This year Taste of Tennis has grown into a feast, expanding from a one-night culinary party into a week of food experiences leading up to the U.S. Open, which starts today. Indeed, associations between food and tennis have evolved greatly since the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza was caught on camera, face smeared by an ice cream sundae, while eating at the National Tennis Center’s food court during the Grand Slam tournament.
The 15th annual Taste of Tennis gala was the signature offering, featuring small plates prepared by several top local chefs, musical entertainment along with appearances by elite tennis players and celebrities. Among the surrounding events was the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, held at the Midtown Tennis Club. The round-robin style mixed doubles tournament paired chefs and restaurateurs with local players. At another fete, Party with the Pros, guests enjoyed food, signature cocktails and live music, while they mingled with top names in tennis.
We spoke with Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS Sports Marketing, the event management company that organizes Taste of Tennis, about the strategy behind the new weeklong ‘food fusion’ program, while we sampled the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge event. Below are takeaways.