We told readers about Taste of Culinary last week. Here’s a quick re-cap of it, an event that I consider to be Buffalo’s best food festival for foodies. I may take some heat for that opinion, but with ticket sales capped at 500, high-end eats, an admission arrangement that allows you to return to tables for favorite bites multiple times, and no long lines, the American Culinary Federation of Buffalo’s annual fundraiser is hard to beat. Guests pay only $25 per ticket to nosh from over 35 food stations tended by some of the area’s best private clubs, restaurants, wineries and culinary programs.
Further satisfaction is gained by knowing that the money raised from ticket sales, the silent auction and raffle go to supporting both the ACF’s Chef & Child organization and sponsoring culinary students at important state and national-level culinary competitions. This year the event raised $10,000.
Held at ECC’s City Campus, the images in the slideshow of the crowd were taken early in the day, so they don’t accurately represent the size of the sold-put crowd, but even with 500 guests it was never crowded and none of the venues ran out of food. Of the many delicious items available, most enjoyable of all were the goat cheese ice cream with blackberry compote, the lemon rosemary sorbet, the over-the-top cheese and fruit display from Sorrento-Lactalis, a flavorful Asian-inspired chicken salad from SeaBar, the lamb, manchego and herb salad sandwich from The Saturn Club, and the creative interpretation of the classic Caesar salad by the BOCES Harkness Center, complete with a molecularly-engineered ampule of dressing.
In my opinion, the extremely amazing and authentic pork belly tacos with handmade queso and fresh pico de gallo, prepared by the staff of Park Country Club, were worth the price of admission all on their own. Add the three made-from-scratch agua frescas and the two types of “nitrogen-cooled” cocktails also available at their table, and I was sold. Since I rarely have the opportunity to extol the deft skill and ability of the culinary staff at Park Country Club, I’ll take the opportunity when I see it. Over the past few years I have learned that Chef James Roberts (pictured above) and his well-trained, highly-creative staff really exceed the club standard at every turn; I would think that the food alone makes being a member of the Williamsville-based private club a value and a privilege.
Kudos to all of the volunteers and the ACF for pulling off one of the best food-oriented charity events in the area (there are so many bad ones, aren’t there?). Foodies, make sure to put this event on your calendar for next year. It happens every April, and somehow manages to get better every year.
Congratulations to those who offered up the crowds’ favorites, determined by ballots handed out upon entry:
First Place- Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career Center
Second Place- Sea Bar
Third Place- Genesee Valley BOCES
Thank you to Scott Steiner and Joseph Fenush III for additional photography.