Food Competition Returns to Boston for Small Plate Domination

The top innovators in food showered guests with deletable dishes, both sweet and savory at the JFK Library

Celebratory milk shots 

For the second year in a row, Forbes Under 30 Summit was held in Boston from October 1 to 4. Last year, the food festival collected the world’s top innovators in food throw down in an intense battle for best savory and best sweet dishes at the lavish State House. This year, the venue changed to a more symbolic building – the JFK Library.
Overlooking the water on a Tuesday evening, the guests were given an international array of dishes to consider for the ‘People’s Choice’ awards. Top picks from the crowd were the truffle arepa from Kelvin Fernandez of La Marina – fun fact, this dish helped him take down Bobby Flay a few years ago. The other favorite was a Nordish smoked salmon dish presented in chic pots and covered in roe – this was my personal favorite, and the personal favorite of some of the judges as well.
As for the latter, chef Chris Coombs has always led this event, as a former two-time winner himself, he knows what it takes to get to the top. Chef Daniel Boulud and Lee Schrager were both present and weighed in on their views on innovation in the food industry and just how hard it is to cook for hundreds of people in pop-up spaces. For Boulud, his favorite part is seeing how chefs maintain elements of tradition and nostalgia, while tweaking details to invite in the new.

And the winners? In almost perfect synchronicity in the sweet category, both the people and the judges chose Andrew Gonzalez for his Night Owl cookies, served with a shot of milk. In the savory category, the people chose Kelvin Fernandez and his truffle arepa and the experts chose Zachary Engel, Chef de Cuisine at Shaya Restaurant. 


Throughout the evening, energy is running high – you have some of the most innovative minds from across the globe all descended in one space. It is electric! Other notable chefs showed up with their A-game – Alexandra Clark of Bon Bon Bon and Henry Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery in the UK. Congratulations to all participants and Boston looks forward to hosting you next year.