Taste Talks is back this fall for its second season in Brooklyn (and first in Chicago!) and is already shaping up to be a veritable Who’s Who of movers and shakers in the culinary arena, all of whom will gather together for inspiring panel discussions, informative cooking demos, a down-and-dirty All Star BBQ, a Future Food Expo and so much more.
So before he sets off for the Windy City—where there’ll be an official announcement of the Taste Talks line-up this week—we caught up with Taste Talks—and Northside Media Group (publisher of Brooklyn Magazine)—founder Daniel Stedman, to chat about what returning favorites and new surprises to expect from this year’s event; how he ended up collaborating with Danny Bowien, Paul Kahan and Mario Batali; and what the heck “the future of taste” means anyway.
The theme of this year’s Taste Talks is “The Future of Taste.” What exactly does that mean to you?
Taste Talks is all about food, but since food has become such an influence into other areas of culture—art, music, etc.— Taste Talks is also about getting these major cultural influencers talking about what’s next in all areas of culture, including food.
You decided to expand to Chicago this year. What inspires you about that food scene?
Chicago is one of the most incredible food cities in the world, and I felt like there was really an opportunity to bring this conference out to the Midwest and hear a totally new perspective.
Danny Bowien and Paul Kahan are curating the Brooklyn and Chicago events, respectively. What do you think makes these two chefs uniquely qualified to represent the “Future of Taste’?
Danny Bowien is a transformational figure in NYC for his approach to flavor, his style, and his personality. Paul is a chef’s chef and—I’m not kidding about this—the guy that every chef I approached said would be the perfect partner. Also, Mario Batali, who is working with us to present the expansion this year, selected them both as his first choice for each city. What better endorsement is there? Bowien and Kahan are both really involved in shaping the conferences in Brooklyn and Chicago, respectively, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have these guys as partners!
What returning events/dinners/panels/etc. can we expect from last year’s Taste Talks?
The All-Star BBQ was a really successful event from last year, and we’re doing it again and also bringing it to Chicago. The inspiration for the All-Star BBQ is bringing two people together (they could be two chefs, or a purveyor and a chef, or even a DJ and a chef) and letting these guys come up with their own concept, and hopefully creating a really fun and unique dish. One of my favorites last year was Eli Sussman of Mile End (the Montreal-inspired delicatessen) cooking with Montreal DJ Chromeo—they ended up making Chromeo’s grandmothers recipe for tongue. It was amazing!
What’s entirely new for this year?
There’s a ton of new things this year. We’re doing a dinner with Dinner Lab, which will be really fun. And in partnership with the guys from Island Creek Oysters, we’re launching a new concept called “Mother of Pearl,” an oyster and champagne-themed dinner at Villain, an amazing warehouse space in Williamsburg. It’s going to be amazing! We’re also planning a dinner just for chefs at Fitzcarraldo in Bushwick.
For more info and to purchase tickets, visit: taste-talks.com