This Festival Features Iconic Foods From All 50 States
Food experts in Ohio have decided to take on an exciting project: determining which dishes best represent each of the 50 states. From August 11 to 12, the final 50 foods will be featured at what’s being called the Flavored Nation Food Festival, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Flavored Nation is billing itself as a “culinary tour of America”—an opportunity to experience the best, most popular dishes from Florida to Washington. You’ll be able to try chicken fried steak (Texas), marionberry pie (Oregon) and crab cakes (Maryland), along with all the other regional delicacies that will be on hand.
“For cooks and non-cooks alike, how we speak about food today is not how we talked about it 15 years ago. Food is reviewed, read about and watched on TV; and our social lives often revolve around eating,” Richard Gore, the event’s executive producer and former president of live events at the Food Network said in a statement. “However, in a nation of documented culinary diversity, most people’s personal food experience is still limited to local geography and some occasional travel…We want to fuel debate about local favorites and at the same time spur discovery people crave, providing access to other state and regional dishes that, for most, will be brand new.”
David Rosengarten (a James Beard award-winning food writer and a former Food Network host) and Jared Bobkin (a professional chef and former Hell’s Kitchen competitor) helped conduct the research that determined which regional dishes to serve at Flavored Nation.
Rosengarten said the process of picking just one item for each state proved tricky: States like California and New York are of course known for multiple dishes, while others, like Nebraska, didn’t seem to ring any culinary bells for him. In the end, he and his team ended up relying on input from social media and interviews with tourism boards to make their final selection.
There will, of course, be 50 food vendors present at the two-day event. For example, Dickie Brennan Jr. of New Orleans will serve his shrimp gumbo, while Grady Spears of the restaurant Horshoe Hill in Fort Worth, Texas will cook up chicken fried steak. And all the way from Alaska, chef Mandy Dixon will bring reindeer sausage to Flavored Nation.
Flavored Nation takes place on August 11 and 12 in Columbus, Ohio. You can purchase tickets here.
Update 7/5: A previous version of this article misspelled Richard Gore. The text has been updated.