Review: Food Loves Tech June 11-12, 2016 @ the Waterfront

Food Loves Tech

Food Loves Tech © WhereNYC

Bottom Line:  Expect the unexpected. Indeed a cliché, but Edible Magazine & Vayner Media’s Food Loves Tech expo @ the Waterfront took me right out of my comfort zone and transported me to an amazing place.  Like many visitors at the event, I found myself savoring new, unknown delicacies that I never would have imagined edible.

New York, NY - June 11, 2016: Scenes from the Food Loves Tech festival, hosted by Edible Manhattan and Vayner Media. CREDIT: Clay Williams for Edible Manhattan. © Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

New York, NY – June 11, 2016: Scenes from the Food Loves Tech festival, hosted by Edible Manhattan and Vayner Media.
CREDIT: Clay Williams for Edible Manhattan.
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

New York, NY - June 11, 2016: Scenes from the Food Loves Tech festival, hosted by Edible Manhattan and Vayner Media. CREDIT: Clay Williams for Edible Manhattan. © Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

Who me?  José Andrés  New York, NY – June 11, 2016: Scenes from the Food Loves Tech festival, hosted by Edible Manhattan and Vayner Media.
CREDIT: Clay Williams for Edible Manhattan.
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

The Food Stand giving interviews to the press

The Food Stand giving interviews to the press © W

Dinner in total-immersion

Dinner in total-immersion © W

Califia serving sweet iced coffee

Califia serving sweet iced almond milk coffee © WhereNYC

Umi

Umi Kitchen: cook from home and feed your neighbors.  © WhereNYC

Review: Innovation, creativity and sustainability: the three words that sum up the Food Loves Tech Expo sponsored by Audi USA. From the quirky, ingenious, and daring to the familiar, comforting and nostalgic, there was something for everyone. Passionate individuals from around the country and Canada converged under one roof determined to challenge the way we look at food.

Gelzen - making meat without hurting or killing.

Gelzen – making meat without hurting or killing.

Jellied Pigs? Gelzen at Food Loves Tech

Jellied Pigs? Gelzen at Food Loves Tech

Judge ye not! Things are not what they seem!

Victorian-era food scientist Vincent Holt had advocated eating insects in times of credit crunch, and today, many in culinary world are embracing entomophagy as a viable dietary option.

One Hop Kitchen Food Loves Tech

Give it a try; it’s delicious! One Hop Kitchen

One Hop Kitchen from Toronto, run by food scientist Lee Cadesky and his fiancée, offered the ultimate blind tasting challenge – three different tomato-based ragu sauces: beef, meal worm, and cricket. Ready to taste, I closed my eyes, opened my mouth and muttered a quick “here goes”.

Delicious! Although the beef bolognaise could have used more seasoning, the meal worm was incredibly enjoyable. I can’t believe I’m actually typing this, but it’s true! Ewww!

Do you fancy cricket or worm?

Do you fancy cricket or meal worm? One Hop Kitchen pasta sauces

I wondered how did such a charming couple decide of serving bugs. Perhaps it was a first dinner date, with one of them suddenly exclaiming, “You know what this pasta sauce needs…” They will be back at the Museum of Food and Drink on June 28 /29.

Exo's cricket bar

Jess Tran showing off Exo‘s cricket bar

They weren’t the only insectivores on the block. Exo Protein also offered a mashed up cricket paste bar to anyone feeling adventurous. Like One Hop Kitchen’s pasta sauces, Exo Protein also disguised the unusual ingredient into something familiar, like an upmarket Fig Newton.

It delivered on taste thanks in part to its collaboration with notable chef Kyle   Connaughton, formerly at the three-Michelin starred The Fat Duck in the UK.

Fabanaise serves a winner

Fabanaise is fabulous! © WhereNYC

Happily, it wasn’t all about mashing up crickets. Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise served up a delicious (but vegan!) mayonaise, made from the left over water of drained canned chickpeas. My worry about veganism aside, I respect Sir Kensington’s nothing-goes-to-waste attitude.

Vegan Mayonaise

It’s sustainable and delicious! Fabanaise © WhereNYC

And to be honest, if I hadn’t known the secret ingredient, I’d swear I were eating  regular mayonaise.

Sustainability also pertains to space as much as food. Let’s face it, more people live in cities, where space is scarce.  Locavore urban agriculturers Gotham Greens grow their produce from rooftop gardens, while Seed Sheets will build you your own harvest-ready garden with their kits.

The ultimate hipster fake overall T-shirt.

You looking at my overalls T-shirt? Seed Sheets at Food Loves Tech. © WhereNYC

Seed sheet, garden ready in minutes? Wow.

Seed sheets, garden ready in minutes? Wow.

But there were also tasty conventional bites. Le Fusion ( or rather la fusion!) also served delicious fried vegetarian spring rolls, including a Mac n’ Cheez.

Le Fusion served some amazing veggie egg rolls. The shitake was absolutely delicious.

