From Humble Origins, "Street Food" Now Attracts Celebrity Chefs

Written by | Food, Wellness

Atlantic City recently took a bite of Big Apple street cuisine at a fair dubbed Savor the City as the farewell event of a festival celebrating food and the chefs who have become legends of their craft.

By Brandon Schultz

Celebrity chefs converged on Atlantic City over the weekend to showcase their talents in a New York-inspired street fair. The culmination of Savor Borgata – a weekend of culinary seminars and tasting menus hosted throughout the Borgata’s many restaurants – Savor the City featured the property’s star chefs alongside an array of food, wine, and beer vendors and a backdrop of live music, carnival games, and Times Square characters posing for selfies. Moments before the main event, a few of the best-known chefs in the country spoke about their tasting menus and their very disparate responses to street food.

Wolfgang Puck

One of Hollywood’s favorite chefs, Academy Awards caterer and famed owner of Spago Beverly Hills, Wolfgang Puck is no stranger to going big, even at a street fair.

Metrosource: What are you serving tonight?

Wolfgang Puck: It’s a taste of the city. And it’s a big city, so we’re doing three dishes. To represent the delis, we’re doing a waygu pastrami on rye. For Little Italy, pasta and shrimp. And for Chinatown, a crispy Peking duck. That’s my favorite one.

Metrosource: And what’s your favorite street food in New York?

WP: I don’t eat in the street. Never. At my age, I want to sit down, have a glass of wine and eat a good dish with my family. It’s not comfortable in the street. It isn’t for me, even if the food is good. Sitting down and having a conversation with your family and friends is more important than anything. I sit down with my family at least four times a week. Even if I’m working at the restaurant, I’ll sit down from 6:30-7:30 to eat with them. But it’s fun to come to Savor the City—instead of eating at one restaurant, you can have food from 12. And you can meet many people, talk to the chefs, and have lots of fun.

Iron Chef and always-dapper judge of Chopped, Geoffrey Zakarian lives a well-curated life with high standards that extend well beyond cooking.

Metrosource: What did you prepare for Savor the City?

Geoffrey Zakarian: We have the beef tartar over horseradish cream that I presented at a culinary demonstration earlier today.

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

Metrosource: That sounds a lot fancier than what we’d expect to find at a street fair! Do you eat street food?

GZ: No, I’m spoiled. I’m always eating in restaurants, and I have an aversion to waiting in line. I’ll never wait in line for anything. But I respect what they do. Some trucks have great food. My staff says Leo’s Taco Truck in LA is the best. But I haven’t tried it.

Iron chef and The Chew co-host Michael Symon has the second-highest likability rating on daytime television (behind Ellen DeGeneres) and is soon to open his newest restaurant at the Borgata. This weekend at a preview dinner of simple Italian comfort foods, he announced that the venue will be named for his mother Angeline.

Metrosource: Is your street fair dish another preview of what’s to come at Angeline?

Michael Symon: Yes! We have arancini with fresh mozzarella tonight. It’s all about great food, great service, and zero pretension.

Metrosource: Can you find all of that on the street in New York?

MS: There’s a good halal truck on 6th Ave and, maybe, 12th? It’s in front of a CVS and they do a really good job. A good falafel sandwich can make me very happy. I love it. The halal guys do a really good job.

Chef Michael Symon

Metrosource: You’re a familiar face in New York, but you’re new to the Atlantic City scene. What drew you here?

MS: When we met the people at the Borgata, it just felt right. Really good people; a nice team with people you want to be around who have the same ideas when it comes to hospitality. At this point in my career I’m not going to work with people I don’t like. That’s just a basic rule for me now. I really want to like the people I work with. All the people at the Borgata are people I want to be around.

(In addition to offering menus from these celebrated chefs, The Borgata is also home to Bobby Flay Steak and several other culinary properties. Angeline is expected to open in the spring of 2017.)

Last modified: June 22, 2017