing and strumming a guitar.
Although security didn't seem to be an issue at these big parties—guests had to present tickets at check-in, exchanging them for color-coded bracelets labeled with the name of each event—block-long lines provoked many a response from attendees. However, incredulous remarks like “Where does this line end?” subsided as the queues moved swiftly and almost completely dissipated within 30 minutes.
The festival sold approximately 21,000 tickets, and the producers are still estimating the amount of funds raised for the two charities.