Josh Capon is the executive chef and partner behind some of New York’s most exciting restaurants, including Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub, El Toro Blanco, Sessanta, and Bowery Meat Company. In this year’s Food Network and Cooking Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival Presented by Food & Wine, which will be rolling through New York from October 15 to 18, Capon will be judging the Blue Moon Burger Bash (a change from previous years, in which he often emerges as the competition’s winner) and will be hosting the New York Yankees Pinstripe Brunch, in which many former Yankees will be on hand. We spoke with Capon about the festival, as well as a few other assorted topics.
What are you most looking forward to at NYCWFF this year?
All of it! It's going to be another fabulous weekend in NYC celebrating food and wine and everyone involved, from the chefs to the people who come out to support the festival to the ones behind the scenes making it all happen. It's a party all weekend long! I would say I am looking forward to Meatopia, which has always been one of my favorite events. This year will be honoring and remembering our friend Josh Ozersky, who left us way too soon earlier this year. Josh was a special soul.
And how excited are you to hang out with Yankees at the Pinstripe Brunch?
I hosted the Yankees Brunch last year and it was a Home RUN! (Get it? Home run). It was a great event and Bernie Williams and his band were awesome. It made for a very special and intimate afternoon. I believe Hideki Matsui is coming this year, and he has been to Lure many times. It’s cool to hang out with the boys off the field and let them enjoy what I do for a change.
How is judging Burger Bash different from competing in it?
This is my first year judging so not sure yet, but I am looking forward to it. In years past I remember going home and regretting not tasting any of the other burgers since I am usually doing my thing all night. Now I am gonna taste EVERY burger! Hold on tight!
Are you preparing any cocktails at Chefs and Cocktails? What will you be shaking up?
Nope, but looking forward to tasting a few.
When you're making a burger for yourself at home, what do you usually top it with?
Ketchup, little bit of mayo, American cheese, slice of tomato, and lettuce with a pickle spear on the side!
What are your favorite dishes to cook at home?
During the summer I am a grilling machine, but usually at home I keep it simple with dishes like a roasted chicken. I cut up some potatoes, onions, and carrots, and season the chicken with half-lemons and garlic. I let the chicken roast in the oven and do its thing. I can then enjoy the time with my family and then in an hour or so dinner is ready. Also, love a rib roast or a rack of pork.
What are you working on these days?
Working on making all of our establishments at the Mercer Street Hospitality Group as good as they can be. Sessanta is still a baby and we are constantly tweaking things, and The Bowery Meat Company too! I also hired a new chef at El Toro Blanco that I am excited about. We want to make El Toro Blanco one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city!
What do you think sets the NYCWFF apart from all other food festivals?
I think the talent and the city itself. There are so many great chefs right here and so many from across the country that come to town as well. I think Lee Schrager and his team does an unbelievable job of discovering so many unique places to host the events. I live here and often find myself someplace I have never been before and blown away by the production.