On September 14 and 15, chefs and food experts from all over the world will descend on a trio of Williamsburg venues–the Wythe Hotel, Kinfolk Studios, and Brooklyn Bowl–where they’ll serve pancakes, chat gastronomy, team up for a cookout, and participate in a rendition of Cook it Raw, the international collaborative dinner series founded by Alessandro Porcelli that brings together some of the most innovative chefs on the planet. This unique collection of events fills out the bill of fare for the inaugural Taste Talks, a conference curated by L Magazine and April Bloomfield.
And the purpose, says Daniel Stedman, co-founder of the L magazine and Brooklyn Magazine and co-curator of the festival, is to draw attention to Brooklyn as the country’s most innovative test kitchen. “We believe that Brooklyn is this international word that stands for what’s next,” he explains. “And that means art, culture, and music–but what’s almost surpassing all of that is food.”
So he and his brother and co-founder, Scott, decided to put together an event that would highlight international culinary culture as viewed through the lens of Brooklyn. And that meant pairing Brooklyn food people with non-Brooklyn food people in a number of collaborative situations to “showcase what’s new in food in Brooklyn and beyond.”
And to accomplish that, the guys looked to April Bloomfield (“April and [L magazine and Brooklyn Magazine parent company] Northside Media are the meta pairing,” Stedman explains, since Bloomfield’s restaurants are Manhattan-based) to put together a line-up.
For her part, Bloomfield explains, she picked “people who are my friends and people who I’ve had the opportunity to work with and get to know very closely. We were talking about doing this event, and I didn’t want it to just be all about food and tasting. We wanted to pull in different parts of the food industry.” To wit, she asked Oliver Strand, a coffee expert who contributes to the New York Times among many other publications, to contribute. Alessandro Porcelli, founder of Cook it Raw, will give the keynote speech. And Francis Mallmann, a famed Argentine chef, will fly up for the occasion, as will Mexican chef Roberto Solis. And then, of course, are the beloved NYC chefs like Mile End Deli’s Eli Sussman, Blue Hill’s Dan Barber, John Stage of Dinosaur BBQ, and Caroline Fidanza of Saltie.
Those high-profile participants will take part on one or more of four key events, says Stedman: The Saturday morning pancake breakfast (and My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan will be on the scene making his father’s pulled pork recipe), the Saturday forums on a variety of topics, a Sunday all-star cook-out in which each dish will be produced by two collaborating chefs, and the Sunday night Cook it Raw event, where, says Stedman, the chefs will cook with wood and fire (and no gas or electricity).
You can buy tickets for individual events; most of the talks are $15 each, and the all-star cookout is $65 (plus a $40 supplemental beer and wine pairing). The only way to get into Cook it Raw, though, is to spring for the $375 premium pass, which nets you access to all activities.