Audi FEASTIVAL a Culinary and Financial Success

by Walter Bender

A fabulous ice sculpture spells out FEASTIVAL and captures the splendor of the event.

The third annual Audi FEASTIVAL took place on September 12 at Pier 9, Penn’s Landing. FEASTIVAL is a culinary event, co-chaired this year by Tony Forte and Jesse & Bekka Rendell and co-hosted by Stephen Starr, Audrey Claire Taichman and Michael Solomonov which is a “celebration of the artistic and culinary communities” of Philadelphia. A principle fundraising event for the Philly Live Arts and Fringe Festival, FEASTIVAL welcomed nearly 950 hungry attendees to the converted warehouse for an evening of music, dance and food…much food!

Pier 9 was converted for the evening, with booths for the many participating restaurants (somewhere in the 85-90 range…there were far too many to count!), scaffolding for the half-clad dancers and DJ, artwork on display (including the mural painted during last year’s event), and the auction tables where the description of the many items up for silent auction were on display. Highlighting the auction items was a dream dinner, where six of the best chefs in Philadelphia would prepare a dinner for 10 at a place of your choosing (the minimum bid for such a prize was $10,000.)

Though food is the focus, FEASTIVAL provides plenty of entertainment as well – dancers performed during the spectacular event.

Among the many guests were local political figures, a veritable Who’s Who of the culinary arts in our region, and the many sponsors and their guests. Former Governor Rendell was in attendance, as was deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger. The list of chef/restaurateurs was lengthy, as well as executive chefs from many of the participating restaurants. The dancers kept the crowds entertained and many camera phones flashing as they walked along the aisles.

Rabbit, salmon and duck were prevalent in the many offerings, a foodie’s dream event. From the first booth (Percy Street BBQ’s marvelous Sliced Brisket sandwich with housemade Sauerkraut, Percy Street “Old Faithful” Barbecue Sauce and Provolone Cheese) to the last (Sweet Freedom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies…a surprising gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, egg-free, dairy-free delight) enthusiastic chefs proffered their succulent offerings to the anxious diners. My companion and I did our best to try a bit of everything for you, faithful readers, but even our huge appetites were outlasted by the variety of offerings by the many terrific restaurants. Personal favorites included Square 1682 (Chilled Heirloom tomato gazpacho shooters with oysters, horseradish and Granny Smith apple), The Twisted Tail (Stout braised pork cheeks), Verdad (a wonderful Tuna Ceviche), and several of the Starr restaurants, Barclay Prime (mini wedge salad with crab dressing), Continental (Sauteed Prawns with a lemongrass-chili sauce and pickled ginger), The Dandelion (Pork Rillette with frain mustard, porcini mushrooms and a pear-shallot chutney), and Route 6(Crab Devilled Eggs), among many others.

FEASTIVAL dancers on Pier 9.

The attendees enjoyed the event tremendously, and were reluctant to leave, staying well past the 9 PM ending time. Congratulations to the hosts, chairs, volunteers, and all of the participating restaurants and performers for making FEASIVAL one of the must-see events of the calendar year.

September 12, 2012
Pier 9, 121 North Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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