Menu

userImg showBgrSwitcher

Background by

userImg

Thanks!

Menu

The Great Googa Mooga spreads out for gourmet picnic in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

Superfly, the organizers behind Bonnaroo, decided to test the idea that chefs are the new rock stars by launching a full-scale food festival in the middle of Brooklyn’s beautiful Prospect Park. With 75 food vendors set up to serve single item and signature dishes, and 65 brewers and wine makers on hand to help wash them down, The Great Googa Mooga was ambitious to say the least.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

The Great Googa Mooga was well advertised in subway stations around the city and had plenty of star power to draw the nation’s biggest concentration of food snobs out for a weekend in the park on May 19 and 20. Admission was supposed to be limited to press, early email RSVP-ers and those willing to shell out $250 for the VIP Extra Mooga section. But with Saturday’s gorgeous weather serving as a beacon, it seemed like everyone in New York City was on the same schedule with one destination in mind, creating a perfect storm of impossibly long lines and vendors scrambling to keep up in an area of the park with very little shade and no cell service. (I guess all those angry Tweeters saved furious drafts to post as soon as they found a few bars of service again.) But Sunday turned out to be much more manageable and the festival seemed to learn from its opening day mistakes to make a nice recovery.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

Vendors from some of New York’s most popular eateries like Blue Ribbon (with their famous fried chicken), Frankie’s 457 Spuntino, Roberta’s, Vinegar Hill House and Luke’s Lobster hosted booths with lines that weren’t much shorter than a table request at one of their restaurants. Other items on offer ranged from upgraded concession stand classics like Calexico’s roasted corn nachos to Do or Dine’s ridiculous $11 foie gras doughnut. Site-specific installations, like the ominous Hammageddon, became favorite meeting spots and scarred more than one Park Slope toddler for life with its from-the-depths-of-hell fire-farting routine.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

There was plenty of beer on hand with some of the area’s local breweries putting their best pint forward. The wine tent provided salvation for those seeking shade but could just as quickly become your downfall with a wide variety of tasting options readily available and priced as low as $2. Because long lines prohibited immediate access, festival organizers encouraged guests to bring their own water to stay hydrated.

MINI Space readers should be well acquainted with Brooklyn’s badass butchers from The Meat Hook who were serving cole slaw and sauerkraut dogs as well as their infamous Long Dong Bud sausages. The guys also held impromptu contests to win an entire pig’s head and gave a demo on how to break down a whole steer. Mad scientist Dave Arnold was also on hand giving a live demo on constructing his Molecular Cocktails which are now available at the Booker and Dax bar inside the Momofuku Ssam.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

There was no shortage of culinary star power at Googa Mooga where familiar faces like Tom Collichio and Marcus Samuelsson spoke at the Pagoda Stage as well as hosting booths from their world famous restaurants. Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s now legendary No Reservations, curated his own section of the event and spoke both days presumably on his favorite subjects – pork, tubed meat and himself.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

The unlikely trio of Aziz Ansari, David Chang and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, whose GQ profile written by Brett Martin chronicling their food and drinking adventures in Japan recently won a James Beard media award, were on hand for a panel hosted by renowned food writer Ruth Reichl.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

The crowd was a typical mix of Brooklyn’s foodies with cut off skinny jeans competing for space with cargo shorts. Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa and former Bachelorette turned NBC’s 1st Look host Ali Fedotowsky were just two recognizable faces we spotted.

Music at Googa Mooga covered a broad spectrum including novelties like Lez Zeppelin and Peelander Z as well as festival mainstays like The Roots, Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaries and everyone’s favorite yacht rockers Hall & Oates who closed out the event.

Outspoken chef Eddie Huang not only helped organize the festival and speak on panels but could also be found manning the Baohaus booth himself or wandering around the crowd rocking the only restaurant-related gear that quotes Mobb Deep and got its own post on Hypebeast.

Never one to mince words, Huang wrote a first-hand account of the festival from the vendor’s perspective for The Observer that does a good job of capturing their uphill battle and eventual victory.

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

In a bold move, festival organizers decided to offer refunds to those that weren’t satisfied with their Extra Mooga experience. A gesture like that can go a long way towards calming angry Yelp commenters and building good will for the festival’s future, which they seem very confident will continue. Gourmet food and drinks in a pristine setting with some good music in the background is always going to be a winning combination so here’s hoping they work out some of the kinks in time for next year.

Related Links:

The Great Googa Mooga Festival
Bonnaroo
Culinary Chemist Dave Arnold
Dave Arnold: The Man Behind the Magic
Brooklyn's Meat Hook

Share

facebook
googlePlus
pinterest
stumbleUpon
E-Mail
seperate multiple email addresses with a comma

Comments

The MINI International Vol. 42

Extra Miler: Wuthering Heights

October 02, 2014
The MINI International Vol. 42 Extra Miler: Wuthering Heights

Two Sicilian mountain bikers take us on a road trip to Mount Etna. While their MINI Cooper Paceman is their vehicle of choice for the city of Catania, the volcano's lunar-like landscape is the perfect terrain for not only their mountain bikes but also the MINI Cooper Countryman.

The MINI International Vol. 42

MINI Me: Go Your Own Way

October 02, 2014
The MINI International Vol. 42 MINI Me: Go Your Own Way

Meet the owners of four creatively customised MINI models - powered by personality as much as by petrol.

Top of the Chops: One Somerset Tinkerer's Pride and Joy

October 17, 2014
Top of the Chops: One Somerset Tinkerer's Pride and Joy

Andy Knight's classic Mini with original wood effect is attracting everyone's attention. Discover this Somerset tinkerer's unique pride and joy.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Behind the Scenes of the Future of Mobility

October 07, 2014
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Behind the Scenes of the Future of Mobility

As the designers prepared for the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers Exhibition, step into their studios and watch them working at the frontier of design, technology and innovation in mobility.

MINI Space Mixtape: Tracks for a Leisurely Late Summer

September 29, 2014
MINI Space Mixtape: Tracks for a Leisurely Late Summer

Sit back and watch the sun sink below the horizon with these six tracks to herald the arrival of autumn.

MINI Space Mixtape: Tune Up Your Commute

October 29, 2014
MINI Space Mixtape: Tune Up Your Commute

As the temperature dips and winter makes its advance down the northern hemisphere, keep the energy levels high with these seven tracks and jump-start your autumn commutes.