Well before everyone’s favorite fast burrito spot hit crisis mode, the changing landscape of food culture snagged headlines on a weekly basis. It has for decades and will continue to do so. Food consumption is a human need and yet, today, through thousands of different lenses (pop culture, health, sustainability, artistry and beyond) there is more on a lot of people’s radars than just getting daily calories for survival. For its second year, the Bitten food conference will go in depth and initiate conversations on the future of food culture. This year, more than 20 expert panelists will unite to share their knowledge regarding what food is, what it means and what it can be.
For those unfamiliar with Bitten, we turned to co-founders Naz Riahi and Emily Schildt for a better understanding. As Riahi explains, “We actually consider Bitten a technology, creativity and trends conference and in that way—we’re very different from other food events.” Their aim is to engage with an audience beyond those who work in food, and with that in mind she continues, “Food affects everyone. It’s the common thread which is why we’re seeing so many other spaces, from music (people like Questlove and 2Chainz) to art (publications like Brutal Magazine and the work of Emilie Baltz) to fashion (from Urban Outfitters buying a restaurant group to Prada buying an iconic Milanese bakery and Club Monaco doing a pop-up in Noma) tap into food as a means of building an engaging their communities.”
They both make note that this is an inspirational event, with a sense of invigoration as the intended outcome—and relevant knowledge as the takeaway. Schildt shares that at the core, their objectives are “to highlight how exciting, innovative and creative the food space is and in the process, make the food conversation more accessible and enticing to those both within, and outside of the industry.” With negativity, “cannots” and “should nots” and crisis as the most frequent headline grabbing topics, there’s a respectful authenticity to their approach.
Among their panelists, everyone from wunderkind restaurateur Flynn McGarry to Google’s Food Service Manager Kim Huskey and the James Beard Foundation’s Executive Vice President Mitchell Davis will touch upon pressing topics. Sessions range from new food manufacturing to food waste and animal products without animals. Food brings people together (a topic that will also be addressed), and our vast food choices (another topic on the docket) in grocery stores in contrast to food shortages elsewhere, lay out an interesting paradigm. Bitten explores it all, in one day, with breakfast and lunch provided.
Images courtesy of Dan Saelinger