From April 10-12, chefs, writers, farmers, butchers, bakers, food magazine makers and more will come together to celebrate and explore the intersection of food culture and food systems at the fourth annual Food Book Fair.
Happening in the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the 3 day event features panel discussions with speakers including April Bloomfield, Dave Arnold, Brooks Headly and Julia Turshen. Heritage Radio Network will be broadcasting live from the event on Friday night, hosting interactive readings and performances with founder Patrick Martins and some of its show hosts. On Saturday, Food Book Fair’s signature food magazine fair Foodieodicals will bring together food publications of all sizes including Edible Brooklyn, Lucky Peach, Short Stack Editions, Bakeri Zine and Graze. There will also be a pop-up book store run by Kitchen Arts & Letters, and of course, delicious local eats all weekend long.
We caught up with Food Book Fair Managing Director Kimberly Chou by email to learn more about how Food Book Fair has grown over the past 4 years, its goals for this year and what to expect at FBF 2015. Chou says the event aims to “highlight the relationship between the importance of food and the media and publishing landscape as a conduit for improving our food systems”, while cultivating a community of collaboration amongst attendees, hosts, speakers and sponsors.
FTC is excited to be a media partner for FBF. As a member of our community, get 15% off day passes and weekend passes with code “FTC15” here.
Our interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Kimberly Chou: We describe Food Book Fair as an event that celebrates the intersection of food culture and food systems. There’s “book” in the name, but we draw all sorts of people — from chefs and authors, editors and publishers and magazine makers, but also farmers, scientists, artists, designers, academics, you name it.
The bulk of our programming is panel discussions, covering topics from GMOs, to the ins and out of publishing, to food and race. Interspersed with these talks, we’ll have food and drink-driven events, including a coffee crawl with Oliver Strand, cooking demos and a pop-up brew pub with artist Eric Steen.
Foodieodicals, our all-afternoon indie food magazine festival, is the centerpiece of Saturday and a favorite event of attendees. Dozens of zine, quarterly, biannual and any-kind-of-schedule journal makers showcase their publications, mingling with guests over free-flowing Brooklyn Brewery beer and snacks from Quinciple and Fleisher’s.
KC: Rizzoli editor Caitlin Leffel was put in touch with FBF founder Elizabeth Thacker Jones a couple of years ago. The obvious place to go to meet over breakfast was Egg, a restaurant we love and with whom we’ve partnered on an amazing FBF tradition, our “Tables of Contents” literary dinners. Egg owner George Weld is also on our board of advisors. Elizabeth and Caitlin’s initial meeting at Egg put the wheels in motion for George’s cook book (with Chef Evan Hanczor) “Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For”. Serendipitously, the book comes out this month, just in time for FBF.
KC: We had overwhelming attendance to individual panels in past years, so we’ve retooled this year with all-day and all-weekend passes to create an immersive, interactive experience for attendees with bountiful food and drink and great conversation. I’d like to quote, or rather, paraphrase, Peter Meehan of Lucky Peach, who has said some very nice things about us: Food Book Fair is different than other events for the sense of community it creates. I can tell from talking to people and seeing them interact with each other, the panelists as well as partners and attendees, that they’re taking the conversation off-stage, making connections, and really plumbing the many intersections of food culture and food systems at the event as well as afterwards.
KC: Our plates are very full this year, and we’re very happy about it. We have a dozen panel discussions on deck, a pop-up bookstore run by Kitchen Arts & Letters with book signings, co-curated programming with Heritage Radio Network, the Museum of Food and Drink, the New York Academy of Medicine and Toklas Society, a cocktail event with Death & Company, another Tables of Contents dinner with Egg, a Sunday “oyster hour” with Island Creek Oysters, and of course, Foodieodicals.
KC: We want to continue to highlight the relationship between the importance of food and the media and publishing landscape as a conduit for improving our food systems— supporting small producers and farmers who are bringing back old ways and looking at new ways to make and increase access to delicious, healthy and just food for all. We’re hoping to continue doing that with our events and the people they bring together.