Talents Unite at PGH’s First Annual Three Day Blow
This summer, writers, editors, foodies and drinkers will gather for the first ever literary conference about Pittsburgh’s food scene, the Three Day Blow Festival.
From August 25-28, the festival features a fully stacked line up of boozy brunches, savory samplings and critical conversations. Named after Ernest Hemingway’s whiskey-themed short story, Three Day Blow Fest will bring forth a star-studded collection of writers, panelists and chefs from around the country.
Among the publications being represented at the festival are The New York Times, The Atlantic, GQ, Wall Street Journal, and Zagat – along with several of Pittsburgh’s own.
Meredith Meyer Grelli, co-owner of Wigle Whiskey Distillery in the Strip District, is the mastermind behind the festival. After attending a conference in New Orleans last year, she decided to bring the food writing discussion to Pittsburgh by building a festival that would reflect our regional scene.
“I started talking to folks in the food, drink, and writing community in Pittsburgh, and the response was just really universally enthusiastic, so we started compiling this organizing committee. We wanted a really diverse perspective – including community folks, academics, makers, nonprofits – who are all operating in different ways,” she shared with us recently.
These unique perspectives have allowed Grelli to organize an action-packed weekend of events. With Pittsburgh’s food and drink scene erupting in recent years, there are countless topics to dive into, and Three Day Blow has everything covered–from hidden gem restaurants to improving food accessibility.
One event Grelli is especially excited for is the Pierogie Pop-Up on Friday night. The event features local chefs’ different forms of stuffed dough dishes from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including pierogies, ravioli and dumplings.
Another highlight of the festival is an attempt to break through the “Top 10” list mentality that is dominating food writing.
A group of national writers will spend the day traveling around Pittsburgh to get a taste of our food identity, and report back to a panel of editors “what they think the Pittsburgh food and drink story really is.”
“It’s kind of like Shark Tank for journalists,” Grelli said.
A main focus of the convention is to spark a dialogue about Pittsburgh’s “food and drink story.”
“I think there are lots of interesting conversations we need to have around food access, food justice, food heritage, and reclaiming regional identities in food and drink; but I think, most broadly, it is about what our regional food and drink identity is, and what we want it to be.”
Find the full schedule of events and venues on the festival’s website, and check out the keynote speakers who will be in attendance:
Chef Michael Solomonov thrives when it comes to Israeli cuisine and turning food into art. Born in Israel, raised in Pittsburgh, and now living in Philadelphia, Solmonov owns several acclaimed restaurants and has won several culinary awards, including the 2011 James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic.” According to his Philly restaurant Zahav’s website, Solomonov can most often be found in the kitchen covered in flour and working the bread station.
Chef Bryant Terry is a renowned activist for healthy, just, and sustainable food systems. Not only is Terry the chef-in-residence at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, he creates programming that brings together food, farming, health, activism, art, culture, and the African Diaspora, itself. He is also winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award and author of four cookbooks.
Dave Wondrich is the conference’s authority on all things alcohol. After a brief music career and later earning his PhD in comparative literature, Wondrich ended up working in New York as Esquire’s Drinks Correspondent. In addition to writing for a number of other magazines-including Oprah, Real Simple, and Wine and Spirits-he has written five books exploring cocktails and their history.
With 100 people already registered and an expected turnout of more than 300 people, the Three Day Blow Festival is sure to bring a new flavor to Pittsburgh’s food identity. And it’s not just for writers – the organizers stressed that the festival is open to any foodie, techie, or maker who is interested, because everyone can relate to food and drink!
Tickets are now on sale for the full weekend’s festivities; and day-passes are also available for purchase.
Be sure to grab them by June 30 to lock down early bird prices ($225 for the weekend, $120 for a day) before they rise!