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Meeting One of My Idols and Food Network’s NYC Food and Wine Festival

Posted Sep 30 2011 8:38am

It is Friday at 7:30 a.m. and I am not sitting at my desk, patiently waiting for my students. Instead I have my weekend bag packed; the car all gased up, workout complete and I am heading to New Jersey to spend a few days with my mom.

I am excited about this trip for many reasons, but first and foremost because no matter how old I get, my mom is still a very essential force in my life. I need her, probably now more than ever, and I am so not ashamed to admit that.

Growing up it was just Lindsay, my mom and I living under one roof, and we pretty much spent all our time together.

As you may have gathered from my post the other day including Friday night board games, family is the most important thing in my world, and in the last few months, since my mom has moved, we found out my sister’s life is about to undergo some serious changes, and I’m trying to repair the relationships I destroyed by my reliance on an ED,I have realized that my life means nothing without those I love.

Last year, when I was very sick, I would have tried to say that I didn’t need anyone other than ED. My unhealthy behaviors were the only way I felt I could survive and since my family tried everything they could to prevent me from killing myself by using such poor coping mechanisms, I pretty much kicked them out of my life, or at least pushed them away to the furthest point possible.

When they finally responded the way I thought I wanted them to, and decided to back off, I realized how alone I felt and that I needed to do everything I could to make them return. Although the process is slowly occurring, I know it is still hard for my mom to see me struggle.

This weekend is going to one of great difficulty, but it will also give me a chance to challenge myself, and show her I am serious about my journey toward recovery. Why? Because we are going to one of the most awesome, ginormous, extravagant food events in the entire world; The Food Network Food and Wine Festival in NYC.

If you haven’t attended this amazing exhibition, please do. You will not be disappointed and it really does support a great cause; No Kid Hungry .

Last year my mom, Ryan and I heard about NYCFWF when we were watching Chopped. Since I am such a curious person I decided to google it and discovered that it was to be held just a few weeks later! After scrolling through some of the options I found that Rocco Dispirito was having a FREE cooking demonstration and show, on a first come first serve basis.

OMG! Are you kidding me?! I could potentially be in the audience witnessing Rocco’s genius in the kitchen?!

If you don’t already know, I have LOVED Rocco since his show The Restaurant. We started watching it in one of my business classes when I was in high school. Then I bought his cook books, watched him as a guest star on Rachel Ray, the Today Show…

I just thought he was awesome! So of course I bought his book, “Now Eat This!” when it first debut on Amazon, not knowing that this purchase would lead me to an amazing adventure in NYC…

We took the train to the city early Saturday morning, assuming we would need to be in line as soon as we could to see Rocco. While we were standing there, amidst a sea of people who were obviously not as inexperienced as we were to festival knowledge, were conversing about all the awesome activities that happened the day before and later that night. The buzz seemed to be about something called a Grand Tasting Party.

Hmm…what was that?

So finally they shuffle us into a very small venue where we get third row seats. PERFECT for a view of the stage and one of my very favorite chefs. When he comes out and starts talking I was literally peeing my pants with excitement, and I don’t know what come over me but when he asked a question, “What makes his chocolate chip cookies so moist and delicious, but still so low calorie?” I couldn’t help but shout out “I KNOW! IT’S WHITE BEANS!”

“Who said that?!” He called out. And again I stood, jumping up and down like a 13 year old girl at a Backstreet Boys Concert, and yelled, “It was me!!!”

He asked how I knew his secret…and of course I told him I had the book literally the first day I could.

“Darnit! Because I just happen to have an autographed copy for you…how about the book anyway, and a hug!”

He seriously hugged me. And then turned to Ryan and asked how my husband enjoyed the lightened up recipes from Rocco’s cookbook. The conversation continued for at least 5 minutes AND THEN he called Ryan up on stage to taste his ribs!

Holy shmoly was this seriously happening?!

When he encouraged the audience to come to his meet and greet later, we knew we had to go, so we made the trek a few blocks away and not only found my chef but a ticket booth where they were advertising the few tickets they had left for this Grand Tasting Party we heard about before…

Well of course Rocco remembered us (of course haha) and we asked him about the party because I was totally wondering if he was going to be there too.

Unfortunately he had gone to the previous party and was headed straight to a flight for his next event, but encouraged us to check it out if we had time.

Why not?! Our train didn’t leave until an hour after the party ended, and everyone seemed to be talking about it, so why not snag up some of the remaining tickets.

I cant even describe to you how amazing Grand Tasting is. There are hundred of vendors, celebrity chefs, major companies, all displayed along the waterfront offering all the free food, products, alcohol, and other beverages you could possibly desire.

I left with 4 bags full of swag, met a dozen top chefs or Food Network personalities, and swore I would return this year.

I am sad that I was not blogging or photographing things back then because I wish I could have documented my first experience better than a few measly words, BUT…

Tomorrow I will be again making my way into the city for not only the Grand Tasting Party but also Morimoto’s Sushi after party…and you better believe I have my camera.

So although I may not be posting tomorrow. I hope you check back later this weekend, or Monday for a recap.

Enjoy your weekends!

I know I will because before FNFWF, we are headed to Woodbury Commons (just take a peak at some of the amazing stores this outlet center has to offer!!!)

See you Sunday with a full belly, a lighter wallet and a big old smile!


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