This year, Squarespace decided to sponsor Taste Talks in Brooklyn located at Colossal Media, an amazing outdoor advertising company and the quaint Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave). Jessica and Angela, our lovely event coordinators gave me tickets to this celebrity chef-packed weekend. The events turned out to be a complete 180 of what I had thought. All the talks weren't fussy and focused on the origins of food culture, the basics of food photography, and the story behind these culinary icons. The formal demonstrations broke down into casual conversations with the chefs that everyone came to see. The moderators and panelists frequently interacted with the audience members—Bowien asking for help serving his red cooked pork and Krieger teaching a girl from the audience how to take a proper food photograph.
1. Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar & Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese and Mission Cantina teamed up to demonstrate how to make dishes from cheap dollar store ingredients like Icebox cakes and Red-cooked Pork & Congee. Tosi said that the best dishes are the ones that are "ho-hum" and are "remind you of certain childhood memories". She recalled that she made icebox cakes growing up and shared a few variations of them before making a version with Ritz crackers and Grape jam-flavored Cool-Whip. Bowien followed up her act by making the humble congee, a rice porridge in a pressure cooker. My mother still makes congee frequently and especially for days when my family or I fall ill. He also pulled out another pot for his red-cooked pork, made with pork shoulder, soy sauce, Coca-Cola, garlic, fennel seeds, cinnamon, star anise, pepper, and cardamom. At the end of their talk, they invited the audience to try their creations and take a surprise from their grab-bag, which consisted of dollar-store items specific to NY and SF that Bowien and Tosi mailed to each other in the span of their long friendship.
For a look into who they are and what they do, here's a video of Tosi and Bowien on Munchies:
2. Dan Krieger discussed food photography to an overcrowded room at Kinfolk Studios. He charismatically paced across the front of the studio explaining how lighting was the key to food photography (and every other genre of photography). He didn't really brag about all the work he's done and neither does he say he's the best at any point of the talk. Krieger simply states some of the common practices of food photography such as bird-eye views for lattes, and using hashtags to reach new audiences on Instagram, and having friends use their smartphone flashlights as an extra source of light in dimly-lit restaurants.
3. Samuel Richardson talked about his journey to opening the Other Half Brewery, different kinds of IPAS, wheat beers, and belgian ales that OHB produces, varieties of hops and yeasts, and the craft beer community. He's a quiet individual but Mike Conklin, Editor-in-Chief of Brooklyn managed to pull a couple stories and trade secrets from him.
Big thanks to Jessica and Angela, our lovely event coordinators who gave me tickets to this celebrity chef-packed weekend.