The acclaimed Philadelphia-based chef Michael Solomonov, left, and Stephen Torres speak at a 2016 food conference Torres convened. 

It's a safe bet that at any conference in New Orleans, attendees have dinner on their minds. At Bill of Fare, a new conference debuting Sept. 25-28, dinner is actually the organizing principle.

The event aims to mine connections between cuisine, music, art and film, through discussions and collaborative dinners prepared by local chefs and others visiting from around the country and overseas.

The event’s founder, Stephen Torres, hopes it will also grow into a cultural exchange, where participants carry some of New Orleans home with them and leave behind a bit of their own influence here.

“This is the one true, definitive food culture in America, but international chefs don’t come here as much as they should; they don’t do events here,” Torres said. “This is about spreading the message of New Orleans, bringing more voices to the dialogue.”

Though Bill of Fare is new, it continues a conversation that Torres has been moderating for years between prominent chefs and rising culinary talent in different cities. Since relocating to New Orleans a few years ago and setting down some of his own roots (his son was born here), he shifted the venue and focus to his new home.

One key to the dinners is for chefs to use Louisiana ingredients. As part of the event, some will visit food producers around the state and hit the water on fishing trips.

Bill of Fare will be held in Kingsway Studio, 533 Esplanade Ave., a famed recording studio housed in a historic Marigny mansion. Throughout the week, its ticketed events begin with a discussion, followed by a meal.

For instance, the first event, on Sept. 25, begins with a discussion of food and music with members of the rock band Young the Giant, chef Donald Link and Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson. Dinner is from visiting chefs Svante Forstop, of Paris, and Jose Enrique, of Puerto Rico, and New Orleans chefs Mike Gulotta, of MoPho, and Adam Biderman, of the Company Burger. See the full schedule at

In addition to evening events, there’s a Thai lunch on Sept. 28 and a series of pop-ups at other venues around town. The Freret Street cocktail lounge Cure hosts a pop-up from the Los Angeles bar Harvard & Stone on Sept. 26 and the Melbourne, Australia, bar Black Pearl on Sept. 27, both after the downtown dinners (Black Pearl won “best international cocktail bar” this summer at the Tales of the Cocktail conference).

The downtown location of the Company Burger hosts a pop-up on Sept. 27, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with visiting chef Morgan McGlone, from Belles Hot Chicken, a string of fried chicken restaurants in Melbourne, Australia.

For schedules and tickets see

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.