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September 25, 2009

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Culinary festival offers big bite of French food

ALEXANDRE Cammas hopes that the 2,000 New Yorkers who will attend his two-day culinary festival will find that French food is fun and edgy.

Le Fooding D'Amour Paris-New York arrives in New York just as the recession has forced some of the city's venerable, high-end French restaurants, including the 92-year-old Cafe des Artistes, to close its doors.

Cammas believes their demise reflects a global trend toward casual dining, even in France - arguably the birthplace of upscale cuisine.

"It's a representation of what's happening now," said the 38-year-old food writer who co-founded Le Fooding, a loose combination of the words food and feeling.

"The financial crisis accelerated the trend that began almost 10 years," he added.

In France, Le Fooding events are urban picnics where people sit on the ground and drink from paper cups, instead of at tables with starched linens and crystal glasses.

The United States debut of Le Fooding , which will raise funds to fight global hunger, takes place today and tomorrow at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in the borough of Queens, across the East River from Manhattan.

The US$60 tickets, which were sold on the Web by leading consumers to one Website to get a password to buy tickets on another site, are as much as six times cheaper than the glitzier food festivals.

"It's a celebration of eating, not the chefs," Cammas said.

But there will be no shortage of culinary star power. Top American chefs like David Chang and Wylie Dufresne will cook along side their Parisian counterparts such as Yves Camdeborde and William LeDeuil.

Cammas has also lined up DJs, mixologists, graphic designers, and even butchers.


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