Meat Reigns Supreme at NYC Wine & Food Fest’s Meatopia

Josh Ozersky’s fabled event struck it big in its first year as part of the festival
Dan Myers

Butcher Pat LaFrieda manned the reins on an entire 24-hour roasted steer.

Meat, meat, and more meat! Carnivores came out in droves on Sunday for the 10th annual Meatopia, hailed as the “Carnivore’s Ball,” presented by Creekstone Farms and hosted by chef Michael Symon. More than 35 of the country’s leading chefs showed off their skills at turning whole hogs, lambs, goats, and an entire steer into delicious dishes, and the event was a smashing success.

For the past nine years, the event has been held separately from the festival, outside of Manhattan and organized by Esquire food writer Josh Ozersky, but this year was its first as an official part of the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival.

“It took ten years for this event to pass into transnational greatness, but this is the most amazing one by far,” Ozersky told us. “There’s no way we could have gotten so many amazing participants without being a part of the festival. In the past the event has been in some outer borough hellhole, but this year it’s in a great location, organized in a way I couldn’t myself.”

Chefs on hand included Ateras’s Matt Lightner, Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen, MP Taverna’s Michael Psilakis, Qui’s Paul Qui, VOLT’s Bryan Voltaggio, and Costata’s Michael White, and not only was it an opportunity for them to show off their supreme meat-cooking skills, it also gave them a chance to reconnect with each other.

“Being able to hang out with like-minded friends is the best part of this event,” Toro’s Jamie Bissonette told us, and Dickson’s Farmstead Meats’ Jake Dickson agreed. “They did an amazing job of putting together a great group of people,” he said. “It’s extremely well-executed, and there are amazing chefs here from all over the world.”

All meat needed to come from whole animals in order to make sure that they were utilized from nose to tail, and that commitment was most on display via the showpiece of the event: an entire steer from butcher Pat LaFrieda, slow-roasted in a custom box for 24 hours, then butchered by LaFrieda himself and served by the team from the Beatrice Inn. 

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