In many ways, the best food festival in the world is whichever one is closest to you. If you’re an online culinary student studying at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, that could be anywhere (we have students all over the country and the world). You could also make a case that the best food festival is the one that covers what you’re most interested in. After all, there’s a festival for just about everything under the sun. Austin has a bug food festival.
But setting aside proximity and passions, there are some food festivals that are worth a pilgrimage if you’re a culinary student, chef or general food and drink enthusiast. Let’s take a look at a few of them (in no particular order):
Possibly the largest food festival in the country, every July Taste of Chicago turns Grant Park into a proper food emporium for about four days. Admission is free, and very reasonably priced tickets give you the chance to sample a wide variety of food and drink from countless throngs of local and national vendors. Also be sure to check out the food demonstrations at Buckingham Fountain, art installations from local artists and free concerts.
For nearly four decades, Food & Wine has hosted its titular festival in the beautiful mountain town of Aspen, Colorado. The magazine honors its best new chefs, recognizes its Restaurants of the Year, hosts dozens of cooking demonstrations – some from very high-profile figures of the culinary world – and, of course, offers plenty of food and wine tastings.
Every fall, the Big Apple and the Food Network & Cooking Channel play host to NYCWFF, one of the largest food festivals in the U.S. There are 80 events in four days featuring more than 500 chefs. From intimate dining experiences, to theatrical cooking demonstrations, grand wine tastings, family brunches, cooking classes, and more, there’s a lot to see, do and taste at NYCWFF.
If chocolate and pastries are your forte, then Paris is where you need to be in late October and early November. Chocolatiers and world-renowned pastry chefs from every corner of the globe provide demonstrations, talks, endless samples, meet and greets and more. There’s even a chocolate fashion show, and an extraordinary display of chocolate sculptures.
What are you doing on the fourth Monday of November? There’s only one right answer to this question: attending Switzerland’s annual Onion Market. The event is an homage to all things onions, featuring countless tons of onions braids, stall after stall of tasty soups and stews and much more. The Onion Festival is also a market rich with nuts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and other ingredients. Be sure to stick around for the confetti battle.
Hundreds of thousands of pizzas. Need I say more? Every year, Napoli’s Lungomare Caracciolo area transforms into a pizza village for one week in September. Evenings features an array of events, including the World Pizza-Making Championships, pizza-making classes, presentations, art installations and an extraordinary amount of pizza for eating.
And many, many more
Some of our honorable mentions include the Singapore Food Festival, Venice Food & Wine Festival, the Cayman Cookout, Tasting Australia, the Tokyo Ramen Show and Veg Food Fest in Toronto. Of course, there are countless others, and it’s not easy to get to them all.
Our advice to online culinary students is this: Whenever you’re traveling somewhere for business or pleasure, do a bit of research to find out what food events are hosted in that area. They’re a great chance to learn more about the local culture and cuisine, broaden your culinary horizon and network with other passionate professionals.
You can’t see all the festivals, but you can certainly try.