Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bite of DC

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Photo: 13 days and counting...BITE OF DC is on it's way and with it we'll be bringing you sunshine, a warm breeze, elite chefs, creative dishes, bottomless drinks, live entertainment and waterfront views...all of which mean that BITE is quickly shaping up to be THE outdoor culinary event of the spring season! So don't wait until the last minute, get your group tickets today!
Thanks to our friend Mary over at Minutes per Mile, Liz and I were invited to attend the Bite of DC, a food-centric event being held in DC on Saturday, May 18.  Five chefs have been invited to create a signature dish, which will be paired with a beer and wine offering.  The event is being held on the beautiful Waterfront in DC and there will also be live music and cooking demonstrations.  The following food will be created for this event: 


RJ Cooper of Rogue 24
Cucumber/Yogurt/Smoked Trout/Roe

Ramon Martinez of Jaleo by José Andrés
Empedrat de Mongetes
Aaron McCloud of Cedar
Grilled Rabbit Sausage with English Pea Cream and Pickled Asparagus

Luke Holden of Luke's Lobster
Maine-Style Lobster Roll with Melted Lemon Butter and Secret Spices

Laurent Lhuillier of Windows Catering
Lemoncello Crème with Blueberry Confit, Ladyfinger, and Chocolate Garnish

We are so incredibly honored to sample the amazing food and drinks being offered. I will be sharing our experience with you following the event (unfortunately, Liz can't attend).  But first, so that all of our readers can gain an insight into Bite of DC, Liz and I were able to chat with the event founder, Steuart Martens.  Check out the dialogue below, and get your tickets to Bite of DC here.

1. What made you decide on the 5 chefs included in this event?

From the outset, I wanted a definitive structure and format to be at the heart of this event, and I think that starts with the number of chefs/brands that are featured "center-stage." While there's no magic number--such as 7 being too many or 3 being too few--I felt that 5 chefs was an ideal number. We focused on the quality of the brands, more than the number represented. Once we settled on these five particular brands, we built the programming out from there. To be honest, what really sets BITE OF DC apart from any other event, is the sheer diversity of culinary brands and offerings that we're assembling in one place, on one particular day.  

2. What should people unfamiliar with this event expect to experience?

I think people will find that in many ways, BITE OF DC is unlike anything they've seen here in the DC area. When you step back and look at this event, we're bringing five elite, award-winning chefs and culinary brands to a beautiful outdoor, waterfront venue, and pairing their respective dishes with limitless wine and beer, along with live demonstrations and entertainment. Between the names, the dishes, the drinks, and the gorgeous setting, this will be an event to remember.

3. How do you envision this even growing over the next few years?

The sky is the limit. But I also believe that whenever you're building a structure, the most important component is a solid foundation. As entrepreneurs, we tend to look ahead to the skylights, rather than the foundation at our feet. It's simply part of our Type-A, goal-driven, personality. That said, before I look at the 'skylights' for this event in terms of long-term potential, it's important that we underscore the foundation we've built as a sound base for BITE OF DC. To my team, foundation really comes down to two things: 1) the quality of the offering, and 2) the value of that offering, to the consumer. In other words, we want to consistently present A-level chefs and brands, while delivering that platform at a value point, which our consumers won't find anywhere else. When I look ahead to the inaugural BITE next week (Sat. May 18th) I'm happy to say that we've accomplished both of those key objectives. So to answer your question, the sky truly is the limit for us, because I believe we've started with a sound foundation. 

4. What efforts have you made to reach out to the local food community as well as writes, bloggers, chefs, and restaurants to promote the event?

It's funny, ten years ago, our outreach would have been relegated to television, newspapers, and radio. Fast forward a decade and the digital community is a key cog in the growth of this culinary machine. Whenever you're launching a new event like BITE OF DC, which has neither legacy nor competition in the minds of the consumer public, you're really having to shape that perception from the ground up. To me, that means creating awareness, then turning that awareness into favorable perception, and converting that perception into ticket purchases. It's a process. Like I was saying earlier, the foundation for this event is its unmatched quality and value, but the scaffolding that helps us grow floor by floor, is the engaged digital media in and around the DC metro area. I was just driving past the Washington Monument, which is currently covered in scaffolding for structural repairs from the DC earthquake in 2011. I couldn't help but think, that in order for us to reach the heights of our full potential with BITE OF DC, we need the acknowledgement, support, and advocacy of our digital media community to make it happen. Over the next week, I'll be doing the requisite TV and radio appearances in promotion of the event, but I've often said that it's the digital community--mags, bloggers, and websites--that really fan the flames quickest of all

5. Do you have any future exciting food related plans up your sleeve?

Absolutely! I can't give away all of my secrets, but what I can say is that we have BITE OF DC on May 18th and it's sister event DRINK THE DISTRICT on June 29th. It will run just before the July 4th holiday--which falls at a weird time this year--and is thematically titled, DRINK THE DISTRICT: RED, WHITE & BREW. We're also working diligently toward TASTE OF DC, which runs on October 12 and 13, over Columbus Day weekend. Check out for a run-down of our events and schedule. 

6. How would you compare the DC food scene with other major cities?  What makes DC the place that restauranteurs and chefs want to be?

I think that's hard to do, and on some level it's also unfair. When you remove the food component, DC is unlike any other city in the country. Period. It's the seat of power. It's the heart of government. It's the foundation of our historical roots. DC is also an incredibly diverse, international city. There are very few people here, that were actually born or raised in the DC area. With that type of transient professional population, we get a lot of divergent perspectives, viewpoints, preferences, and personalities. Frankly, it's one of the many things that makes DC so unique. Now, when you add the food component back into the dialogue, DC's cultural expansion has really gone a long way to combat (and somewhat defeat) the notion that this city is void of creative expression. People often scoffed at DC, saying that the best restaurants were only in New York, Chicago, or LA. But like we said from the outset, times are changing! There are more award-winning, big-name, and even TV-driven culinary talent here in DC, than ever before. When it comes to food, DC has quickly come onto the radar screen of critics and foodies across the country. For those of us that have lived here and call this area home, we know this is nothing new...this is who we've been all along. We are not NYC or LA and we don't want to be. We are different in a way they can never achieve. I hope BITE OF DC continues to drive home that notion and perception of DC as an emergent creative and culinary powerhouse.

We hope you're as excited as we are for this amazing event.  Go buy your tickets now before they sell out!

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