Food fight! Cookbook authors face off live on stage at Food Book Fair slam

Food fight! Cookbook authors face off live on stage at Food Book Fair slam
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A battle of words is cooking in Brooklyn.

On April 26, the annual Food Book Fair will turn a book reading into a heated competition with its first “Food Book Slam” — in which 10 cookbook authors will try to win over a live audience with the best on-stage readings of their own comestible-centric publications.

“It’s a legitimate competition, but it’s all in fun — hopefully,” said Kimberly Wetherell, who is co-organizing the event with David Gutowski, with whom she also runs the food-focused “Dish” reading series at Housing Works in Manhattan.

Each of the culinary authors will have five minutes to read the most succulent part of their book — which can be a juicy recipe, a poignant story about a dish, or even just reciting the blurb, explained Wetherell. The winner will be determined by the amount of applause their monologue receives from the audience.

One competitor said she is already pumped up for the foodie feud, which will take place at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg.

“I’m so excited to be doing something with other writers and food folks, with other books that I totally respect,” said Sarah Zorn, a former Brooklyn Paper scribe and author of “The Brooklyn Chef’s Table,” which explores the evolution of the Brooklyn food scene through the recipes of and stories from borough restaurants.

Other Brooklyn competitors include food photographer Noah Fecks, Food Network regular Ben Sargent, Rawia Bishara from Bay Ridge’s Tanoreen, and butcher Tom Mylan from the Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

Mylan said he is confident his book, “The Meat Hook Meat Book,” has the right ingredients to be a crowd pleaser.

“It’s a pretty diverse lot I’m competing against so I think everyone will have their advantages and disadvantages, but I’m pretty confident in my writing in the book,” he said. “It’s fun, conversational, and full of explicatives.”

Zorn said she plans on keeping things above the belt with her fellow Brooklynites.

“I make my career talking about amazing Brooklyn-based restaurants and food folks, so I have total respect for people like Tom Mylan and Rawia Bishara,” she said.

But the organizers are hoping the contestants will all put up a good fight. To encourage some healthy competition, they are encouraging the authors to win over the audience by almost any means necessary.

“Costumes, T-shirt cannons, playing with the audience — we’re telling the authors that everything is fair game,” said Wetherell. “They can really pull out all the stops and make it a lot of fun. After all, it’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning.”

“Food Book Slam” at the Wythe Hotel [80 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12 streets in Williamsburg, (718) 460–8000, www.foodbookfair.com]. April 26 at 10 am. $25.