One of the new additions to the festival is "Eating Stories," in which chef Mario Batali and celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani invite friends including Rachael Ray and rapper/chef Action Bronson to share stories as well as food and drinks that help bring those stories to life. amNewYork spoke with Giuliani about the event and her new party-planning book, "The Cocktail Party."
What inspired "Eating Stories"?
Before I started my catering company, I pursued an acting career. While that was short-lived, I took my love for theatrics and transferred it into food/event production. The frustrated performer in me has always been looking for ways for the food and the stage to become one. This seemed like the best way to do that.
What are the elements of a good food story?
Well, it usually has to include either a universally beloved or a hated food. My stories normally involve an element of surprise and humor as well.
What is your most unusual food story?
I love to tell the story about the time I was to meet with Elizabeth Taylor's "people" to present food ideas for a party we were doing for her. Knowing how she was glamour personified, I went into the meeting thinking we were going for caviar and oysters. I was delighted to be stopped halfway into my presentation to hear that Ms. Taylor loved nothing more than a perfectly cooked burger, a well-done hot dog or a bowl of chili. My kinda gal.
What do you think of "foodstagramming"?
I love it and hate it. Love it because it's a wonderful way to share, promote and learn about new and exciting food experiences. Hate it because it takes us away from being present at our meals, which is the entire reason for gathering and communing around food. With that said, I'm guilty of "foodstagramming."
What are some common mistakes people make when throwing parties?
Getting overly fancy and offering too many choices, or slaving in the kitchen to create something impressive -- in the end, people are most impressed when they see you enjoying and relaxing at your own party!
"Eating Stories" hosted by Mario Batali and Mary Giuliani is Oct. 17 from 3-6 p.m. at Shipping and Receiving, 333 W. 33rd St. Tickets $150.