It’s Time for a Party: Introducing Foobooz La Fête

La Fête is the party Philly deserves, right when we need it most.

La Fête is the party Philly deserves, just when we need it most. / Illustration by Philly Mag

For a long time, Philly Cooks was our signature event of the year.

It was a huge, sprawling, messy affair — a thousand people all dressed to the nines, crammed inside a venue, lining up for food and booze from dozens of the best chefs and restaurants in the city. It was fun a lot of the time. A barely controlled disaster some of the time. An ENORMOUS lift for everyone involved. And absolutely, completely and totally worth it for those moments on the floor when you found yourself with a group of friends talking to Nick Elmi while holding a plate of food from the newest Solomonov restaurant and spotting Kiki Aranita or Joe Beddia walking across the floor.

But Philly Cooks also involved a lot of waiting in lines. A lot of little paper plates half-full of scallops or ceviche. A thousand headaches for the chefs. And this creeping, uncomfortable feeling that the only way to get the most out of the ticket price was to run as fast as possible from table to table to table, stuffing yourself with as many samples as you could hold.

And that was never what it was meant to be.

Which is why I am so happy to announce that Philly Cooks is no more. It’s over. Done. And while we may claim that it was COVID that finally put an end to it, really it was a choice. Philly Cooks had outgrown its charms, and we wanted to do something better. Something finer. Something cooler and much more personal.

What we came up with was Foobooz La Fête — our new and improved annual celebration of everything we love about food and drink in Philly. We’re bringing together a few of our friends from the industry and asking them what they think Philly tastes like right now. And then we’re asking them to cook something inspired by their thoughts for a few hundred of our readers over two nights on top of the hill at the Mann Music Center. After everything we’ve all gone through over the past two years — after all we’ve lost and everything we’ve sacrificed — we all deserve a big springtime party, don’t we? One night, under the stars, with food and friends and a drink in hand.

La Fete is going to be the fanciest picnic you can imagine — an outdoor, seated, family-style dinner held under tents and twinkle lights, with custom cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and mountains of food prepared by chefs like Omar Tate, Randy Rucker, Chutatip Suntaranon from Kalaya and the team from Middle Child. What’s more, we’re doing it twice — on May 9th and 10th. Two separate nights with two different line-ups so you can pick which vision of Philly’s flavors you prefer.

Yes, tickets will be limited. Yes, they may sell out. And I’ll have lots more information for you about La Fete (about the menus and the cocktails and the chefs who’ll be cooking each night) as we get closer to the actual event.

But for those of you who are cool with living on the edge — who love a deal and just want to make sure that you lock down those seats before they’re gone — I’ve got good news. You can get your Early Bird tickets for Foobooz La Fete starting today.

Starting right now, in fact.

We’ve got times, dates, a schedule of how the night(s) will go, some information on the chefs and answers to all your questions right here. All you have to do is click.

So what are you waiting for? La Fete is the party we all deserve right now.

And I really hope we’ll see you all there.