As frenetic as Fancy Food can be, it is always a pleasure. Every year the bar is raised for innovation, creativity and fun. The show is a joy to attend, especially to get a taste of the good life- the West Coast in the winter.
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Let’s talk what it means to be fancy in food. The lines are blurring in food shows today-walking the Javitz Center I found myself mixing moods every few minutes -one bite of gourmet sardine rillettes and the next, a sip of raw nut milk. While functional foods are hot and now play in this space, for this piece I put on my fancy pants to relish in brands that honor their emotional side- food that stimulates with fantasy and fun. And while these products all taste wonderful, what makes food fancy is design that creates a world around the brand, with a look that captivates the imagination. Fancy Sangria & Gazpacho~Lolea! Hola Lolea! Recently imported from Spain to Miami by Bodega & Company, Lolea combines wine and fruit with refreshing frizzante flair. And doesn’t this polka dot package put you in the mood to party?! The design is so stylish and distinctive it can easily become the backdrop for your next summer soiree. Shop Casa Lolea to pick up a cheerful ice bucket or check out cool sangria cocktail recipes like “The Conquista de Granada”. Needless to say, I am in love with Lolea – Desde Siempre! Find it in a store near you in the East (FL, VA, MD and NY), in the West (So Cal and Hawaii) and in the MidWest (IL, MN, MI, IN, WI) . to read more joyful plate fancy food show 2015 click here
Working on the Upper West Side of Manhattan these past five years has been a wonderful and dramatic change from the cubicle existence I was living for 20+ years. The first year I felt like an anthropologist, studying what people do during the day. I quickly learned that they are perfectly happy and productive doing all kinds of interesting and meaningful projects and there is life beyond midtown!
One of the nicest things that happened midway into my entrepreneurial journey was meeting Jacob Hadjigeorgis, a young food entrepreneur who in 2011 imagined Jacob’s Pickles, a very popular comfort food restaurant in the neighborhood. We were introduced through the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, a wonderful organization we both support (joyful plate since 2001 with risotto charity dinners and classes for WSCAH’s Chef Training Program). Jacob hired me to work with him on the vision for the brand. Early on, he knew he wanted to support the garden next to the restaurant, managed by students enrolled at the Urban Assembly for Green Careers (UAGC). In 2014 we made his dream a reality and created a charity, Jacob’s Pickles Digs NY, to support urban farming.
Last month we hosted a fund raiser led by The Insurgo Project, a powerful NYC group led by Chef Harold Villarosa and Chief Strategy Officer Joaquin Elizondo, which works to secure food access for high-need communities. The event successfully brought together foodies, farmers and philanthropists alike to tour our newly refurbished garden. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place paying special tribute to The Dwight School (where Jacob attended) to thank them for their generous donation of the their greenhouse to our garden. Members from Jacob’s Digs, students and faculty from the UAGC spoke eloquently about what the garden has done for them -learning to grow and growing from learning.
joyful plate brand insights
Natural Products Expo West 2015
“I’m going to the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim” I tell my friends and colleagues on the East Coast. When they ask, “What’s that?”…it is not an easy question to answer. The show has changed so much over the years. While health and wellness education are still important key messages at seminars, Expo West has become a branding extravaganza, celebrating our natural lifestyle in a way that is more exciting and entertaining than ever.
So, “what is natural now?” Natural is…vibrant
Gone are the days of brownish, granola – color palettes.
It’s about “surprising your senses with something extraordinary.” (Suja Juice).
Today on New Year’s, we take a look back at the most inspiring tastes and plates of last year. From Brooklyn to Chicago to Sonoma to San Miguel, we always take time in our travels to smell the roses and appreciate the beauty and joy that food brings to our lives everyday.
Here’s to a delicious year ahead! Happy New Year 2015.
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Brands that debut at the Fancy Food show are doing so with a lot of flair. Some smart entrepreneurs are prioritizing getting the branding right at launch to showcase their great products. Bravo!
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Guess what happens when a design talent discovers a local herbed seasoning when travelling in France? Magic. While Matt Murphy was in Brittany, he discovered the local tradition of seasoning food with lightly herbed Fleur-de-Sel. Two years later, Sel Magique’s blends of rare salts and natural herbs are sweeping the gourmet market, retailing at over 20 stores including Barneys New York, Dean + Deluca, The Plaza Food Hall, and Union Market, as well as high-profile online retailers like Fab and Birchbox. At the show, Sel-Magique debuted its sleek and sexy chocolate bars with a perfect blend of seasoning for savory and sweet in every bite. A perfect gift (for self!).
The very best part of this business is the people you meet. In 2011, I was invited on a trip of a lifetime to the Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit, Mexico by my travel writer friend Lisa Loverro (@Lisitanyc). On that trip I met Richard Zarkin, the public relations director for Riviera Nayarit. Now, everytime Richard comes to NYC, we all get together to celebrate our friendship. Last month, he brought Betty Vazquez as a guest Chef to NYC for Cinco de Mayo festivities. As I got to know Betty, I realized I was meeting a true talent and my inner journalist came out–I couldn’t help asking about her life story and passions.
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