A Sit Down with Rich Gore
We sat down with Rich Gore, the founder of Flavored Nation, to talk about the upcoming event.
How did Flavored Nation come about?
Three and a half year, I was hanging out with some friends and we had an hour long debate about who had the best pizza in New York City, and that’s when I realized there was something there. This happens everywhere. People in Chicago are debating about deep dish pizza. People in Pennsylvania are talking about cheesesteaks. Every state has the iconic foods they’re passionate about. We started looking into the iconic foods of the different states and had such a good time doing it, we thought that combining that idea with something like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in person would be a winner.
And how did you pick St. Louis for your debut location?
Why here? I looked at cities that had interesting food communities with great culinary scenes, but underrated.
I’m also fascinated by the concept of people traveling 5-7 hours by car, whether it’s for a Cardinals game or an event. You couldn’t pay me to spend more than an hour in my car—I’m a New Yorker! People come here from all over.
Tell us more about the event.
At Flavored Nation, the food is the celebrity chef. Having the opportunity to eat your way around the United States under one roof in one day IS the experience.
I wanted people who are the real deal, not just a big name. The people who are doing the best version of the local speciality. I went to Nashville and found this guy David Moore—this guy’s whole world is hot chicken. It blows your mind. He’s achieved pulling off the most amazing Nashville hot chicken. It’s the real deal.
What dishes are you most looking forward to?
I’ve never had chislic from South Dakota, which are deep fried cubes of meat served on skewers, so I’m looking forward to that.
Kai Cowell is doing plate lunch from Hawaii, but she’s roasting whole pigs wrapped in banana leaves on site. The Connecticut lobster roll, obviously. It’s like a buttery lobster from a restaurant on bread. This guy was a lobsterman! I can’t wait to meet him.
Reindeer sausage. I can’t wait to try it. The woman coming in from rural Alaska, Mandy Dixon, she’s amazing. She couldn’t talk to me the first time I called because she was out looking for whales. She worked for Thomas Keller! She left it to go back to Alaska.
Have you had any stand out meals in St. Louis?
Beyond Ted Drewes?
I had a lot of stand out meals here! I really liked Taste, and I really liked Evangeline’s. Don Bailey is great. That guy can cook!
Park Avenue Coffee had great gooey butter cake. I loved Lorenzo’s on The Hill. Salt + Smoke was another. That brisket…
Where do you see Flavored Nation in 5 years?
The idea is not just an event. We see it as a brand, targeted at everyone who enjoys eating.
A TV show, a super regional Comic-Con of food—we have a lot of ideas. We are proud to be starting this here, and we know it’s the Show Me State, so we know we have to bust our chops.
Flavored Nation takes place October 28th and 29th at The Dome at America's Center.
Tickets are $55, which provides you with 10 tastings, 6 hours of unlimited beer and wine (!), and entertainment.
For more details or to buy tickets, check out http://www.flavorednation.com