Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Le Fooding NYC 2012 Fail: Brooklyn Edition

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Le Fooding, a French foodingguide in France, decided to bring their Campfire Session #2 to Brooklyn’s waterfront in Williamsburg. I attended last year’s Campfire Session in Manhattan and the very first NYC Le Fooding event in 2009 in Queens. Both events were special and wonderfully organized bringing talented chefs together in one space. Patrons were fed, entertained with music, and free to roam around a beautiful art space. Le Fooding was an event that I became a huge fan of. It was an event and organization that I believed in and was willing to invest in. They always donated a portion of their proceeds to charity (Action Against Hunger) and the vibe of the events were not for profit, but rather the celebration of food and positive environment it could create.

Last year’s first Campfire Session was an intimate affair. The number of tickets sold were minimal and the outdoor space it was held in felt like a backyard. There was more than enough food to go around. Patrons got seconds, even thirds, despite the strict ticket per serving allotted. The musical guest was popular Norwegian crooner Sondre Lerche. It was an amazing success. We ended the night with music, ginger ale and Jameson, and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.

This year’s campfire promised musical guest Mos Def and five tastings which showcased the innovation of Brooklyn’s food scene. It was promising and had an air of coolness. After all, Brooklyn itself had developed a bit of a reputation. Artisanal, hipster, creative, new, and trendy are just a few words to describe the “Brooklyn” scene.

The event turned out very different from previous years. There was a strict guest list and the people manning the guest lists checking people in had no idea what they were doing. Each line had a different list and each entrance was left unmarked. Was one line VIP, for Mastercard users only, A-L, M-Z? The world will never know. We were just lucky to pass through the gates after receiving an apology for the process that took too long.

The event took place at the Williamsburg Flea Market. The bad thing was that the flea market stayed open while Campfire Session #2 was going on. It was confusing. Where we supposed to shop? The vendors looked bored and out of place. Food lines snaked by each tent and overall the event looked secondary to the flea and was cramped. Hosting Campfire Session #2 in the middle of the Williamsburg Flea gave Le Fooding less of an importance. It didn't feel special anymore and was more like a nighttime Smorgasburg, the daytime Saturday food festival held in this very same location.

Daniel Rose & Saul Bolton
Spring, France & Brooklyn Bangers, USA
As for the food, it was tiny and too much of the same. I guess Brooklyn is big on sausages because three out of the five plates I tried that night were sausage. One of the booths Mission Chinese ran out of tastings halfway through the event. I had to beg another booth to accept my Mission Chinese ticket for a plate of food. Thank you Brooklyn Bangers for being so understanding and delicious!

Choncho's Tacos
Mile End
Model Chrissy Teigen
I wish John Legend were there to fill in the musical act performance.
Grapefruit mousse by Pierre Herme
Aside from the food aspect, Campfire Session really prides itself on their musical guest. I was looking forward to Mos Def. Shortly after I bought my ticket online, I got an email saying Mos Def would not be there and Dave One of Chromeo would be filling in. My mistake was thinking that Dave One would show up with a keyboard and sing Momma’s Boy but he was without his other half. He stood there on stage and no one knew who he was. He should have had a banner or an announcement but had nothing and we were all waiting for something. Before we knew it the stage was being disassembled and we were being kicked out. We were all waiting for the main act but little did we realize we just witnessed it.
Dave One of Chromeo
I left hungry and feeling ripped off. I imagine this was the feeling people felt after Googa Mooga, an event I was totally satisfied with. Then again, I didn’t pay $250 for my Googa Mooga ticket. I was perfectly fine with waiting in line for an hour and spending $15 for Blue Ribbon fried chicken.

I doubt I will go to another Le Fooding event in the future. I’d save my time and sanity and just donate $15 to Action Against Hunger. Charity shouldn’t suffer out of mistakes, nor should my ears and stomach.  

Photo Credits:, Roxwriting

Le Fooding

Pierre Herme

Brooklyn Bangers

Choncho's Tacos

Mile End
97A Hoyt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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