The crowd came hungry and ready to indulge in the foodie event Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience presented by the Count Basie Theatre of Red Bank, New Jersey last weekend. The event, spanning from Thursday night until Sunday evening brought about 3,500 attendees according to event organizer, Izzy Sackowitz. The culinary adventure was “where one can taste the finest wines, enjoy local confections, and hear from these great local purveyors who are at the very top of their respective fields,” as Sackowitz put it. There was definitely something for every kind of foodie, from the connoisseur to the food lover.
|Adam Philipson, Count Basie Theatre CEO, Mayor Pat Menna, Joe Bastianich, and Victor Rallo|
Thursday night, Ina Garten graced the main stage of Count Basie Theatre to pass on some of her culinary wisdom. On Friday night, Anne Burrell made her audience roar with laughter while demonstrating pickling and imparting kitchen confidence to seasoned and aspiring chefs alike with her mantra of the evening; “You are the chef of your own kitchen, so own it!” Joe Bastianich and two local heroes— Pat Menna, Red Bank’s mayor, and Victor Rallo, restaurateur and host of Eat! Drink! Italy!— lit up the same stage on Saturday night during a mystery basket pasta throw-down with battling sauces, unforeseen challenges and unexpected twists.
On Saturday the Taste & Talk Tent housed vendors Sackowitz described as “the most inimitable culinary proprietors and perspectives in our area.” The delicious offerings ranged from artisanal coffees from Rook and Coffee Afficionado, beer from Carton Brewing and a variety of liquors from Papa’s Pilar, Angel’s Envy and Jersey Artisan Distilling, to two bite cupcakes from Sugarush and savory and sweet chocolates from Donna & Company. On Sunday the tent was transformed into a Taste & Tour of Italian Wine sponsored by Kobrand, which was a “rousing success” according to Sakowitz. The tour featured about 50 wines and included discussions with the wine producers moderated by Victor Rallo.
The sounds of live music drifted from the Count Basie patio and bar over to the Food Truck Court, where vendors served up street food from sweets to BBQ. Each truck brought their unique take on culinary favorites like classic pulled pork sandwiches from Mayhem & Stout and meaty chili from Oink and Moo and delectable frozen desserts from Coolhaus and even scientific ice cream from Freezy Freeze.
The weekend was also filled with smaller wine tastings with Stefani Jackenthal of NTS Wine Tasting, mixology demonstrations by Lauren Davis from Raines Law Room, along with food history centered lectures given by author Michael Krondl. Jackenthal hosted four sessions that explored the possibilities and complexities of wine, while Davis taught groups a thing or two about mixing cocktails and Krondl took his listeners around the world through his fascinating factual lessons.
Sackowitz revealed that “the idea was to use our unique space to bring the culinary arts to this community and curate a true gastronomic experience,” which resulted in the foodie paradise Appetite. The event brought together local personalities and businesses as well as celebrities of the culinary world to celebrate food, its history and its future. Sackowitz underlined that “Food is central to bringing people together and that togetherness is something that everyone in every community can benefit from,” and Appetite most absolutely achieved that.
Stay tuned for more about the Food Truck Court players and the Taste & Talk Tent vendors!