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Just five years ago, more than half of today’s food fairs and festivals didn’t yet exist. There were limited events to industry professionals and local feasts. But open food meetings with the wider objective of celebrating a culinary movement, category or philosophy are a recent phenomenon.
Starting from the ones that welcomed the year 2013 to the ones that are going to close it, here follows a list of some of the most worth-visiting new food appointments across the globe. This year’s edition of the Feast festival during the first weekend of Marchin East London was a total success. In the 4 days of the event, thousands gathered to taste high-end street food, prepared by the likes of the Wright Brothers, the Bone Daddies or the Background Bars. For the second year, the founders Matt Utber, Tim Etchells and The Exchange, brought sensational food out of its comfort zone and straight to the streets, making an event that was open to a wide public but without missing any of the fanciness that a good restaurant can offer.
On the other side of the Atlantic, March is the month of the Village Voice’s Choice Eats. Now at its 6th year, this annual meeting puts together food from 35 different nations and from more than 50 restaurants, with the historic 69th Armory of Lexington Avenue as a backdrop. In a couple of weeks, Amsterdam’s Food Film Festival will showcase mouthwatering movies next to site-specific market stalls and food trucks.
Tokyo and Dubrovnik will celebrate their own Food Film events respectively in September and October, while the James Beard sponsors The Food Film Festival that will hit New York, Chicago and Charleston during the course of the year. Originality, good aesthetics and great communication, are the three key elements of the most successful culinary appointments: prior to launching Luckyrice in 2010, Danielle Chang was the CEO of the fashion company Vivienne Tam. The media entrepreneur explains her career shift as a natural evolution of her love for all things Asian and comments on her success story and on America’s obsession with Eastern food by saying that “If we are what we eat, then we are all part Asian”. Entering its 4th year, Luckyrice will hit New York at the end of April through a week of large-scale tastings and gastronomic gatherings and later travel coast to coast to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, reaching 10.000 guests nationwide by the end of the year.
While indie festivals are going big, some of the most established appointments of the industry draw inspiration from the small and special. For example this May Mesamerica, Central America’s most important food fair, will showcase international guest talks from the likes of Massimo Bottura and René Redzepi, next to the finest Mexican cooking. Observing the richness of those initiatives in terms of style and content, one notices that some of the most inspiring events around are inspired by the food worlds’s minitrends: Brooklyn’s Food Book Fair will take place at the Wythe Hotel from May 3rd to the 5th and is entirely dedicated to the most innovative food writing of our time. The three day appointment will include talks by Marion Nestle and Caitlin Williams Freeman, but also a day-long meeting on independent food publications from around the world under the name Foodieodicals. Design is also becoming more relevant for gastronomy, in June the Taste of Berlin will showcase the freshest talent working between food and design, while in August the world’s most influential chefs will gather to exchange ideas on food in Copenhagen’s Mad Food.
Last bat not least, Capetown’s Toffie Food Festival will put together everyday foodies and young culinary professionals in October, while the Barcelona-based Off Menu, has just renewed its appointment for March of 2014 during the same days of the city’s international Alimentaria fair.