Spoon’s biggest event of the year happened last month at 404 NYC. The annual event includes some of the site’s contributors, food-lovers, local professionals, and celebrities. Brainfood brings these brilliant minds together to explore the intersection of food, media, tech and entrepreneurship.
We enjoyed some of the greatest food and drink NYC has to offer while this all went down. Here’s what you missed:
Friday Kick-Off Party
Ticket holders were invited to a free kick-off party the night before the conference at the Institute of Culinary Education. The drinks, food, and mingling got everyone in the spirit for the main event on Saturday.
Saturday at 404 NYC
We heard from well-known chefs, business owners, and food professionals who shared their expertise on topics such as responsibility and transparency, the impact of social media on the way we eat, unique job opportunities in the culinary world, micro herb farming, media, health, and so much more.
Breakfast of Champions
The day started with an enormous breakfast display that included doughnuts from Dough, cold brew from Stumptown Coffee, sweet and savory choices from OatMeals, and cold-pressed juices from JuicePress.
Commencing the Conference
Spoon’s founders, Mackenzie and Sarah, gave the intro for the event.
Food Marketing—Yesterday and Today
Lisa Mann was our first guest, enlightening us with her expertise in food marketing. The field has changed significantly with the advent of technology and continues to grow and evolve with time. Her biggest keys to success in the field were to “trust your gut and stay loyal to your brand.”
How Social Media Changed the Way We Eat
After the talk on food marketing, some big names in social media spoke to the crowd about the impact their field has on the way we eat. The social media giants included Hillary Reinsberg (Editorial Director of The Infatuation), Ken Lo (Cofounder of Ice & Vice), Mike Chau (Founder of @foodbabyny), Liz Kennedy (Content Strategist at FreshDirect), Mackenzie Kruvant (Senior Editor at BuzzFeed.com), and Troy Neal (CEO, Chef & Cofounder of The Doughnut Project).
The Food Entrepreneurship Hustle
Forging your own way in the food industry is an enormous undertaking. The hustle of food entrepreneurship was explained by veterans of the trade, Josh Hix (CEO of Plated), Matt Doumar (Cofounder of Good Uncle), Chris Sayegh (Head Chef at The Herbal Chef) and Katrina Markoff (Founder of Vosges Chocolate and Wild Ophelia).
Not Just Another Food Publication
There are so many food publications, so what makes one successful? We found out from Brette Warshaw (COO of Lucky Peach), Jane Frye (Managing Editor of Tasting Table), Helen Hollyman (Editor-in-Chief of Munchies), Ariel Lauren Wilson (Digital Editor of Edible), and Spencer Dukoff (Managing Editor of Spoon University). That’s our very own Spencer photographed below.
Throughout the day, our speaker and sponsor lounge was bustling. The exclusive snacks were abundant and Jar Bar NYC brought their treats to share inside the lounge.
All that Talking Made Us Hungry Again
While the talks were still going on, more food vendors were rolling in. Lunch was provided by Inday, Dig Inn, Tacombi, Wisefish Poke, The Meatball Shop, Nanoosh, Georgetown Cupcakes and Fatty Sundays.
Though there were a plethora of lunch options, the baby behind @foodbabyny on Instagram and Georgetown Cupcake stole the dessert show.
How to Make a Job for Yourself in Food
Following lunch, the learning continued. Most attendees were college students with varying levels of anxiety about how to make it in the real world after graduation. So, we learned from the professionals how to make a job for yourself in food. Kerry Diamond (Founder of Cherry Bombe magazine), James Briscione (Director of Culinary Development at ICE), Kim Lerner (Community Manager at Culinary Agents), Dorothy Cann Hamilton (CEO of ICC), and Jordan Andino (Owner and Chef at 2nd City) told us how.
Nutrition has never been a hotter topic, but understanding health isn’t easy, so we brought in a panel to talk about what health(ier) really means. This took place on the upper level of the space with Leigh Weingus (Senior Writer at mindbodygreen), Carolyn Brown (Dietician from Foodtrainers), Stephanie LaSpina (Lead Teacher at Y7 Studio), and Lourdes Castro (NYU Nutrition Professor).
The Photo Booth
Tons of cute photo ops, need we say more?
Where the F&*k Does My Food Come From?
While nutrition is a hot topic, so is sustainability and resourcing. Have you ever thought, “Where the F&*k Does My Food Come From?” Well, we did. Daniel Holzman (Founder of The Meatball Shop), Bryan Cowan and Drew Crane (founders of Wisefish Poké), Poull Brien (Cofounder of Wild Fish Direct), Sandy Dee Hall (Founder and Chef at Black Tree), and Yusha Hu (CEO of Local Bushel) gave us the scoop. We were shocked, to say the least.
What’s a Microgreen Again?
We’re always down to learn about food trends, so the demo and tasting of microgreens with Nicolas Mazard of Koppert Cress was exactly what we needed. By the end, our tongues were numb and palettes clean.
Restaurant Life, Unfiltered and Chocolate Isn’t a Snack or a Food
The final two talks of the day were an unfiltered take on restaurant life with Jonathan Waxman (Founder of Barbuto and a James Beard Award-winning Chef), and one about why chocolate isn’t a snack or a food with Tracey Massey (President of Mars Chocolate North America).
Everyone who bought a ticket to the event went home with a bag full of goodies. We also had our Spoon Shop open for the event where you could purchase items from our site and much more. The S’well bottles went like crazy.
The Sunday Morning After
On Sunday, we held a member summit in the HQ office in Midtown. We ate some more, networked, shared stories, and split up into groups for lunch around the city.
We Know You’re Jealous You Didn’t Come
Don’t be sad, you can come next year. This is only an overview of everything that happened, and we did Facebook Live videos so you can watch all the talks. To see more photos of Brainfood, check out our Facebook page or you can peruse the hashtag #brainfoodnyc on Instagram.