by Sherry Chen
The upcoming Choice Eats tasting extravaganza needs no introduction. This bacchanalia of food and drink is eagerly anticipated by city chowhounds for the impressive quality and breadth of food samples that will be served. The event, which is in its seventh year, has finalized the lineup of 84 participating restaurants that will all convene at Basketball City at Pier 36 from 7:00PM-10:00PM on March 25, 2014.
The handpicked restaurants are all based in New York, with representation from each of the five boroughs. Celebrating these local restaurants and food traditions certainly embraces the spirit of conviviality, one of the key defining principles of the original Slow Food movement, in which we should take pleasure in cooking, eating and sharing meals with others.
It’s all the more fitting that Slow Food NYC will be the charitable partner of Choice Eats for a fourth year in a row. A portion of the event proceeds will go towards funding Urban Harvest, a Slow Food NYC program that teaches New York City children about the effects of good food on their health and well-being, as well as on their surrounding communities. The program adopts a hands-on approach to introducing urban children to a good food system, which include planting and tending edible gardens, receiving cooking classes and operating farm stands.
It's clear that coordinating a food event of this magnitude is no easy task. To learn more about what's involved in planning Choice Eats, we asked Rosemary Jorda, the Marketing and Events Director at the Village Voice, a few questions about the event.
How did you first get involved with the Choice Eats tasting event? What are your current responsibilities?
Choice Eats is entering its seventh year as one of New York City's largest and premiere food tasting events. Personally for me, this will be my fifth year serving as Choice Eats' Event Director. In addition to working closely with our food critics to help select and secure over 80+ diverse restaurants this year, my job is also to make sure the show goes off without a hitch! From building out the entire event, to working on the venue layout, ticketing and running the day of show, my days are filled with Choice Eats goodness!
New York City is home to so many great restaurants – how did you narrow down the Choice Eats restaurant list to 84?
Choice Eats is a great representation of the best of the best food New York City has to offer! Our food critics scour the culinary landscape in search of the best bites from all the NYC boroughs. They work hard to make the food journey at Choice Eats a good mix of cuisines, nations and dishes to excite our event goers' palates. From a mix of returning Choice Eats restaurants like The Meatball Shop and Dirt Candy to new additions to the line up like Jacob's Pickles and Bunker, there is something new for everyone to try. To see a full line up and a sneak peek at the event map, visit www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats.
The VIP tickets for Choice Eats sold out quickly – what makes this event such a big draw in a city with so many options?
Our Choice Eats VIP ticket is a popular one as it allows a limited number of guests the chance to hit the Choice Eats event floor one hour early for a pre-tasting from our restaurants. Event goers love Choice Eats because it would take them weeks to hit the number of restaurants in all the boroughs across NYC that Choice Eats delivers under the one roof for one night!
Tell us about the history behind the Slow Food NYC partnership. Why did Choice Eats choose Slow Food NYC as its charitable partner?
Choice Eats has been working with Slow Food NYC since 2009. Since the mission of Choice Eats is to bring as many local elements together that New York has to offer as possible so Slow Food is the ideal charitable partner. The organization focuses on providing the local community with food education in our local schools, local edible gardens & cooking clubs, community gardening, support for local farmers and more. The Village Voice wants to help Slow Food bring these programs and more to all New Yorkers.
What do you think makes this year's Choice Eats event different from the prior ones? What type of experience do you hope guests will come away with?
With over 80 participants, this is our largest Choice Eats to date! This year will bring together more tasty bites from more restaurants at a new larger venue, Pier 36 at Basketball City. We will also be featuring great craft beer, wines and spirits plus our first event Food Talks Demo Area and many more surprises!
To learn more about Choice Eats and to buy tickets, visit their website choiceeats.villagevoice.com/2014. Please check back soon for a delicious recap of the event!
For more info on this year's Choice Eats event, check out Eating Our Way Through Choice Eats 2014.
Sherry Chen is a New York City-based food writer with a passion for delicious, locally-sourced meals. You can read about her food adventures at www.gabandgobble.com.
Choice Eats Photo by Daniel Krieger.