Although Brooklyn Based is the media home of the UnFancy Food Show, we don’t exactly put on the event. Long before Annaliese was senior editor here at BB (well, a year before) she was organizing UFFS with her then boyfriend, now husband, Tom Mylan (pictured above with Marlow & Sons and Diner chef, Sean Rembold). See, this was back before the whole world was in love with artisan pickles, pork belly marmalade and handcrafted chocolates. They’d been working with and around small producers in Brooklyn, none of whom could afford the table fee at the annual Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center. Buyers from all the big specialty outlets from Dean & DeLuca to Whole Foods go to the show to stock their shelves with the new and exotic finds each year. Tickets aren’t cheap ($60) and booths for vendors aren’t either.
Their brilliant friend, Sasha Davies, came up with the idea of hosting the UnFancy Food Show at a bar, where they could buy beers for their favorite producers and have people from the neighborhood come taste their awesome wares without all the fuss. Annaliese and Tom hooked it up with the East River Bar and a tradition was born.
This year, the Fourth Annual UnFancy Food Show got a little fancier and moved to The Bell House.
People often ask where we get off calling paté, confit (don’t worry vegans, there are some special vendors just for you) and handmade chocolates UnFancy. It’s not the item, it’s the attitude. We don’t charge vendors table fees, we’re just out to have a good time and create an event where a bunch people all working at the same thing–small food businesses–can get together and say hello to each other and their fans. It started out with around nine food businesses; last year it was up to around 20, this year there were close to 50–the vast majority from Brooklyn. It’s kind of amazing to have charted the progress of a whole movement in a way. None of us would have ever guessed four years ago that so many different, weird, delicious companies could spring up in such a short time.
Stay tuned for the lineup of the Fifth Annual UnFancy Food Show, coming in June 2011.