By Anna Sekula Posted October 7, 2009, 3:44 PM EDT
The second New York City Wine & Food Festival opens tomorrow, and this year the massive outing dreamed up by Lee Brian Schrager is bigger and more diverse. Aside from the bevy of local chefs—Daniel Boulud, Andrew Carmellini, Scott Conant, Tom Colicchio, and David Chang among them—hosting dinners, panels, and demonstrations, the four-day food-focused series will also include a number of new events and the participation of fashion designer Zac Posen, former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, and former President Bill Clinton.
To accommodate more culinary talent from title sponsor the Food Network, the festival's producers added two big parties to the weekend program. On Thursday night, Tyler Florence joins the folks from Thrillist at the Standard hotel for a bacon and blues-themed shindig, Paula Deen will host a Southern-style food showcase Saturday evening at Hill Country, and Giada De Laurentiis will highlight her Italian roots with a Sunday night gathering dubbed Meatball Madness. Rachael Ray, who also hosts one of the festival's biggest attractions—the Friday-night Burger Bash at Brooklyn's Tobacco Warehouse—will introduce the first Weight Watchers-sponsored Fun and Fit in the City with Clinton and Dr. Mehmet Oz at the Harlem Children's Zone on Saturday morning.
Possibly one of the most surprising headliners on this year's schedule is Posen, who as part of a dinner series at the James Beard Foundation's West Village Beard House, will host a private meal on Saturday evening. Another eagerly anticipated get-together will put Bruni on stage with chef and author Anthony Bourdain. Bruni, whose memoir, Born Round: The Secrets of a Full-Time Eater, was released in August, will interview Bourdain about his travels and views on different cuisines at the TimesCenter on Saturday.
BizBash hosts its own event during the festival, the BizBash Hors d'Oeuvres House, on Thursday night at Skylight West.
Once again, the New York City Wine & Food Festival will raise funds for the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength.