The beginning of the year is always a great time to kick off new foodie traditions or put into place some food-related resolutions. This year’s start of Restaurant Week coincides with two exciting culinary programs, one new and one a favorite, that are sure to please all ages.
Mehtaphor’s Global New Year: Chef Jehangir Mehta launches a unique concept this week at New York City’s Mehtaphor—the global New Year dinner series. Chef Mehta and his amazing culinary team will be creating menus influenced by New Year celebrations of various cultures worldwide. The series kicks off with a celebration of the “Year of the Dragon” with a Chinese-inspired New Year feast on Monday, January 23. The six-course wine-pairing menu is as eclectic as the dishes found in Mehta’s Graffiti and Mehtaphor restaurants, including cucumber ginger slaw with lychee granita, sesame scallion shrimp with chickpea bitter gould, a crab almond roll with chili reduction, garlic tomato pork dumplings, persimmon green chili duck with bok choi, and a chocolate steamed bun with red bean ice cream. In addition to providing detailed descriptions of each sweet and savory dish, Chef Mehta will share the pairing rationale for each of the evening’s six wines, which include selections from Italy, France, Austria and Spain. The prix-fixe menu is available for $75 per person. Seatings are from 5:30-11pm.
130 Duane Street; 212-542-9440; http://mehtaphornyc.com
Kids Food Festival: At this weekend’s Kids Food Festival at Citi Pond in Bryant Park, Chef Jehangir Mehta continues his mission to educate children about the role of nutrition in combatting obesity. Chef Mehta will be joining food personalities and chefs including Sam Talbot, Ben Pollinger and David Burke to present culinary demonstrations and offer healthy samples, a logical complement to his own educational cooking programs for kids, Candy Camp and Gastro-Kids After-School. The festival aims to educate parents and kids about the importance of making balanced food choices and will engage families through fun activities such as the “Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt” influenced by the USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov guidelines, a puppet show, and the “Silly Workout.” General admission is free from 10am-6pm on January 21 and 22, but tickets are required for cooking demos and other chef events. Festival partners are the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. To purchase tickets or for information, www.kidsfoodfestival.com. Bryant Park, Sixth Avenue, between 42nd and 41st streets.