You have to assume that any party that starts in the hotel lobby is going to be a great one, especially when it’s organized by some of the planet’s most creative amd food-obsessed writers, eaters, drinkers and thinkers. Will there be pizza? Of course. Should you expect booze? For sure. Will you be rewarded if you cross your fingers for face-to-face time with some of the culinary world’s most exciting voices? Greatly.
This Sunday, May 1 and Monday, May 2 will bring readers, publishers and lovers of print to the Wythe Hotel (lobby and beyond) to celebrate all things food and books at the 2016 Food Book Fair . In its fifth year, the Fair is evolving to accommodate even more people working in the world of food and publications from across the globe.
Below are three events we’re looking forward to most, but organizers Kimberly Chou and Amanda Dell wanted to encourage anyone attending to make the fair their own by picking and choosing panels, parties, and pop-ups that suit them best—tickets are being sold to each event individually as well as as a package. Pro tip: the Sunday pass gets you an entire day full of friendly faces, fantastic eats and multiple panels.
Biscuits and milkshakes were definitely our list of favorite things about last year’s Food Book Fair. Photo by Liz Clayman
Table of Contents Dinner @ Egg | Saturday April 30, 7:45p.m.
When we spoke to Chef Evan Hanczor of Egg , he was driving through Florida to visit the grave of Zora Neale Hurston, the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God . The book has been in the back of Hanczor’s mind since his days in college at Tulane, where he found himself getting hungry as a result of paging through novels like Hurston’s and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises . This year, that hunger for discussions about writing, food and history is being manifested in the FBF Table of Contents dinner , at which Chef Evan and Egg owner Greg Weld have created a menu rooted in Southern tastes and culture, inspired by the characters, foods and history in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Diners can expect tea cakes, rabbit and cornbread dumplings, along with other staples featured in the novel. But that menu won’t stand alone as the only reference to the book—the well-rounded literary dining experience encourages attendees to look beyond their plates and into the pages of the book and its themes. The event is a standing component of the fair that is always a wealth of great conversation and good food.
Attendees devour the magazines at Foodiodicals. Photo by Liz Clayman
Foodieodicals + A Spritz & A Slice After Party @ Wythe Hotel Lobby | Sunday May 1, 2 – 6p.m.
Sunday night, FBF will host an evening full of food books, bites, and drinks —because what would a food book fair be without all of those things in great quantity? Although the fair as a whole offers so much other than just publications and meet & greets, this particular event hinges on an incredibly exciting opportunity to meet all of the people who create the stories, art, and print that we food-pub obsessed readers love.
This year, expect a number of new as well as international publications from all around the world: gracing the tables (and soon, your bookshelves) will be international periodicals from Mexico, Amsterdam, Taipei and more. The day-long event is an great opportunity for anyone interested in food-related media to meet the makers face to face.
After the fair is an after party full of pizza, bubbly, and blindfolds (just like R. Kelly would have it, right?) The party will feature authors of SPRITZ and The New York Pizza Project , getting together to talk about their new book projects, which everyone will get a copy of, and a special NYC ‘za tasting contest (this is where the blindfolds come in, naturally).
April Bloomfield signs books at last year’s Food Book Fair. Photo by Liz Clayman
Beyond Service Lecture @ Brooklyn Brewery | Monday May 2, 7:30p.m.
After all of the dinners, parties, demos and screenings planned for a weekend focused on so many facets of the food industry, Amanda and Kimberly decided to end the fair with a panel and discussion that invites the voices of people who work at all levels of the food industry. The event will begin with a panel hosted by Diana Robinson, the national campaign and education coordinator of Food Chain Workers Alliance ; CEO and founder of Hot Bread Kitchen Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez; Williamsburg restauranteur and publisher of Diner Journal Andrew Tarlow, and more.
In past years, the fair ran over weekends, typically on nights that people in the service industry were working slinging drinks and eats to us party-going, pop-up enjoying people. Shifting the main events to Sunday and Monday intentionally opened up the opportunity for those industry workers the opportunity to put their voice into the conversation at panels like this one as well as party hard with the rest of us on typical “industry nights” like Sunday and Monday.
This event is exciting because it provides an added platform for more people involved in the community to speak up. Although the media and many people are focused on hospitality included or labor issues alone, the night’s speakers and breakout sessions aim to take the discussion much deeper than that—and we can’t wait to listen.