2010 Food Network NYC Festival: Milk, cookies and stone crabs

The 2011 Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival is now in full swing, and what is now an annual event boasts a packed lineup of celebrity chef appearances, restaurants previewing new dishes for potential customers and, of course, culinary delights.  From cook-offs to scavenger hunts to demonstrations to parties, the Festival offers a wide range of events for tastes and palates.  Inevitably, this means that while some events are spot on, others miss the mark.  In a look back at last year’s edition, here are two events that fit both categories.

On Oct. 9, Martha Stewart hosted the Breville’s Milk & Cookies event at The New York Times Building.  Scores of ticketholders – notably parents with small children – were treated to all-you-can-eat cookies, all-you-can-dunk milk, cookie-making stations and recipes as Stewart stayed for the majority of the event, making photo op rounds with vendors.  Pastry chef appearances included Jacques Torres (usually not one to miss a New York City food event where his growing chocolate empire is based), and his fellow chef and business partner, Ken Goto.  One only had to glance at the facial expressions of some patrons – clearly fatigued after overdosing on one too many sweets – to gauge the success of Stewart’s event.

The Sunset Stone Crab event at the Hotel Gansevoort the next day, however, was a disappointing conclusion to what had been a great 2010 Festival.  The drab setting of the hotel’s rooftop lounge coupled with what seemed to be a host-less incomplete buffet – a pile of stone crab from George’s (not even the famed Joe’s, no less) shipped in from Miami and not much else – made the view of Manhattan more enticing than the food.  Not every event needs to boast star chefs; perhaps the organizers could have taken a cue from the Cooking Channel’s Meatpacking Uncorked food scavenger hunt, for which the channel created a passport map for foodies to collect stamps while traipsing all over the Meatpacking District, sampling such dishes as bacon ice cream and truffle fries.

Photos: 2010 Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival