By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jack Sorock of Jack's Chedbred had been to Brooklyn Eats before which is why he knew that his recent diet stood no chance. That’s because the trade show is one of the hottest food shows, not only in Brooklyn, but around the country, featuring over 100 different local vendors peddling their delectable items to the public and the food industry.
“This is really the wrong time for a diet,” Sorock joked. “I think I'm going to put it on hold for a day or so. I was here last year and I've been dreaming about a few things I tried for a while and just had to come back.”
That wasn’t the only reason Sorock was back; Brooklyn Eats is a great place to meet buyers and to network with other local companies.
“I was here last year and it was probably a little too early for us back then,” Sorock said. “But I knew that we made a lot of good connections last year and we wanted to do more of that this year.”
Brooklyn Eats was established in 1997, but it previously focused on promoting restaurants. Last year it switched to become a food manufacturing trade show and opened to the public for the first time. It was such a huge success for vendors and foodies looking to try new stuff that the format was kept for this year.
“It is the one show that brings makers and buyers together for business while allowing the public to experience the foods and beverages that are on the forefront of Brooklyn’s food scene,” said Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
There is a good mix of companies that are just starting out, like Dona Chai, and older businesses including a few of Brooklyn’s staples, such as Villabate Alba from Bensonhurst and Gillies Coffee Company from Gowanus.
“We're a new company, we just launched in March, so we came to get our brand out there,” said Amy Rothstein, of Dona Chai. “It's great. It's been really good. We have met a few really excited potential customers and it's fun seeing other businesses. We've already made a few friends with the vendors.”
“We want to get ourselves out there more,” said Annmarie Gambino, from Villabate Alba. “We're in Bensonhurst and we are trying to branch out. Sometimes people tend to overlook Bensonhurst these days so we want to let the rest of the borough know who we are.”
The Chamber of Commerce announced a new program in conjunction with the event — a “Brooklyn Made” certification. The program is meant to promote locally manufactured goods that are actually produced in Brooklyn rather than other so-called “local” products that are actually created outside of the borough.
“It’s wonderful that Brooklyn has been recognized as such a leader in innovation and creativity,” said Denise Arbesu, the Chamber of Commerce board chair. “No doubt, the entire Brooklyn brand has become hot and desirable. The Brooklyn Made label is a great way for our consumers to identify products that are actually made here and for all of Brooklyn to be proud of what we are producing.”