Sampling dishes from 47 of New York City's most sought-after restaurants in a single night might seem like an impossible challenge, but I was up to the task when I attended New York Taste presented by Citi—an annual feast that brings together top chefs and mixologists from around New York, curated by New York's Culinary Editor, Gillian Duffy.
Over a thousand food-loving guests sipped cocktails and roamed from station to station, tasting savory and sweet dishes representative of the wide breadth of the city's culinary scene.
Over a thousand food-loving guests sipped cocktails and roamed from station to station, tasting savory and sweet dishes representative of the wide breadth of the city's culinary scene. A portion of all proceeds from this event, which is now in its 17th consecutive year, are donated to City Harvest, a food rescue organization that collects millions of pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry—including restaurants, grocery stores, and farms—and delivers it free of charge to hundreds of food community programs throughout the city. Each year, the organization feeds more than a million New Yorkers facing hunger.
It's an important cause, and a wonderful opportunity for the attendees who are able to not only try incredible food, but also share and interact with the top chefs who are in attendance—like Chef Laurent Tourondel, who scooped heaping spoonfuls of pasta out of a bowl carved into a gigantic wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. At one point, he passed the spoon over to his chef and pulled out his phone to snap a few photos.
In another part of the room, Marcus Samuelson, representing Streetbird Rotisserie, happily shook hands and posed for selfies with fans who were waiting for his biscuit fried-chicken sliders. At the Perry St. table, Cédric Vongerichten anticipated the reaction of a diner he'd just served a piece of truffled toast topped with delicately sliced raw scallops. Upon seeing the diner's delight, Vongerichten broke into a smile.
In fact, many of the chefs eagerly requested feedback from the guests or offered tips on how to best enjoy the dishes. Chef Bryce Shuman from Betony charmingly insisted that the beet milk punch and savory goat cheese dishes he offered had to be eaten together. This seemed impossible as I was already balancing a glass of wine and my camera, so he offered to hold them for me while I did (and he was right!). All around the room, diners and chefs laughed and took pictures, each side of the tables seemingly getting just as much pleasure from the interaction as the other.
The joy of interaction was a sentiment echoed by Blue Hill's Chef and co-owner, Dan Barber, who participated in a Citi cardholder exclusive talk with New York Magazine's chief food critic, Adam Platt. The two sipped bourbon while chatting about the future of the restaurant industry, Barber noting that it's all increasingly about interaction and bringing people together.
And that's exactly what the night did: brought together casual chains and elegant fine dining restaurants, celebrity chefs and up-and-comers, and—most importantly, diners of all ages, to share and eat together in the name of an important cause.