Highlights From The New York Times Food Festival
April 28, 2014 | New York Times
For a long time, foodies have looked to New York City to deliver an eclectic array of dishes, from ethnic restaurants to pop-ups and ethnic-food stores. Now food festivals are springing up elsewhere, including Los Angeles and New Orleans, and even Miami Beach. While traditional food festivals may not generate the buzz their counterparts in New York did, they have provided an alternative way for New York to express its creative culinary influence.
“Tastes are changing, but the food-buying public is sticking with what we’ve always eaten,” says John T. Edge, the food editor of The New York Times. The new food festivals, he adds, are a reflection of the diversity of cuisines and the way people are adapting to the changing landscape of food.
The first New York-style food festival was a little bit of both. In 1972, Manhattanites gathered in Central Park to celebrate the launch of the Times’ food section. The Times introduced a food editor to the city, while chef Tom Colicchio and his family were serving as the head judge. Twenty years later, “the festival has become the most ambitious and ambitious culinary experiment since the invention of food by man,” Edge says, using a term that’s become common but may be slightly hyperbolic.
Like so many things, the food festival has a long history. The first American food festival was held in the Catskills in upstate NY, in 1891. The same year, New York City’s first formal food festival took place in the city’s Central Park. For a while, the event served as a springboard for the popular weekly food column, “Tastes of the Town and Country,” and the monthly feature, “Good Food in New York.”
This food festival originated in the 1970s, during a period of economic expansion and an increasingly multicultural city. Edge notes, “The New York food movement really came into its own around the 1980s.” A few years later, the city began hosting Food Festivals in