A Chat with The Southern Westchester Food & Wine Festival’s Chefs and Authors
The Southern Westchester Food & Wine Festival, a celebration of the area’s bounty of great food, wine, and chefs, will be coming to Scarsdale Village Sunday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. With planned events including a host of cooking demonstrations from some of the area’s top chefs, book signings from renowned chefs and cookbook authors, wine seminars and tastings, and live music, it’s sure to be a day to remember.
Chefs David Burke, Nisa Lee, Rafael Palomino, and Ken Arnone will be hosting cooking demonstrations, as well as the winners of Stew Leonard’s and Epicurious Healthy Recipe Contest. Burke, Arnone, Palomino, "The Sneaky Chef" Missy Lapine, and Epicurious editor-in-chief Tanya Steele will also be hosting book signings, and live music will be provided by Springsteen tribute band B Street Band and Joe D’Urso and the Stone Caravan. Activities will also be held for children throughout the day.
Along with the above attractions, there will also be a tasting village, highlighting food from more than 60 of the area’s top restaurants, caters, bakers, and food providers.
We had the opportunity to speak with some of the features chefs and authors about the event, and here’s what they had to say:
The Daily Meal: What do you have planned for your demo at the festival?
David Burke: For the first course I have a dry-aged beef sashimi on a block of salt. Next, lobster scrambled eggs with caviar and an ostrich egg. Then a rack of pork from boar farms in Connecticut, served with garlicky clams, Brussels sprouts, and watercress. And for dessert, a pineapple and strawberry Napoleon with bell pepper caramel and peach and vanilla ice cream. We will also have cheesecake pops to hand out.
Nisa Lee: My plan is to incorporate seasonal sustainable ingredients that are fresh and easy to use for aspiring and experienced chefs — mothers, fathers, young adults, and so many others. I will be introducing two new dishes for the fall season, Champagne Risotto Grilled Shrimp and Sea Kelp and Apple Slaw Rice Crepe with Fig Chutney.
Ken Arnone: I will be cooking two items: Sicilian pesto diavolo chicken and a lobster and corn chowder.
The Daily Meal: Can you talk about the book you’ll be signing at the festival?
David Burke: I will be signing two of my books, Cooking with David Burke and David Burke’s Updated American Classics.
Missy Chase Lapine: My first book in The Sneaky Chef series — the New York Times best-seller, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals.
The Daily Meal: What local resources and products do you use?
David Burke: We have beef from Kentucky that is dry-aged in the restaurant, lobster from New England, American caviar, pork from Connecticut, strawberries from New Jersey, peppers from the David Burke Garden, as well as some peppers supplemented from the food bank in Ocean County, and then our cheesecake pops that are processed and make in New York.
Nisa Lee: Because my brand is about using ingredients that are fresh, organic, and sustainable, I like to visit Hemlock Hill Farms in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., once a week to hand-select specific ingredients (meat and produce) to develop new recipes and also use them at my events. Not to mention having a preview of products for the new season. Plus, visiting local farm markets in Bronxville, Larchmont, and Union Square Farmers Market in New York City. However, I enjoy going to Arthur Avenue as well.
Missy Chase Lapine: We produce our pasta sauce in New York state.
Ken Arnone: Living in the Hudson Valley I have access to many farms that supply outstanding seasonal local produce and meats. The lobster and corn chowder will feature local corn and pesto diavolo is one of my retail items that I produce here in NY State as well that will be used for the Sicilian chicken.
The Daily Meal: What do you love about this festival?
David Burke: I have never been to the festival but I love the fact that it’s in Westchester. I started there in 1992 at La Cremaillere. I don’t think people know how many restaurants there are there, and that there are a lot of really good neighborhood and suburban restaurants.
Missy Chase Lapine: It's so close to my hometown of Irvington, and I shop and eat in Scarsdale often.
Nisa Lee: This is a premier event that has been long overdue in Westchester and it is finally here! The Scarsdale community has given its green light to host the event and I feel that it will be very well received. There is a tremendous amount of foodies within this community, from the young adults to the older generations, who I know are going to embrace it with open arms and will want more down the road. There is excitement in the culinary world because the restaurants will gain additional visibility, actually meet people, and create fabulous dishes off premise for everyone to enjoy. It is always good to get outside of the box, no pun intended. It's where individuals and families can come together and enjoy a daylong activity with great food, wine, and entertainment. An added component to truly living life — "good food, good wine, good friends, and family." Isn't that what we do in our homes? We entertain with family and friends, sharing memories with love and laughter. Now we all get to experience the same thing in an open arena with our neighbors. Plus, it is about doing good and giving back to the wonderful charitable organizations such as the Food Bank for Westchester, WHYHUNGER, DON BOSCO Community Center, and Greystone Foundation. It's the most effective and best way to create awareness and make a difference while gathering everyone together for great food, wine, and laughter.
Ken Arnone: SOWE is doing a great job to showcase local restaurants, highlight chefs, and expose attendees to great wines.
The Daily Meal: What are your favorite late summer/early fall ingredients?
David Burke: Cherries, beets, cabbage, arugula, peaches, watermelon, and corn.
Nisa Lee: This is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy welcoming the fall season by using the delicate, seasonal, and wonderful ingredients such as fresh figs, okra, persimmons, pomegranate, tomatillos, rapini, Jerusalem sunchokes, leeks, lemongrass, huckleberries, fennel, chicories, edamame, kohlrabi, escarole, Swiss chard, Belgian endives, and pumpkin. Spices would include cardamom, cloves, turmeric, juniper berries, ginger, saffron, ancho chiles, and so much more.
Missy Chase Lapine: Zucchini, apples, and cauliflower.
Ken Arnone: Corn, tomatoes, hearty greens, squash, and apples.