Le Fusion served some amazing veggie egg rolls. The shitake was absolutely delicious. © WhereNYC

Then there were also the sweet comforts: crumble cake, cupcakes and sweet potato cookies from Make My Cake Bakery in West Harlem. Yummy!

Sweet potato, white chocolate, walnut cookies were a hit.

Sweet potato, white chocolate, walnut cookies were a hit. Make my Cake Bakery from Harlem © WhereNYC

It was great to see Owl’s Brew back and showing off their tea-based booze cocktails. The spicy Wicked Green with lime, green tea and habenero was my favorite.

Boozy tea cocktails by Owl's Brew © WhereNYC

Boozy tea cocktails by Owl’s Brew – absolutely delicious!

And I loved the white cheddar from Beecher’s Cheese, salty, crumbly and oh so good.

Good old fashioned cheese!

The real white gold. Good old fashioned cheese from Beecher’s ! © WhereNYC

Sustainablity is the future of food

Food waste is a global phenomenon, ironically even with the massive amount of hunger in the world.  On the other side of the pond, activists like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the UK are fighting hard to curb it.

Bow to me! José Andres preaches not to waste food.

Bow to me, plebian! José Andres preaches not to waste food.

In the US, everything from purple potatoes, imperfect veggies and of course tons of bread, gets tossed in the bin. In the restaurant world, waste is even more common, which the late Keith Floyd once called it a very expensive disease.

All smiles at Food Stand, but who'sthe villan-looking geezer in the back?All smiles at The Food Stand, but who’s the villan-looking geezer in the back?

In recent times, many chefs have been championing sustainable practices to save money and contribute to the betterment of the planet. Attending speakers such as chef José Andrés, a protégé of molecular gastronomy legend, Ferran Adrià, and owner of several celebrated restaurants in the U.S. has also thrown his hat in with The Food Stand to stop waste.

Even ugly vegetables should end up on the plate.

Even ugly vegetables should end up on the plate.

Sustainable movers?

Cheers mate! Sustainable Movers not Shakers from Brooklyn was among the event’s attendees.

Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand

The virtual reality space at the event was really cool. AR Pandora, specializing business solutions, including virtual architecture, took visitors to a new dining alternative reality, where we could examine a virtual dish from all angles. Truly impressive.

What do you see? Virtual glasses

Like my specs? Virtual glasses. VRT Consulting.

For those who have loads of dietary restrictions, Nima showcased its portable food ingredient sensor.

Allergic to loads of stuff? Nima's food detecter might be your solution.

Allergic to stuff? Nima‘s food detecter might be your solution.

In some cases, the concept was better than the product. Nasa grant-winners  and innovators BeeHex programmed a 3D printer to create a heart-shaped pizza. Chintan Kanuga of BeeHex hopes eventually to install pizza-making vending machines.

A 3D pizza, make by a robotic arm. Impressive - yes, but failed to deliver on flavor.

BeeHex’s 3D pizza, made by a robotic arm. Impressive – yes but failed to deliver on flavor.

Although it was impressive to watch, but it took an awfully long time to make. The end result didn’t deliver on taste or texture. The pizza crust was raw, the sauce cold, and not at all pleasant to eat. And I don’t see how taking out the   human element makes for a better pizza. And in New York City, getting a slice is already an easy convenience.

Farmer's Fridge from Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge from Chicago

Chicago-based Farmer’s Fridge – another really great idea of delivering snacks to every fridge and the option to donate unused food. Unfortunately, the machine was out of commission due to transportation issues. What a pity because it ticks all the boxes on nutrition, sustainability and innovation.

Some of  ideas, however good, didn’t work for me.

Loliware serving edible glasses

Loliware serving edible glasses

A great idea but sticks to your teeth.

A great idea but stuck to our teeth.

Indie Fork restaurant had a drink plus crostini special, but the menu wasn’t cheap. And with the price of the event tickets and the added cost of a $16 cocktail, many opted to go elsewhere.

Indie Fork Cocktails - nice bar, but expensive drinks

Indie Fork cocktails – nice bar, but expensive drinks

In spite of some minor worries, the highlight of the afternoon was dinner by Food Sessions from Canada. The traveling French-Canadian company produced an exquiste dining installation for its guests, centered around nostalgia and the pleasure of the table.

You like my shirt?

You like my shirt? Food Sessions live dinner installation. The highlight of the show.

Behind the parked Audis, registered diners sat at a rectangular table. The calm voice in their headphones instructed them to savor every bite and record their thoughts.

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Food Sessions – A silent disco for your tongue

What may seem like solitary experience turned out to be incredibly interactive, mainly because we were sat with people we didn’t know. And then there was the food: a  spicy chicken, seasoned beautifully and moisty. Each garnish worked in total harmony with the main event.

Food loves tech

Perfection on a plate.   Spicy chicken, courgettes, foam crisp and radishes

And the dessert was lovely

And the dessert was lovely

With every bite, we listened carefully to the soothing voice instructing us to write down our cherrished food memories while waiters pourred generous amounts of wine. Like all good meals, the moment lingered over a glass and great conversation with new faces and creating new memories of the plaisir de la table that will stay forever.

 

 

 

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