The Pearl Street Whole Foods store hosted a marvelous tour and dinner last night for local food bloggers, moi included (thanks, Whole Foods, for a delicious, social, and informative evening!). The big news in the newly remodeled store (big festivities planned for this whole weekend, starting tomorrow) is their new Cooking Department, with Beth Pilar as Cooking Coach. I'm still getting my head around this fascinating concept, but the general idea is to encourage people to get back into the kitchen and cook with real ingredients. The department is centered in the bulk area, with an information kiosk based there. Undoubtedly the coolest new toys are the iPads scattered throughout the department, with which you can find recipes and email them to yourself, ask food questions, and the like. At the center of the online component is a partnership with Food52, a project of NYT's food guru Amanda Hesser (she was there last night!) to build food communities nationally. Fascinating concepts, so we'll see where they go.
A note about the remodeled bulk department. In addition to upgrades like heirloom beans and more gluten-less flours, a station of oil and vinegar dispensers is to be installed. I'd presume that means they intend to give Alfalfa's wonderful oil and vinegar station a run for its money. However it plays out, I treasure my bottle with the Alfalfa's logo, currently holding fantastic, organic Tuscan herb olive oil.
I was glad to have a chance to meet so many other local food bloggers yesterday (who knew there were so many of us?). Thanks again to Whole Foods and the many people they brought together to make a wonderful and informative evening.