6.18.2013: Live Events / TK


How Digital and Social Media Changes Big Food Events

As the Internet spreads its reach wider and faster to more devices, the way people experience live events has changed. Live-streaming from music festivals and backstage at awards shows is de rigeur, allowing the “masses” to experience events previously off-limits. While the Internet can’t bring the full food festival experience to your computer screen (until GoogleX figures out some sort of smell or taste application), digital, and especially social media, changes the way these events are reported and experienced, whether you’re a participating chef or a fan behind your computer.


Case in point: this year’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, one of the top-billed food and chef events of the year (Top Chef fans, you recognize this event from the opening to every episode as Padma coos “what’s at stake” for the winner). Parties, tastings, press-courting and chef shenanigans shape the event. A few years ago, the closest the layman came to understanding the event was its daily recaps, penned by lucky journalists who detailed the day’s events and tastes. Soon, these same journalists were live-blogging and live-tweeting the action. And now that chefs are (finally, finally!) embracing the power of their personal social media outlets, we all got a pretty awesome insider-y view.


Eater’s highlights are some of the best. And even Food & Wine’s own recap of the event’s highlights is presented as a series of Instagram-ed smartphone photos. Most importantly, the food fan/reader is now accustomed to watching events covered this way — a very new concept. Live-streaming a cooking demo still doesn’t have the same effect as live-streaming a headlining Jay-Z performance, but I’m confident this crop of creative and innovative talent will continue to improve the online viewing experience for those of us watching hungrily from home.



Tech in Restaurants: Why Is This So Hard?

Have you ever gone to dinner with a group and collectively put your phones in the middle of the table in an effort not to use them? You know, the whole first-person-to-touch-their-phone-pays-the-bill thing? You haven’t? Me either. Probably because this is as ridiculous a solution as the problem it purports to “solve” — overuse of technology in dining situations. Dining out with someone who is dining out with you and their phone (as reported in Randi Zuckerberg’s Dot Complicated) is rude and annoying, no doubt. Restaurants have introduced signs, chefs and diners have raged on social media, some have even printed it on menus — please no phones at the table.


None of this has solved the issue. You know why? Because the “issue” is convincing each individual person to be a grown-up and put the phone away. I’m not sure why this is such a hard concept that warrants so much coverage lately. You wouldn’t, say, put your feet up on the table at a nice restaurant. Or talk too loudly. Or stand on your chair or yell “Fire” or do any number of other things that are essential for adult behavior in a nice restaurant. This doesn’t need an innovative or tech-y solution. It needs to become a social more. And it certainly doesn’t need another article on how to keep from reaching for your phone during an important meal. Be a grown-up.



*Though, if you must look for a solution, this specially-made beer glass from Brazil is pretty much the best one I’ve seen, period. You literally can not properly drink your beer while using your phone. Watch the video; it’s worth it.



Food+Tech Connect’s Online Silicon Valley Conversation

Ahead of next week’s Hack//Meat Silicon Valley, “to develop technologies that help bridge the divide between pasture and plate,” Food+Tech Connect hosted a week-long online conversation, encouraging participants and tech+meat enthusiasts to join the conversation (I hate that phrase, but it’s applicable) via Twitter, Facebook, or their own blogs. The list of confirmed participants is impressive, as are the ideas that came out of it (currently featured on the site’s homepage.) Through this, they identified “Steakholder Challenges” for event participants to address. The challenges are big, but the issues important. Expecting lots of good stuff from this weekend’s hackathon. (More on this next week!)



Grant Achatz in the Grocery Store

C+T favorite Grant Achatz is at it again, this time posting his own three-minute video taste-test of three canned soups. The video opens in Whole Foods as he asks who’s the best chef between Amy (of Amy’s Organics), Wolfgang Puck (of many restaurants and also canned soup, apparently), and Elmo (of my childhood.) To a soundtrack of Puccini, he dramatically opens each in his own kitchen, eventually crowning his favorite.


Aside from a pretty serious endorsement (watch the video for the winner), these humanizing videos are a smart move for a serious chef — he may be known for his highbrow concepts and expensive restaurants in Chicago, but he’s still a regular guy with a sense of humor who enjoys sharing it with everyone. Well done.



Thomas Keller <3s His Staff

I don’t have formal culinary training, so I can only imagine what it must be like to work under the best of the best. But I imagine it’s a good day when Thomas Keller compliments your work in a very public forum. He was especially complimentary this week toward Ad Hoc’s Chef de Cuisine, @chefk8t, for her bacon-wrapped scallops:



(Though his Tweet of praise has since been deleted — ugh, we covered this last week!) and toward Per Se’s maitre d’:





White-Glove Cronut Delivery Service in NY

The cronut — an apparently delicious crossant-donut hybrid — landed in New York via Dominique Ansel Bakery a few weeks ago. It’s popularity in pastry land is currently unrivaled, and now, thanks to an enterprising cronut delivery service, lucky New Yorkers can get a cronut fix without waiting in line,  for a cool $100. I mean…. you can’t fault that ambition.

More on Eater.



  • Tumblr’s Food and Drink Evangelist shares her diet for a week — GrubStreet
  • Twitter-only promotions are the new secret menus. Mention this Tweet for discounted brunch bubbles! — @OsteriaMorini
  • Infographic: Spirits consumed per person, by country (Scotch might surprise you!) — The Economist
  • Lady Gaga’s Dad has a New York restaurant… and took to Twitter when a health inspection didn’t go his way — Eater

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