I’ve been very busy with food and travel lately, and while I’d love to write all about Saratoga Springs, Northern Michigan, and the NYC Wine & Food Festival, I already have…a lot. Feel free to check out the pieces if you’re interested in visiting any of the above yourself and while you’re there, here’s a little good in each place and a few awesome chefs taking it a long way.
I spent my 25th Birthday weekend in Saratoga Springs checking out Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa’s culinary program and the downtown food scene. I ate about 16 meals in three days and drank like a college freshman, finding the friendliest hotel staff I’ve ever experienced—they sang me happy birthday…on the shuttle bus—and basically a lot of welcoming townies. The coolest parts of this trip were several chef’s gardens right on site, which is the food world’s version of “going Dutch”, and the beautiful state park—even in the rain.
- a little good: Chef Brian Sterner, the center of my attention on this particular trip, supports both Shelters of Saratoga, the community hospice, and March of Dimes with food donations and events. His biggest charitable cause each year though, is the Albany Chefs’ Food & Wine Festival, when area chefs prepare the courses for fundraising dinners.
- a long way: You can attend the festival with the dual benefits of trying awesome local food and wine, AND supporting the arts. Check out the 2013 beneficiaries and plan a trip for January for some good travel.
The next weekend I headed to Petoskey, Michigan for a Hemingway tour complete with haunted hotels and salmon fishing in the freezing cold. This marked a reunion writing with Field & Stream, which we have yet to see the result of, but was a fun re-attempt to catch. I was with such an amazing group of journalists and only had time to support the local fudge industry to be honest, but found some great additional bits of good.
- a little good: My fly fishing guide, Brian Kozminski, is an ambassador for GreenFish, an apparel company supporting sustainable fishing. With every purchase, 5% is donated to organizations that are furthering sustainable fishing.
- a long way: Helping is as easy as catching and releasing, and respecting the land and waters you use, but you can help clean up and monitor these environments locally with the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.
NYC Wine & Food
After three years in the city without the means or memory to attend this festival, I finally made it with The Daily Meal. I spent six hours interviewing Food Network stars then tried 32 of the city’s best chef’s tacos…with tequila. If you’re in New York in October you simply cannot miss this. There are so, so many events to choose from and the proceeds go to charity. Not to mention all these chefs work with good causes individually as well. Here are a few examples!
- a little good: If you don’t know, 100% of the net proceeds at NYCWFF go to the Food Bank for New York City, which is effectively working to end poverty in all five boroughs. Definitely, definitely check out how you can help if you’re ever in the city.
- a long way: You can always donate food or funds to the food bank or volunteer with them, but I wanted to call out a few organizations the chefs I met support individually. Spike Mendelsohn partners with Michelle Obama’s LetsMove.gov, which is encouraging kids to be healthy and active, Anne Burrell supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Bobby Flay sponsors Wholesome Wave, which is bridging farms and under-served communities. If you’re a Food Network junkie, see how you can help your favorite stars’ initiatives.
To read more about the amazing food and my particular adventures in these last three stops, check out these articles by yours truly:
- Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa: A Getaway That Feels Like Home
- A Long Weekend in Saratoga Springs, New York
- Small Town Spotlight: Petoskey, Michigan
- Celebrity Chefs Dish on New Restaurants, Books, and More
- How Justin Warner Became a Chef
- New York City’s Top Chefs Serve Tacos and Tequila
- Top Chef Celebrates World Food Day