The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (NYCWFF) is returning for its 16th year this October 12 to 15. Back with even more talent and events, this year’s Festival showcases a lineup of chefs, influencers, and beloved celebrities — many of which are new to NYCWFF.
Over 400 hospitality professionals will come together to lead tasting, host parties, serve dinners, and more all while supporting the Festival’s charitable partner, God’s Love We Deliver, New York City metropolitan area’s only provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling for individuals living with severe illness.
“Every year we’re more and more excited to bring this Festival to life. This year we have a great lineup of new and familiar faces and we think our guests are really going to enjoy what we have in store,” says Lee Schrager, NYCWFF founder. In addition to the usual lineup of Signature Events like Taste of Italy and Burger Bash, this year’s Festival promises an array of new experiences for attendees to participate in.
There’s a brand new Demo & Dine series that features celebrity chefs like Rocco DiSpirito, Marc Murphy, JJ Johnson, Scott Conant, and more. “We created this concept that’s a combination of a sit down meal and a demo — it’s not a master class per say, but picture an space where Nadia Caterina Munno aka @The_PastaQueen is on stage doing a demo featuring a 3-course meal, you’re eating that meal as she makes it,” explains Schrager. “It’s a smaller setting that’s a lot of fun and gives attendees the opportunity to taste dishes from their favorite talent.”
Those who attended this year’s SOBEWFF (NYCWFF’s Miami-based big sister) may recognize FoodieCon® presented by Instagram making its way to NYCWFF. Schrager says the first iteration came together just two months before it took place in South Beach during February’s festival. “We learned many lessons and hit plenty of curves, but we have a fantastic lineup of new talent and it’s taking place in a great space at Hard Rock Hotel New York,” says Schrager.
The influencer-driven event will feature different rooms and multiple events happening at the same time, giving attendees the chance to bounce from book signings to cocktail parties to an ice cream social to Q&A panels to cooking competitions and more.
For the first time ever, NYCWFF will set sail with Sunset Sips at Sea presented by The Social Shell. Festival guests will embark on a memorable journey aboard La Barca Cantina, a floating bar, which will sail down the Hudson River serving seafood bites crafted by New York City’s finest restaurants.
“The Sunset Sips at Sea is already proving to be very popular and it’s something we’ve never done before,” says Schrager. “We’ve got a great host and this is going to be a boozy one, so it’s perfect for people looking for a happy hour-style event.”
Other new events include the Baking Championship: Fall Flavors, hosted by Duff Goldman and Carla Hall which will take place on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center, Aspire One World Observatory with panoramic views of the city. This exciting competition will celebrate the artistry of baking as a special lineup of chefs showcase their dessert making skills with a seasonal theme, and Latin Nights curated by Bar Lab a late night event filled with cocktails and music that are sure to get guests on the dance floor.
When asked what other new events are getting a ton of buzz, Schrager said the dinners were getting a lot of attention this year. “I think this just might be the best series of dinners we’ve ever had. It’s a really strong lineup and there’s something for everyone,” says Schrager. “The already sold out Alain Ducasse & Friends dinner celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Benoit New York is a special one, and we’re excited about the Schmoozing with The Scotto Sisters lunch hosted by Rosanna and Elaina Scotto who have been such a big part of New York’s restaurant industry.”
“This year’s closing event is going to be a big one, too,” Schrager says of The Cookout: Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary Celebration featuring JJ Johnson, Rev Run, Ice-T, Tamron Hall, Angela Yee with a special performance by DJ CASSIDY. “We had great success with a version of this event in Miami hosted by JJ Johnson and Marcus Samuelsson, and we immediately knew we wanted to bring it to NYC,” he continued. “Once we found out it was the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, we decided to celebrate with some of the best hip hop talent around — Rev Run, Ice-T, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee are coming and it’s going to be a massive party.”
As far as staying successful and keeping guests coming back year after year — Schrager says it’s all about listening to the feedback given to him and his team and working through it when planning the following year.
“We’re always learning and every year we have takeaways that we learn from. The smaller events are really becoming popular for us, and they are doing really well post-Covid,” says Schrager. “We were already starting to feature more intimate events, but the last few years really highlighted the desire for it and we’ve put quite a bit of focus into them. They have been well received and those attendees keep coming back bringing friends.”
Tickets for NYCWFF are on sale now and are available at NYCWFF.org.