Vegans need not apply here. Meatopia is without a doubt the meatiest celebration of the entire New York City Wine & Food Festival, presented by Food & Wine. This year’s Meatopia party was hosted by Iron Chef and TV personality Michael Symon, well-known for his carnivorous tastes in the kitchen. We sat down with Chef Symon to talk about the festival highlights and— in the spirit of the festival—his secret to a perfectly cooked steak.
“A steak is nothing without a great crust,” Symon explained. “You need to season it with liberal abandon and be really patient with it on the grill so that it develops that nice thick crust outside.”
Steak in its purest form was actually a rare sight at Meatopia this year, where short ribs and pulled pork ruled the roost (and the giant grills outside). For Symon, his festival highlight this year was Marco Canora (executive chef at Brodo, the takeout window attached to New York City’s Hearth), who served a barbecue beef broth with marrow butter. “It brought a tear to my eye,” Symon said.
There were plenty of teary eyes that evening for a different reason. Meatopia was a festival originally conceptualized by critically acclaimed food writer Josh Ozersky, who died earlier this year.
“Josh was a celebratory guy and he wouldn’t want people to be melancholy here,” Symon said. “The chefs are cooking tonight with a little sorrow in their heart[s] but every guest should walk out of here with grease around their mouth, a stain on their shirt, and having drank one too many beers.”
On a lighter note, we asked Michael Symon what he would do if we challenged him to go vegan for a month. His response? “My wife’s a vegan. She made me do it for 10 days and I felt weak. No way could I last a month.”