shoot&eat > Party

A Pie Party is Thrown (But Not in Your Face)

Another year and another terrific Pie Party has been thrown by the imitable Jackie Gordon (aka The Singing Chef and The Diva That Ate New York) and Ken Leung (aka The Hungry Rabbit). This year, the fifth Pie Party since its inception in 2011, was hailed by those who attended as the best one yet. This Pie Party was particularly special for me because it was held at my alma mater, The Institute of Culinary Education at their brand spanking new state-of-the-art cooking school in downtown Manhattan in the newly remodeled Brookfield Place.

This year the Pie Party had some titans of the culinary world as sponsors. Along with The Institute of Culinary Education as host and sponsor, there was Cabot Cheese, King Arthur Flour, Wüsthof , Anolon, Dub Pies, Tovolo, Honey Ridge Farms, and Wild Hibiscus. Cocktail sponsors included Reyka Vodka, Tromba Tequila, and Mizu Shochu.

Pie Party ICE 2015

The anticipation of chowing down on pie was high as people mingled, met, had cocktails, and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres that were supplied by the Institute of Culinary Education. Jackie and Ken were the consumate hosts as they made their rounds through the room to greet old friends and new alike. Before the cutting of the pies, there was a baking demonstration, people entering to win prizes from the sponsors, sponsor representatives on hand to answer questions about their products, and plenty of food love to go around for all.

There were impromptu tours of the Institute of Culinary Education throughout the day. The school has come a long way since I attended (I graduated in 2005) and they moved from their 23rd Street location to their new facility. The new digs even has a chocolate lab that was set up by Michael Laiskonis. What a dream that place is. Wow!

Pie Party ICE2 015

It’s always hard to leave such a fun event like this one, but all good things must come to an end. On the way out everyone was rewarded with a swag bag filled with all kinds of delectable culinary treats. Thanks to all of the sponsors for their support, the Institute of Culinary Education for providing a great space and to Jackie and Ken for hosting another successful Pie Party.


An Ocean of Fun at Oceana


Because I love to cook, Larry and I eat at home most of the time. However, we do go out to dinner for special occasions. Last Saturday was such an evening. We enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Oceana . The dinner party was graciously hosted by Lynne Ryan of Chefs To Dine For. Lynne has a passion for bringing together like-minded people who enjoy a sophisticated dining experience. And this one was a Valentine’s dinner to remember—a magical night.















The evening started off with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the bar—and Chef Ben Pollinger even came out of the kitchen to mingle with our group. At one of Lynne’s dinner parties, you not only get to meet fascinating food lovers, you also get to meet the executive chef. Chef Pollinger could not have been more warm and welcoming of the Valentine revelers. Chef Pollinger took our group—wine glasses in hand—on a behind-the-scenes look at his culinary wonderland, a VIP tour of the kitchen.

Watching the staff prepare and plate such wonderful seafood made me (and the rest of the group, I’m sure) eager to get to the meat of the evening—a beautiful three-course dinner paired with great wines. We all made our way to the private dining room with great anticipation of the delights that lay ahead. Upon settling into our seats, Lynne welcomed the guests and officially introduced Chef Ben Pollinger, who made everyone feel welcome. Lynne offered a toast, as the wine started flowing and the first course was set before us. From the first bite of the Meyer lemon risotto with crispy New Orleans shrimp and broccoli rabe, the reason Michelin honored Oceana with a coveted star was obvious. It was truly divine, as was the rest of the meal—steamed George’s Bank sole with baby artichoke barigoule and fingerling potatoes, followed by a decadent baked chocolate mousse with spiced pears and vanilla ice cream.
















During the course of an evening filled with divine foods and fine wines, lively conversation led to budding new friendships. If you’re starting to feel left out, don’t. There’s another dinner coming up on March 4, 2012. In fact, the next event is sure to be another night to remember, but with a totally different twist—a beefsteak at Beacon. If you are not familiar with a beefsteak dinner, then you will definitely want to read about it on Garlandia, Larry Garland’s blog. After you read about the beefsteak, I’m sure you will want to jump right over to the Chefs To Dine For website and make a reservation to attend the Beacon dinner party.



Last June, Shauna Ahern, cookbook author and good friend of mine made a pie. On the spur of the moment she decided to bring all of her Twitter, Facebook, real, and virtual friends together through a virtual pie party.

The goal was to bring a community together through pie, old friends, and friends not yet found. People baked pies, shared stories online with friends, and met new friends. It was a huge online success. More than 1,500 people participated.

Fast forward to October. Shauna’s success spurred an idea in Jackie Gordon’s  and Ken Leung’s minds. They borrowed Shauna’s idea but made it a real live event instead of virtual. Jackie and Ken started tweeting and blogging about the event–inviting everyone that they know to bake a pie and gather for an afternoon of culinary delights and great conversation. And their idea came to fruition on Saturday October 15, 2011 at Rodeo Bar in New York City.

Twitter was alive with talk of pies even before the party started. The night before the party and the morning of the party tweets were buzzing about pie—people talking about their pies, how they were looking forward to the event, and tweeting photos of their culinary creations.

On Saturday morning Larry and I arrived a bit early for the party with chicken empanadas and a sadly melted lemon icebox pie. Note to self: When toting a pie across town, DO NOT take one that will melt on the way. Luckily Lily, the manager of Rodeo Bar offered to try to freeze the “lemon milkshake” back into a reasonable facsimile of a pie. And speaking of Rodeo Bar, they were great! Thank you Rodeo Bar for hosting this event. It was a great space with a super staff.

Some of Rodeo Bar’s beautiful and delicious dishes.

Click on a thumbnail for full size image.

Soon, pies of all description—and their bakers—filled the room. There were savory pies, sweet pies, galettes, jalousies, empanadas, and all kinds of beautiful, scrumptious pastries.

For a few moments before people started eating, it looked like the paparazzi had arrived, as people gathered around the beautiful pastries to the sound of camera shutters and flashing lights filled the room with energy and excitement.

Eventually, the crowd was diverted from their photography frenzy by the sound of Jackie tapping on a glass and someone whistling for the crowd’s attention. Jackie kindly thanked everyone for coming and proclaimed, “It’s time to eat some pie.” The sound of camera shutters was replaced with the clinking of forks on plates as the foodies in the room began to make pie carnage. Old friends were reunited and new friends were made, thanks to Ken and Jackie.

When the eating subsided (which took quite awhile), it was time for door prizes. Many door prizes. Everyone gathered around in anticipation of winning one of the fabulous items.

Among them were many great cookbooks, and handily, the authors were present at the party to sign the books. What a sweet deal winning one of those it must have been.


The party started to wind down after the door prizes were awarded and Ken and Jackie again thanked all for participating. And then Lily, the manager of Rodeo Bar, offered hugs to all while thanking everyone for coming to her restaurant. What a wonderful, welcoming place Rodeo Bar is for food lovers of all backgrounds.

And now, I find myself already looking forward to the next Pie Party Potluck Live. There is going to be a next one, right?