Outside Lands is San Francisco’s most sought-after music festival held annually in the historic Golden Gate Park. Every year, thousands of music lovers flock to watch their favorite artists play live, check out art exhibits, and of course, taste the extensive array of San Francisco’s best foods. According to food curator, Ari Feingold, “Outside Lands is the greatest combination of food and music the world has ever known.”
Ari Feingold is an avid foodie and restaurateur. He owns Straw and Proposition Chicken both hot spots located in San Francisco. He also co-founded an app called QCutter that allows users to pick up food without waiting in line. I had the opportunity to chat with Ari about his food curation at Outside Lands.
The Daily Meal: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Outside Lands in terms of the food?
Ari Feingold: Going with the hard hitters I see... Every year I work really hard to make Outside Lands the cross-cultural epicenter of the Bay Area’s culinary scene. I could go through a list of 80 vendors and tell you my favorite item from each and every single one of them. There is just too much good food to choose from.
What is your most favorite part about curating food at Outside Lands and how did you get into it?
I’ve been doing for this for 7 years. I have always loved the whole outdoor environment and everyone getting together with music in mind. In fact, Outside Lands was the first festival to make the food scene the forefront of the event. The most exciting part is getting to know all these restaurants, chefs, and culinary influencers in the bay area. I also think it exceeds all of our expectations. For instance, when I’m on the MUNI train and overhear people talking about what they’re planning to eat just as much as what artists they want to see and makes me realize we’ve done something very, very special.
Which is your favorite lands amongst Wine Lands, Beer Lands, Choco Lands, and Cheese Lands?
Actually, Outside Clams is the new area that I’m most excited about. As a huge seafood lover, it’s an absolute must. Outside Clams is where you’ll find me. However, don’t get me wrong, as soon as I’m done with my clam chowder, I’ll be heading over to Wine Lands…
What triggered your love for the food and drink scene?
I’ve been in this business since I was 15 when it was legal to work in Pennsylvania. I became a local busser at an Italian restaurant. I’ve been in the scene for the past 21 years and when I had the opportunity to mold the loves of mine, aka mood and music, which was a match made in heaven for me.
How do you manage your busy schedule in the midst of owning your restaurants, app, and marketing agency all while coordinating food vendors for Outside Lands?
Isn’t that the lifelong quest? I am also a father of a 3-year-old son. When you love what you do, it never feels like work. Waking up, getting to work, and spending time with my family always feels great. I never feel overwhelmed. In fact, instead of doing what most people find enjoyable, I get the most out of taking on projects, no TV for me.
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