One of the fun things about being part of the culinary world is going to culinary expos and trade shows. April 1 was the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Culinary Expo in NYC. They called it The Fashion of Food, and it was held, appropriately, in Soho.
I stuffed my face trying all sorts of food, from chocolate to jam to wine to cheese. After 3 hours, I was done. But I got to take home a few samples and some literature. One thing that struck me was that many food companies have set up shop in Brooklyn, bringing production and jobs to the borough, and helping to put it on the map as the new “it” culinary destination.
One of my favorite things to see was a product called Dinnerware From Fallen Leaves. This line, made by VeraTerra, includes plates, bowls, and utensils made from recycled fallen leaves. I was so taken by this concept. I absolutely love the idea of recycling leaves and putting them to use (instead of burning them) and further depleting our resources with newly processed wood. And what’s more, they’re really attractive. They have that back-to-nature, rustic wood look that many chic kitchenware lines are now making. Take a look at the photos below (photos by VeraTerra).
These products are non-toxic (they’re made from steam, heat, and pressure, and no chemicals), compostable, and deceptively lightweight—they can handle hot foods with no problem. In fact, they can be used in the oven at 350 degrees for up to 45 minutes, or a microwave on high up to 2 minutes. They’re naturally biodegradable within 2 months of composting.
The site has a fun feature: a party calculator: You can choose the kind of party you’re going to have (cocktail party, buffet, sit-down, BBQ, etc.), enter the number of people you’re expecting, and it will suggest what you should purchase. So, under buffet, I put 20 people (not unheard of in my house) and it gave me this:
For this event we recommend 20 – 6 inch plates, 8 inch plates, 10 inch plates, and 8 inch bowls, 30 cups and 30 napkins. For Service we recommend either 5 – 12 inch platters or medium trays.
You can do a store search on the site (there’s a wholesale section for professional use), but Whole Foods carries it, as well as other natural/organic foods markets. You can order online as well. For more information, visit VeraTerra.com.
It was nice meeting new people—others in the culinary industry—at the expo, and I ran into a couple of instructors from NGI. There was a panel of culinary professionals discussing books and blogs, but the acoustics were not very good and I had a difficult time hearing, so I just kept going around visiting different vendors. I was hoping that I’d win a Vitamix blender (I entered in a couple of places) but I didn’t get lucky. Oh, well. I’ll keep it on my wish list for now.
The best part of the whole day for me, however, was the opportunity to place a copy of my cookbook, What, No Meat? Traditional Italian Cooking the Vegetarian Way, directly into the hands of the editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. He seemed quite interested in it, saying that he eats vegetarian a lot. I’m not holding my breath that anything will come of it, but it was exciting just having that opportunity to talk to him and know that he now owns a copy of my book.
Now that I’m done with school, I hope to be able to afford to join a couple of more associations, including the IACP, and do some traveling to other regions for other conferences/expos. Right now, I’m confined to the NYC area, although I’m hoping to go the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, OR, in August. What’s holding me back is the cost factor. It’s $350 for the ticket, but then there’s airfare and hotel to consider, plus food and spending money (conferences never feed you all meals on all days). I just don’t know if I can swing it. But we’ll see what happens. If any of you are attending, let me know.
So, I hope to meet some of you foodies and culinary professionals at these events. Have a great holiday, everyone.