A Super Week of Dining = February 10- The Connected Table LIVE

Predictions are restaurants will score well this week starting with Super Bowl Sunday February 7 and ending with Valentine’s Day February 14 with Chinese New Year (starts Feb. 8) and Mardi Gras (culminating Feb. 9) in between. A few statistics we found:

On Super Bowl Sunday Americans will consume
1.3 billion chicken wings
278 million avocados
325 million gallons of beer
11.2 million pounds of potato chips
and 31% will order takeout
Source: Time.com/money (2/6/2016)

Check out this Guacamole recipe from Avocados from Mexico
Check out this Guacamole recipe from Avocados from Mexico

Restaurant and retail spending for Chinese New Year exceeds Thanksgiving: Last year Americans spent around $60 billion during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. In contrast the week of Chinese New Year generated nearly $100 billion for Chinese shops and restaurants. Source: World Economic Forum (Nov. 2015)

Mardi Gras generates $850 million annually for the City of New Orleans. Source: New Orleans CVB

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday for dining out after Mother’s Day with one-quarter of Americans making reservations. 31% of adults favor restaurant gift cards as Valentine’s Day gifts.Source: National Restaurant Association (2/3/2013)

2016 is the Year of The Monkey

Wednesday, February 10, we’re celebrating Chinese New Year with two native New Yorkers, each fluent in Chinese cooking with his own signature style. First is Ed Shoenfeld (EatingwithEddie), a pioneering restaurateur with an encyclopedic mind when it comes to Chinese cooking. His current concepts include top rated Red Farm (2 locations) and Decoy.

Ed Schoenfeld, Restaurateur, Red Farm and Decoy, both in New York City
Ed Schoenfeld, Restaurateur, Red Farm and Decoy, both in New York City

Ed’s interest in food and cooking was nurtured by his Hungarian grandmother, broadened by his own studies, and honed by chef-emigres from China in the late 1960s. In the 1970s Ed was front in center in the movement to bring authentic regional Chinese dishes to the US. He began his restaurant career as the maitre’d in charge of the front of the house at Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, one of New York’s first Hunan restaurants and one that garnered four stars in its New York Times review.

Torched Salmon Cocktail by Red Farm Chef Joseph Ng

Over the years, Ed has created dozens of restaurants as an owner-operator and as a consultant. Among them are Chinatown Brasserie, Pig Heaven, Chop Suey Louie’s Litchi Lounge, and away from the Chinese culinary idiom, The Bear Cafe in Woodstock, NY; Cafe Marimba, City Cafe, and the eponymous Vince and Eddie’s in New York City. Of course, one of the best Chinese meals we ever had was cooked by Ed himself at his home. If he ever invites you to dinner…Accept!

Chef Chris Cheung

Next we speak with Chef Chris Cheung whose latest concept is East Wind Snack Shop in Brooklyn. Chris’s grandparents, came from Taishan, in Guangdong Province and settled in Chinatown where his mother worked as a seamstress, and Chris grew up surrounded by Cantonese food and culture. After graduating from New York Restaurant School, Chris worked at restaurants that included Nobu, Jean Georges and Celadon and later held Executive Chef positions at Ruby’s Foo’s and Monkey Bar. He traveled to Shanghai to cook and immerse himself in the local food culture, working with local farmers and fishermen.

Chef Chris Cheung’s Sweet Chili Ribs (photo: Leslie Brienza)

East Wind Snack Shop, based on traditional Chinese tea rooms and coffeehouses, is a far cry from the high end restaurants where Chris earned his chops and made a name for himself. Now you could say he’s earned his chopsticks with a casual, appealing concept featuring Chris’s handmade dumplings, bao buns, sweet chili ribs and other dishes that will appeal to both Brooklyn hipsters and the old guard.

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