The two-day conference included a huge variety of speakers, discussions and seminars on a variety of food topics. Events across the city included meals at top restaurants, culinary receptions and discussions of current food issues. On Saturday at ICE, attendees participated in three panels on the foods of New York. ICE Instructor Cathy Kaufman, who is also the Chair of Culinary Historians of New York and Secretary to The Culinary Trust, organized these sessions. The panels explored the food culture and culinary history of New York and looked at how New Yorkers have eaten over the past two centuries.
The panels discussed restaurants, ethnic foods and markets and their roles in shaping the food culture of New York. For example, award-winning journalist and food historian Cara De Silva headed up the second panel on ethnicity and food. The speakers included Zarela Martinez, a pre-eminent interpreter of Mexican food, Fred Plotkin, a leading authority on Italian food and culture, Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard, and Kian Lam Kho, a Chinese cooking teacher in NYC and blogger behind Red Cook. The panel explored how different immigrant communities — Mexican, Chinese, Italian, German and Jewish — had shaped New York’s food culture. De Silva said, “New York’s foodways can’t even be described as kaleidoscopic, because in a kaleidoscope the pieces are always the same, but in New York everything is always shifting and changing.”
Later that afternoon, ICE Chef Instructor Brendan McDermott prepared a selection of appetizers for the evening’s closing reception at Astor Center. He made Seared Duck Breast with Blueberry Agro-dolce on Goat Cheese Crostini, Roasted Beets and Bacon with Orange and Cilantro Crème Fraîche and Brown Butter Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Almonds. As the conference wrapped up, the guests mingled and tasted as they discussed everything they had learned over the course of the weekend.