The fifth annual StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress has landed culinary heavyweights Thomas Keller, Marcus Samuelsson, and Jeffrey Steingarten for their food extravaganza event this month in New York City. The industry-only event brings together some of the best talent in the universe of food for three days of demonstrations, workshops, seminars and discussions.
Being held at the Park Avenue Armory, the event kicks off on September 20 with a Keynote Panel on this year's theme, Creativity: Art vs. Craft. Thomas Keller (The French Laundry and Per Se), Dan Barber (Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns), and David Kinch (Manresa, Iron Chef champion), will participate in a delicious discussion moderated by food writer Michael Ruhlman.
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto on the main stage at the 2009 ICC. Photo by Max Flatow
Rick Moonan (RM Seafood in Vegas and Top Chef Masters finalist) will be in town for a hands-on workshop Sustainability Under Pressure: Sous-Vide Seafood. Another cool workshop on the roster is There Will Be Blood: Cooking with Life's Essential Liquid, headed by New York City's Brad Farmerie of PUBLIC.
Pastry hands-on workshops abound as well, with Food Network Challenge's Keegan Gerhard leading Some Like It Cold, a workshop on innovative techniques and flavors for ice creams, sorbets, and pastry creams.
Chef April Bloomfield dissects a whole pig at the 2009 ICC. Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell
From Europe, Albert Adria of elBulli fame is making the trek to NYC for the International Chefs Congress, as is Tom Aikens of Tom Aikens Restaurant in London.
Other big name participants include Marcus Samuelsson, winner of Top Chef Masters and Chef/Owner of Aquavit, pastry punk Johnny Iuzinni of NYC's Jean-Georges restaurant and head judge on Top Chef Just Desserts (premiering September 15 on Bravo), Charlie Palmer of Aureole in NYC and Charlie Palmer Steak in Las Vegas and Washington, DC, and Elizabeth Falkner of San Francisco's Citizen Cake.
This year StarChefs.com will hold its first annual International Pastry Competition, where twenty pastry chefs will go whisk-to-whisk in a three day test of skill and talent. Judging the international line-up of competitors will be Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres, pastry phenom Albert Adria, food alchemist Wylie Dufresne of wd~50, and Iron Chef hyper critical judge Jeffrey Steingarten, author of The Man Who Ate Everything.
Chef Sean Brock using liquid nitrogen in his savory workshop. Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell
In addition to all the cooking and baking workshops, culinary seminars, and discussion panels, there's also a Products Fair, where attendants get the pleasure of sampling gourmet food products from around the world, and a "Somm Slam" where sommeliers will compete in a food and wine pairing challenge. Linked to the event is the New York Rising Stars Review, a showcase and killer party for up-and-coming talent in the NYC area.
I'm beyond excited for this year's International Chefs Congress! I've attended three of the past four ICCs, and only missed the one because I was in Europe at the time. I'll be there this year to cover this ultimate food event for Huffington Post, so if you can't make it yourself, I'll do my best to make you feel as if you'd been there. Feel free to visit the ICC schedule and post a comment here to let me know who you want me to catch up with at this dream event for culinary professionals and foodies!
Chefs Emeril Lagasse, Norman Van Aken, and Charlie Trotter discuss American Cuisine at ICC 2009. Photo by Vicky Wasik
You can purchase tickets to the event online at StarChefs.com. While it is pricey, everyone I've ever met there feels it's well worth it!