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What Made This Food Festival So Instagram-Friendly?

The founders of the inaugural Dessert Goals event understood that guests and consumers eat with their eyes first.

By Michele Laufik November 10, 2016, 7:00 AM EST

Photo: Bekka Palmer

Dessert Goals Festival
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New York City’s newest food festival proved there’s always room for dessert.

The sold-out Dessert Goals festival—held at the Dobbin St event space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on October 23—was created to celebrate all things sweet.

“We both love dessert, and we always meet up over something sweet whenever we want to debrief about our professional and personal lives,” explained Miraya Berke about her friendship with festival co-founder Liang Shi. “Earlier this year, we realized there wasn't a festival devoted to dessert yet [in New York] and we decided to change that. We wanted to create an event that we as dessert fanatics would want to attend—an ultimate day of indulgence and fun for fellow dessert-lovers.”

Berke is the founder of Pop Productions, a boutique events studio in New York, while Shi works as a creative director and experience designer in addition to running the curated dinner series Fun Fun Dinners.

At the daylong event, attendees could sample treats from a roster of 20 New York-based vendors, including Wowfulls’ Hong Kong-style egg waffle cones, seasonal doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, Twinkie-inspired “cakies” from Jae NYC Eats, and bubble tea from Boba Guys. Full-size versions of the desserts were also available for purchase. Plus, a rooftop lounge featured a “salt bar” with pretzels and chips to cleanse the palette, as well as vintage wares and a seating area with dessert-theme accessories for sale.

Tickets for designated 90-minute sessions were sold for $15, with a special preview hour for media and influencers. In addition, workshops, which were led by food industry experts and cost $50 each, were offered, including a class on becoming a professional food stylist, a workshop on launching a food business, and lessons on running food blogs and Instagram accounts from influencers @BrunchBoys and @OneHungryJew.

Attendees could then practice their new Instagram skills in the venue’s photo garden, which was specifically designed for dessert photography “so everyone could get the perfect shot,” Shi said. On hand were a variety of patterned backdrops, extra plates for arranging sweets, and ample natural light for shooting. In addition, pre-styled plates of the desserts were available for photographing, not eating.

“It's clear that people no longer eat just with their mouths—we eat with our eyes too, and the aesthetics of foods, especially desserts, are becoming more and more important to the average consumer,” Shi said. “We wanted to embrace this aspect of dessert culture and create an environment where everyone felt comfortable celebrating their favorite desserts by taking beautiful photos to share with friends on Instagram and other social media outlets.”

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