The New York City Wine & Food Festival's Sweet 16
Festival founder Lee Schrager on what's new at the city's biggest fall food event
The New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) returns with more than 80 dinners, tastings, brunches, and more from October 12-15, 2023.
The festival is more than a four-day celebrity-studded fling — it’s also a significant fundraiser for God’s Love We Deliver. The organization cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves — all provided free and “full of love”.
Lee Schrager, who also founded the South Beach Wine & Food Festival said the NYCWFF tends to host more seminars, classes, and tastings. “I think of South Beach as more of a fun event. It’s on the beach and you can always count on warm weather in Miami. In New York, people tend to gravitate to more educational events.
When asked how the NYCWFF works in terms of planning out nearly 100 different events, Schrager says his team tens to look at the smaller events first. “We kind of start with the dinners, We focus on the smaller events first. Often, that involves booking chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. From there, says Schrager, the chefs are asked to participate in one or more brunch or tasting events.
Schrager says that those intimate dinners — like the Dinner hosted by Dominique Crenn and Einat Admony on Friday, October 13, are in high demand by savvy eventgoers. “These are people who buy into the smaller dinners,” says Schrager adding that about 50 percent of all tickets to the NYCWFF are sold in the first two weeks they’re announced to the public.
Besides intimate dinners, Scrager is bullish on three top-tier events for this year’s NYCWFF.
“The Drag Brunch this year has the most amazing superstars hosting the event. Suntan Raja, Shangela, and Symone will perform with Lea DeLaria hosting the event,” says Schrager, adding, “We always have exceptional talent.”
Schrager also recommends The Cookout: Hip Hop's 50th Anniversary Celebration featuring JJ Johnson, Rev Run, Ice-T, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee
with a special performance by DJ Cassidy. This event celebrates Hip Hop through music and food. Plus, current or former members of the military, first responders, teachers, and law enforcement officers will receive a discount to this event when they sign in with their GovX account.
Finally, the people behind the country’s most creative cocktail program, Bar Lab, will curate the cocktails for Latin Nights curated by Bar Lab's Elad Zvi, Gabe Orta and Christine Wiseman. This evening of culture and cocktails have a bit of a Chopped vibe, according to Schrager. “Each bartender will be assigned a tropical fruit, which they have to use in their cocktails.”
Tickets for the New York City Wine & Food Festival are on sale now. To find out more information and to purchase tickets, visit nycwff.orrg.