Given the rapid proliferation of autumn tasting events and the stress they seem to put on restaurants – particularly small restaurants, who must both shoulder the cost of ingredients and surrender their kitchens to days of prep work — we weren’t particularly surprised when Amanda Cohen mentioned to us in passing her rather harrowing experience at this past weekend’s New York Wine & Food Festival. But we had no idea of the extent of the horror, which she has now relayed in excruciating and hilarious detail on the Dirt Candy blog.
After spending 10 days and untold dollars prepping celery salad for the event (when we stopped in one afternoon last week, the entire dining room was covered with boxes of celery), Cohen went to the event and encountered what sounds like some of the most annoying of what humanity has to offer. Not only were event attendees indifferent to her salad, they were obsessed with eating the display candy she’d scattered across her table. After one brat threw the candy at her and a fully-grown woman swept a bunch of it into her bag (after declaring the salad “disgusting”), Cohen experienced something of a meltdown:
No one was taking MY candy! They could keep their grubby little paws off of it. And just to top it all off, I decided to throw out the bread. “They want forks? Then let them get forks. They can go find forks to eat this because there’s no more bread now. Are you all happy?” Now I was grudgingly serving celery salad, with no visible way to eat it, on a table with a rampart of plates on it that were protecting my candy. My precious, precious candy. Jesus, Laura and Danielle were giving me a wide berth at this point, and when they talked to me they did so in the soothing, quiet tones of someone discussing why I should put down the gun slowly and then maybe we could all go home to see our families tonight.
Lessons we take away from this: tasting events can kind of suck. Some of the people who attend tasting events really suck.Watching people suck on candy that is for display purposes sucks the hardest of all. And Cohen may want to consider working pepper spray into her budget for the next tasting event she attends.
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