Taste of Tribeca holds kick-off event at Roc

Local chefs provided students from P.S. 234 and P.S. 150 with some culinary education at the 2012 open house kick-off event for the Taste of Tribeca food festival at Roc Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Jack Berman.

BY JOHN BAYLES  |  The unseasonably warm weather could have people feeling like it’s already spring, which would mean it’s time for the annual Taste of Tribeca. But we’re not yet quite there.

However for the folks that dedicate their time planning the annual event, which serves as a fundraiser for P.S. 234 and P.S. 150, winter is actually when planning for the festival kicks into high gear.

Last week students from both schools were treated to a “foodie” field trip, where they smashed avocados, skewered vegetables and decorated cupcakes. Hosted by Roc Restaurant on Duane Street, the event serves as an open house of sorts, to raise awareness and promote the upcoming Taste of Tribeca festival, which will take place on May 19.

“The purpose is really to generate excitement and gear evryoen up for the festival,” said Faith Paris, a member of the festival staff.

Three chefs were on hand to provide the students with a little culinary education, including Jehangir Mehta from Mehtaphor, Patrick Nuti of Roc and Gayle Aschenbrenner from Mrs. Cupcake.

One might think that the cupcakes were the biggest hit among the kids, but Paris said it was actually Mehta’s wraps that had the kids most engaged, probably due to one main aspect.

“The kids loved smashing the avocados,” said Paris.

This will be 18th year for the festival and Paris is optimistic, not only because of the new restaurants that have joined on, including Ristorante Aglio, Kutsher’s and Tre Sorelle, but also because of corporate sponsorship.

“With the economy, last year the corporate sponsorship was down,” said Paris. “But we now have a new corporate team in place and we’re feeling really good about the year.”

However 2011 was a “banner year” in terms of ticket sales. The festival sold over 4,200 tickets.

“Hopefully this year will be even better,” said Paris.

Over 70 restaurants will take place in this year’s festival. For more information visit www.tasteoftribeca.com.

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