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Festivals such as Coachella and San Francisco’s Outside Lands offer food lineups as exciting as the music, so it’s no surprise that culinary festivals are now looking beyond food to entice ticket sales. With a restaurant discovery platform like The Infatuation, known for its strong social media presence and huge millennial following — not to mention a $30 million investment from Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo — going beyond the norm is its driving force.
With EEEEEATSCON, the platform’s annual event named for its popular “eeeeeats” hashtag, The Infatuation CEO Chris Stang strives to create something beyond just another sip-and-stroll. Combining top names from the culinary world with innovators in music, entertainment and technology, this year’s event features Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina and writer-producer-actor Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek as keynote speakers.
“They are two of the most exciting young talents in Hollywood, and we know that our community loves them,” Stang tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And we love the unique role that food has played in each of their lives, like Awkwafina’s upbringing in Queens, where her family owned a Cantonese restaurant, and Dan’s role as host on The Great Canadian Baking Show. Ultimately, EEEEEATSCON is at its best when we have great restaurants involved and great personalities who care about food as much as we do. That’s what we’ve got this year.”
In addition to the keynotes — Awkwafina speaks on Saturday, May 18, and Levy on Sunday, May 19 — the two-day event features panel discussions with thought leaders such as Everytable founder Sam Polk; Olympia Auset, founder of LA-based SUPRMARKT, an organic grocery service for low-income communities; Rick Ross from Delicious Pizza and hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl; and Crystal Ortiz, founder of Twice New Foundation.
Restaurants are still the headliners, with top names from L.A. and beyond, from the Nancy Silverton-backed Triple Beam Pizza to a collaboration with Shake Shack and Ludovic Lefebvre’s Petit Trois, plus Freedman’s, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, SLAB from the h.wood Group, and London’s The Beefsteak, the festival’s first international vendor, among others.
EEEEEATSCON takes place in Santa Monica May 18-19.
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