It’s exactly 11 days (Yes, we’re counting!) until we attend the SoWe Food and Wine Festival. Last year’s event was one day in Scarsdale. This year, it has expanded to three days in three different Westchester cities. We reached out to Rich Baumer, who produces SoWe with his wife Stacey, to learn more about the inspiration behind the event and spoke to Emily Giove, SoWe Event Manager, to learn about more about her.
FP: As residents of Westchester, we’re excited for SoWe! How did the event come about?
RB: We (festival producers Rich and Stacey Baumer) produced a benefit concert/auction for a local family whose son had been hurt in an accident and raised money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation. There, we met the folks who run the Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce. After the event, the chamber approached us about taking over a small, one-time event they had held a year earlier called Taste of Scarsdale. We flew to Aspen, South Beach, and other large food & wine festivals to research what we wanted to create here in Westchester, and we came back with the idea for SoWe. After last year’s success (one-day event in Scarsdale with 7,000 attendees), we expanded to the current three-day format in White Plains, Mamaroneck, and Scarsdale.
FP: We’re happy to hear about SoWe’s continued growth!
We’re also excited to taste food and sip wine from some of Westchester’s best places. Name some of your favorite places to grab a bite or drink in the area.
EG: Developing SoWe’s new blog, where we’re featuring a different festival participant daily, has afforded me the opportunity to sample dozens of delicious Westchester eateries.
In doing so, definite stand-outs include Madison Kitchen in Larchmont, Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, Char in Greenwich, and 8 North Broadway in Nyack, but the list goes on and on! My favorite pizza in the area is from The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry–they’ll be at the festival as the Cookery’s “Dough Nation” pizza truck!
FP: We’ve read great things about each of the places you mentioned. We’ll have to check them out for ourselves!
We ask everyone this question: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂
EG: I have a considerable number of “guilty/foodie pleasures” that I indulge in far too often. Most involve cheese: pizza and mac n cheese are hands-down my favorites. I would eat pizza every single day if I could, and I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. Ice cream (from Longford’s) and gelato are others I can never have too much of.
FP: We’re all too familiar with everything you just mentioned!
When you’re not handling PR and social media for SoWE, what’s a day off like for you? What are some of your hobbies or interests?
EG: Days off from the food world are few and far between for me at this point! I’m also working in a part-time capacity for a couple of foodie start-ups and volunteering for Slice Out Hunger, an upcoming annual pizza festival in Manhattan that benefits the Food Bank of NYC.
While food has certainly become the most prominent passion of mine, I also love traveling when possible, playing tennis, and spending time outside. But firstly, I love to cook and read (usually about food).
FP: Rich and Emily, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! We’re looking forward to SoWe. Maybe we can share a bite… or two!