After a fogged-in night clouded the views from last year's Food & Wine Best New Chef's party, surely mother nature would cooperate this year? Nope. Wednesday night brought with it every party planner's nightmare: Pouring rain and a bottleneck at check-in left party-goers standing in line, forced to share their umbrellas.
But the rain did lead to one fun development other than my soaking. My wife shared her umbrella with Hosea Rosenberg, winner of the most recent season of Bravo's "Top Chef." Apparently Hosea hasn't done enough of these things to know that the talent shouldn't stand in line -- even in good weather -- like some commoner. Rather, he should have stomped his way to the front and loudly screamed, "Don't you know who I am?"
Another of this past season's "Top Chef" contestants, Fabio Viviani, was also in the house, being trailed by fangirls.
This year's grub was provided by former Best New Chefs Michael Anthony, David Chang, Scott Conant, Christopher Lee, Michael Psilakis, Bradford Thompson and Laurent Tourondel. Previous Top Cheffers Harold Dieterle and Stephanie Izard also served up some vittles.
Also in attendance: Time Inc.'s Ann Moore, Chef Rocco Dispirito, Ethan Suplee (aka Randy from "My Name Is Earl") and, of course, plenty of Food & Wine staffers, including Dana Cowin and Gail Simmons.
Of course, a party doesn't exist in 2009 if it doesn't have a social-media element to it. It turned out that Cowin had been running a Twitter contest under her Twitter handle, @fwscout. And the winner wasn't some Manhattan foodie, either. It was Sarah LeTrent, currently a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The prize? Two tickets to get into Wednesday night's party. Not included? Last-minute airfare to New York from North Carolina or a place to stay. But the aspiring food journalist wasn't going to let that stand in her way. She and fellow student (and fellow blogger) Elizabeth Kennedy, broke out the plastic (Yay! Consumer spending! Good for the economy!), called up a friend in Manhattan and, next thing they knew, were standing in The City Winery in New York surrounded by foodies.
Oh, yeah, the Best New Chefs. You can get the full lowdown on them at Food & Wine.
Sadly, Padma Lakshmi was not at the party, so I never got a chance to ask her
to eat a hamburger while I watched how much they paid her to do that Hardee's commercial.