There are many food and drink festivals around town, but none are bigger than the annual New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) that returns on October 12th – 15th. This year, NYCWFF celebrates its 10th anniversary, so we chat with the Founder, Lee Schrager, on the festival and some of his favorite things around the city.
This visionary is pretty much a celebrity in the culinary and beverage world for bringing together the very best of the best each year for both NYCWFF and its sibling, South Beach Wine & Food Festival all for great causes to end hunger. So without further ado, let’s go…
Drinking with Lee Schrager
How did you get started in the food & drink event biz?
Ever since I was a kid with my Easy-Bake Oven and selling hamburgers from our front yard in Massapequa (making a big mess). After high school, I went to the Culinary Institute of America and did my externship with Glorious Foods, which allowed me to learn everything from the ground up and led me to my passion for event planning and coordination.
What is your current go-to drink order?
It largely depends on the time of year; I like an Aperol Spritz in the summer and a Pimm’s Cup in the winter.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee in the mornings and tea occasionally in the evening. There’s a café in the bottom of my building, Margot Patisserie, where I enjoy grabbing a great cup in the morning along with one of their scones.
What is your hangover remedy?
It’s been a long time since I’ve had one, but sleep is the only cure.
What is your very last sip death row drink?
A glass of 1975 Chateau d’Yquem.
If you could have drinks with anyone dead, alive or fictional, who would it be and what would you both be drinking?
I’m not a beer drinker, but I’d love to have my first cold one with President Barack Obama.
You get to hang out with a lot of amazing Chefs. Who is the best drinking buddy for a party night?
Getting together with the cast of Chopped would make for a great time.
Lee’s NYC Picks:
- The “Only in NYC” experience: The Boom Boom Room at the top of The Standard
- Romantic “let’s get it on” date night: The bar at the newly reopened Four Seasons
- A Classic Dive Bar night: Peter McManus Cafe
- Super Crafty Cocktails: The Dead Rabbit
- Late Night Eats After the Bar – Norwood
You are also the creator of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. What are some of your favorite bars in Miami?
SoHo House, The Deuce, Broken Shaker, Copper 29, and Sugar.
Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?
What events should Thirsty, drink-loving, readers make sure to check out during NYCWFF?
Definitely Ladies’ Night hosted by Anne Burrell, as well as our 10th anniversary kick-off party Smorgasburg hosted by the cast of Chopped, which will feature great libations from Bacardi’s portfolio, our Tacos & Tequila party, Aperitivo hosted by Scott Conant, Pigs and Pints hosted by Robert Irvine, and new Rooftop Rosé party hosted by Katie Lee and Elvis Duran.
Social Call – where can Thirsty readers keep up with your adventures on social media?
For tickets and more information on NYCWFF, head to nycwff.org.
About the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Coca-Cola
The Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Coca-Cola is hosted by and benefits Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry, with 100% of the Festival’s net proceeds helping fight hunger. The Festival has raised more than $10 million to date for these hunger-relief organizations.
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits are the exclusive provider of wine and spirits at the Festival. In September 2017, BizBash named the Festival the #3 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States for the fifth year in a row. More information on the Festival can be found at nycwff.org.