Celebrity Chefs Talk Signature Dishes, New Books, and More

The Daily Meal chats with Manuel Trevino, Michael Vetri, and others at the New York City Wine & Food Festival

Andrew Zimmern

As the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival raged on Sunday, the Marble Lounge in the lobby of the Dream Hotel NYC became the nexus of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, who was on his way to the Richard Blais tasting, and festival-goers, who chatted about the many foods over coffee.

Chef Manuel Trevino had a chance to stop to chat about a signature dish of his that was served at the festival's Grand Tasting on Saturday: calamari made with arugula, chickpeas, and tomato. Inspired by his experiences in Ensenada he said, "I wanted to put my best foot forward, with a wow factor." His visit to the lounge was also a chance to boast to his boss, Noah Tepperberg, about his win at the Sandwich Showdown hosted by Food Network's Jeff Mauro, earned with his Kobe patty melt.

"The Kobe patty melt was something we started here [at Dream Hotel’s Marble Lane]; it really filled our burger slot and it is something that I have always grown up eating," said Trevino.

Chef and author Marc Vetri, of Philadelphia’s prestigious restaurants Alla Spina, Vetri, Amis, and Osteria, spoke about his efforts to influence a new generation of diners and cooks through the Eatiquette school lunch program, which was created by the Vetri Foundation.

"We are creating a family dining experience for kids, [and teaching them] to respect food and eat healthy," said Vetri. The dining experience, which appoints kids as waiters, and table seating is in five schools in the Philadelphia area. Vetri also shared with The Daily Meal that he is expanding his restaurant empire to Morristown, N.J., with a branch of Osteria.

Michael Ferraro of New York City's Delicatessen and Macbar talked about his challenges in making a healthy dish for an older crowd at the Paula Deen brunch.

"We did a Mediterranean egg-white frittata with turkey hash made with faro instead of potatoes," said Ferraro, who also said that the rest of the menu had less -healthy dishes like a braised pork shoulder.

Ferraro also spoke about new business developments. He is creating some "Delicatessen-style international comfort buns" with the Korilla BBQ food truck (of The Great Food Truck Race fame) as a part of an upcoming bun truck.

"We had many conversations about doing a Macbar truck three years ago, and now as an owner, I am looking at new opportunities."


Other celebrity chefs breezed through the Braiser Lounge on Sunday afternoon. Chef Art Smith from Chicago’s Table 52 searched for his lost phone, while Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern came to talk about his latest book, Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptional Foods, due out Oct. 30. Zimmern said he would be back in the New York region soon to film episodes of Bizarre Foods America. Next Food Network Star Yvan Lemoine also talked about his book, Comidas USA.