NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly 1,000 attendees kicked off the New York City Food + Wine Festival Thursday evening with meatballs, cocktails and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis.

The “Meatball Madness” competition in SoHo brought together 30 local chefs as they battled it out and served up their take on the Italian favorite. Chef Joey Campanaro of the West Village’s Little Owl, was named meatball master and took home the top honors.

No contestant or party-goer had to worry about going thirsty at the sold-out event. Darryl Robinson, host of the Cooking Channel’s “Drink Up,” stirred up cocktails.

Keeping with the Italian theme, he served the country’s iconic red spirit, Campari, in two forms: the classic Negroni, made with Campari, gin and sweet vermouth, and Negroni Sbagliato, where Prosecco is substituted for gin.

For more information on the New York City Food and Wine Festival, click here.

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