Friday, May 30, 2014

Insider Talk from Food Writers at New York Travel Festival

The second annual New York Travel Festival was a fun weekend of panels, workshops, one-on-ones and masterclasses with industry experts -- all aimed at providing insight and information to avid travelers. The event was held again at Bohemian Hall in New York City. The session that most spoke to culinary adventurous folks such as myself was What's Yummy in Travel. 

The panel was moderated by Matt Gross,editor of, who is a traveler, journalist, and author of  The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the WorldMatt was joined by Peter Meehan, co-founder of Lucky Peach gastronomy magazine, former New York Times food columnist, and author; Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, a New York-based journalist and author of A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family and former Wall Street Journal staff writer; and Jen Murphy, editor at AFAR magazine

What's it like to be a food writer traveling internationally? Sure, it can be glamorous, but according to Peter Meehan, there can be too much of a good thing. His first food writing trip to Europe included nine Michelin star restaurants in less than a week. Food writers face challenges other travelers don't, like when the local speciality is "fish cum" and you end up eating it at every meal, because every host wants to serve you their best dish.  How do you survive a press trip that includes five courses at lunch and dinner? Slender Jen Murphy confided she has resorted to hiding food in her purse. 

But, in a world where food writing seems to be everywhere, what makes a good food story? Jen Murphy believes it is a story that takes you deeply into a culture, a story where the food tells you about the history of a place.  Cheryl Tan likes to write about the characers that haunt the local hole-in-the-wall spots.  She told attendees that the best place to eat in Singapore is the red light district because "men are hungry and the food is cheap!"

The New York Travel Festival has been a spring in New York City event. Check the website in early 2015 for details on the next or follow them on Twitter at @NYTravFest to find out more.

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