ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Pimping PIFA’s Savoir Faire


Laura_Westerman_Avatar.jpgBY LAURA WESTERMAN To rev up the press and bloggerati for Philadelphia Festival of the Arts (PIFA), which kicks off April 7 and runs through May 1, the Kimmel Center hosted a media reception last night to showcase some of the fashion and food purveyors that will play a role in the arts festival: Le Bec Fin, Fork, Parc, R2L and Wolfgang Puck. Whilst I stocked up on free champagne underneath the Kimmel Center’s beautiful glass dome, spoke to the PIFA organizers, witnessed a small fashion show and tasted delicious food samples – including Wolfgang Puck’s famous crêpes (the banana and dark chocolate topping is an exceptional combination), Parc’s Salmon Rillette, Lacroix’s Foie Gras and Le Bec Fin’s delicate pastries, all of which sent my taste buds into overdrive – the reception gave me a flavor of what the festival will be like as a whole.  Inspired by traditional Parisian delicacies, these Philadelphia-based restaurants (and many more) will be collaborating with 11 chefs from Paris and Lyon to bring a whole new dimension to European cuisine.  PIFA’s Opening Night Gala on April 7 will feature the famous Georges Perrier, a Lyon native and a transformer of French cuisine within Philadelphia, who will be awarded the Culinary Vision Award.  Wolfgang Puck Catering will also be bringing a Parisian-style seasonal buffet to the table (having just launched the company in Philadelphia) that will give a new meaning to the phrase “hors d’oeuvres”.  The likes of Melani Von Alexandria and Ralph Rucci will be headlining the fashion component of PIFA, which will also include dance and aerial shows, a speaker series, a street fair (April 30), various fine arts exhibitions, small gallery openings (April 15) and theater and music performances will complete this overwhelming selection of European artistry.  Not only will these Parisian-inspired delights dazzle the City of Brotherly Love, but a 90 ft. Eiffel Tower with no less than 10,000 light bulbs will be erected.  The French have long been an influence in America;  Benjamin Franklin Parkway was modeled after the Champs-Elysée after all.  If yesterday’s event is anything to go by, PIFA is sure to be a stimulating blend of French and American flare that will place Philadelphia high on the global cultural radar.

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