Schrager said his ideas come from his own food cravings. He loves BBQ food, and that’s how he got the idea to create the Perrier-Jouet BubbleQ event, an evening that pairs BBQ food with champagne. He said the idea for the Amstel Light Burger Bash came from sitting around with Food Network personality Rachel
Ray and discussing their favorite burgers from all around the country.
“I get to do everything that I would want to go to,”” Schrager said. “I think of things I love and ask my staff to make it happen.”
The SBWWF staff can attain to Schrager’s desire to never be satisfied.
“Lee is a visionary and a leader and has huge ideas and is always trying to outdo himself so it can be challenging to keep up with him,” said Jong, who is working on his eighth festival. “He’s the brain behind the festival and he surrounds himself by people who can fulfill his ideas. Working for Lee is a 24/7 job as he is always emailing from his blackberry. It’s not strange at all to wake up in the morning and find 10 emails from Lee sent at 3am. Sometimes I wonder if he ever sleeps.”
Schrager’s right hand man, Laplante said there is a feeling in the air when the boss is around.
“It's exciting, there are always things to learn from Lee,” Laplante said. “He's got an amazing ability to keep a plethora of considerations in his mind's eye at any given moment.”
Schrager said he has seen other festivals incorporate many of the ideas he started.
“I’m not offended when people copy me,” Schrager said. “I didn’t create the festival idea but I really made it fun and brought it to the masses.”