Taste of DC - October 8, 9, & 10 | Events
FOODIE-ISMS OFFICIAL Q & A: STEUART MARTENS, TASTE OF DC
1) What was the impetus behind bringing back the Taste of DC? Was it for the food? For the business venture? For the social aspect?
To be honest, it was a little bit of all of those things and here’s why: First, from a culinary standpoint, I think DC is ready for the return of this once long-standing event, but given the changing culinary landscape in DC and the level of talent that’s gravitating towards our nation’s capital, it truly is coming back at a different time within the culinary industry and the culinary scene in DC. So yes, food is the underlying purpose of this event but it also goes beyond that; this was a great event in DC and truly something that people looked forward to every year. I wanted to rebuild, rebrand, and relaunch this event with the appropriate infrastructure and sponsorship portfolio in order to be able to give it back to the people of DC to enjoy for many years to come.
2) Washington, DC as a city, has really put itself on the map in recent years in terms of celebrity chefs and an expanding array of award-winning restaurants, how did that play into your decision to buy and relaunch this event?
You make a good point, DC today is not DC of a decade ago in terms of culinary acumen and competition among restaurants. We have award winning chefs, pastry experts, mixologists and even a slew of best-selling authors and reality TV stars within various segments of the culinary industry itself. As a matter of fact, we have one of them here this weekend, in Spike Mendelsohn. Spike was a stand-out competitor on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ and he’s quickly made a name for himself here in DC with two different restaurants and a line out the door for each. So yes, the changing culinary landscape has certainly played to our favor in relaunching this event, but it will be the fans and the attendees this weekend that will really be the ones to benefit from that change.
3) Tell me more about the selection process for the actual food and culinary participants. How did you approach assembling this list and were there any that were not included that you wish had been?
This was probably one of the more enjoyable and also one of the more difficult aspects of this entire process. As we already said, DC is now a target-rich environment when it comes to chefs, authors, and experts in the culinary game. If you really look at it, the participant list is as diverse as it is deep and that’s something that I’m really proud of and something that I think will really resonate with the participants. As far as ‘near misses’ yes, there are always those that you wanted to participate for one reason or another but it just didn’t work out. But we are bringing this back to DC for good, so anyone we missed this year, we’ll certainly look to include in 2012 as this program gets bigger and better with age.
4) What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? What are the highlights that you think will really stick out for the DC Foodie?
Everything. This is lock-stocked with talent, depth, and diversity. Whether it’s to see any one of the award-winning chefs, a Billboard recording artist, a decorated somalier, a creative chocolatier, or even a chili-eating contest featuring champion competitive eater Joey Chestnut, there quite literally is something for everyone. And let’s face it, with DC’s October weather forecasted to be in the low 70s with blue skies…it really is the perfect setting for a great event.
5) Last question, where is this event actually going to be held and where can people buy tickets?
We are closing off several blocks of our nation’s capitol. All of the information for the event can be found on our website atwww.thetasteofdc.org. In addition to dozens of culinary entities, we have an expansive bier garden, an incredibly deep and luxurious wine selection, and massive A-list musical acts like Big & Rich, Rusted Root and Styx playing on the main stage. More that than, however, is the fact that this is truly a family-friendly event. Whether you’re young and single, married with children, or simply empty nesters, this event, this location and this time of year has a lot to offer to the DC foodie. I hope to see you there!