It’s a real feast for the senses.
Welcome to the inaugural Politics of Food event, which brings Downtown Manhattan restaurants and chefs together on Nov. 16 for a day of discussions and tastings.
Guests will enjoy two main events presented by the New York Daily News and City & State.
The Politics of Food Conference (8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), which costs $45 per person, kicks things off in the morning at the New York Institute of Technology auditorium on the Upper West Side (1871 Broadway). The conference will explore food policy issues facing consumers and the food industry, and bring together top chefs, policy makers and innovators from different fields to look at food issues and trends.
Bring your appetite to the Politics of Food Festival in the evening (7 – 9 p.m.) at the Museum of American Finance (48 Wall St.) in the Financial District. For $125, feast on dishes from Downtown restaurants while listening to live music and mingling with foodies and special guests. Or, gain early access to the festival for $195 for a VIP reception (6-7 p.m.). Participating restaurants range from tapas hotspot Amada to burger heaven Shake Shack.
Visit politicsoffood.nyc to purchase tickets or learn more. Here are two chefs taking part — Louis Goral of Amada in Battery Park City, and Jin Ruan of dim sum wonderland Jing Fong in Chinatown — who share everything from what they do when they’re not cooking, to their favorite fall dishes.
Louis Goral, executive chef at the New York location of Amada
Kitchen cred: cooked with his grandmother from an early age while growing up in Bettendorf, Iowa before working in Denver, Colorado under chefs trained by Wolfgang Puck. Goral later worked with chef Jose Garces at Amada in Philadelphia and has since run projects for him in Chicago and Washington, D.C. before becoming executive chef of Amada’s branch in Lower Manhattan.
Fave fall dish to make at home: I really like making meat and potatoes-style dishes like I used to make with my grandmother — Wagyu beef pot roast, things like that. I also really like making what I call a purple stroganoff which is made with Wagyu beef sirloin, homemade mushroom soup, fresh egg noodles and lots of red wine.
Advice for those who say they can’t cook: Visit a farmers market and buy some really nice fresh produce or protein and go from there. The internet is a great resource that puts all the best chefs in the world at your disposal. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s how we all learn.
One food I hate: Crustaceans, because I’m allergic to them! I actually really love shrimp, crab and lobster…It’s just hard for me that I have to avoid eating them. (I can work with them.)
When I’m not cooking… I’ve been a drummer in metal and punk rock bands for most of my life, so I love playing music whenever I get the chance. I also have a 16-month-old son, with whom I love to spend any of my free time.
5 tools every cook should keep in their kitchen: Sharp chef’s knife, heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat-resistant rubber spatula, metal kitchen tongs, double-hinged waiters wine opener (not always for cooking)!
Junk food I can’t live without: Potato chips. There are several brands from the Midwest that I love, especially Kitchen Cooked…although I believe they have trans fat in them so they are probably considered contraband in NYC!
Favorite NYC restaurant that’s not my own: Bell Book & Candle (bbandcnyc.com) in the West Village. My friend, Chef John Mooney, has an elevated hydroponic garden on the roof that he uses to source produce for his restaurant. Great drinks, great food.
Jin Ruan, executive dim sum chef at Jing Fong in Chinatown
Kitchen cred : after high school, he learned how to make dim sum at a restaurant in Shenzhen, in southeastern China, from 1992 – 2001. Taking the skills he learned from the head chef there, he came to the U.S. to accept the head chef job at Gum Fung in Flushing, Queens, which is now called Jade Asian Restaurant. He was later transferred to Jing Fong Chinatown and became its executive dim sum chef.
Fave fall dish to make at home: I love making my family mooncake to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival (a harvest fest celebrated by Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese people.) I also like steaming chicken with salt, ginger and scallion.
One ingredient I hate: I hate cooking with MSG because it dehydrates people and myself, and it gets one so thirsty.
When I’m not cooking… I am in Atlantic City because: 1., It’s a little get away for my family; and 2., casino!
5 tools every cook should keep in their kitchen: Cutting board, mixer, knife, kitchen scale, roller.
Junk food I can’t live without : Salted peanuts and mixed nuts.
Best dish I’ve ever eaten : A hamburger with onion rings on top at 360 Restaurant (cntower.ca) at CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. This burger was amazing because I was with my daughter and the bread was so soft — I’m a bread guy — and the onion rings on top were delicious.