Food Festivals Are Awful, Eater Argues

updated Jun 7, 2019
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(Image credit: Hawk Krall for Eater)

IMHO, the column at Eater given over to passionate opining, gives the megaphone this week to Joshua David Stein, who has something to say about food festivals. You know the ones — celebrity chefs, thousands of well-heeled attendees, wine glasses worn around the neck on lanyards. No, says Stein. These are not good things.

His argument? Well, you should read it for yourself, especially if you’re considering going to a food festival sometime soon, but it can be summed up pretty well by saying that the cognitive dissonance between what a festival openly celebrates — gluttony, excess — and what it purports to serve — raising money for charity — is a little too much for his sensibilities. He writes:

Of course, the festival is not a charity (though it is a nonprofit corporation) and needn’t be saddled with the same virtuous expectation of low overhead. But if the activities of which it consisted were more benign — with less wastage, less open greed, less gluttony — the dissonance between what it actually values and what it purportedly values wouldn’t be so jarring. Stuffing ones face while fighting hunger just doesn’t sit well.

As someone who actually participated in one of these festivals last year while on book tour, I found it thought-provoking — albeit aimed at a rather plush and easy target. It’s not hard to call out food festivals for their excess; it’s more difficult to make the judgment call on whether this outweighs the charity they do. What do you think?

Read more: Food Festivals Are Fundamentally a Bad Thing from by Joshua David Stein at Eater