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On Tuesday in Philadelphia, local empire builder and F&W Best New Chef 1999 Marc Vetri will welcome some of the country’s most exciting chefs to cook at the 8th annual Great Chefs Event at the Urban Outfitters Headquarters in the city’s Navy Yard. Among the 46 super talents at the grand tasting: Michael Symon, grill master Adam Perry Lang and New York’s April Bloomfield. Vetri founded the event to benefit the charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand after meeting the parents of its creator Alex Scott, a young cancer victim who in 2000, set up a lemonade stand to help raise money to cure other kids with the disease. What Vetri started as a small gathering has since grown to a yearly event that now welcomes 1,200 people and hopes to raise more than $1 million for the second year in a row.
An unintended, but brilliant consequence of Great Chefs has been the establishment of the event's co-beneficiary, Vetri Foundation for Children. Its signature program is called Eatiquette, which aims to improve school lunch by serving healthier food family-style. “The simple reason why our program is so amazing is that if you line up a whole bunch of kids and put apples there, who’s going to take one? But if they’re sitting around and talking and you place a big plate of sliced apples in the middle of the table, they’re all going to eat apples,” says Vetri. In the new school year, Eatiquette should expand from six charter schools into three to four more, including a Philadelphia public school. If you can’t make it down to Philly (though it’s worth trying to score tickets to the after party DJ’ed by Questlove), we suggest bidding on killer auction items now online like dinner with Tom Colicchio and his director wife Lori Silverbush at Vetri and a four-day trip to the Adriatic. The highlight of the live auction is an eating tour through Italy’s Marche region with Vetri himself.
Alex's Lemonade Stand is also hosting National Lemondade Days this weekend, a coast-to-coast fundraiser to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
This spring, New York City’s legendary seafood restaurant Le Bernardin stopped baking its own bread and began outsourcing the task to another legend, Maison Kayser, a famed Parisian bakery that opened its first American outpost on the Upper East Side last summer. “I thought the bread we had at Le Bernardin was fine but not at the level of the quality of the food,” explains Le Bernardin’s chef and co-owner Eric Ripert. Maison Kayser bakes and delivers 10 kinds of (still warm) bread to the restaurant three times a day. Among the offerings Ripert orders are mini and full-size baguettes, focaccia, and unusual offerings like rye-lemon loaves, basil-sesame rolls and turmeric-fennel rolls. “When I eat Maison Kayer’s bread it’s so good, it’s pleasure,” Ripert says. “Every roll has been made by hand. The quality of the flour that they use and the technology that they use to create their bread is very unique. Eric Kayser has invented what we call levain liquid: liquid sourdough starter.” Customers agree with the master French chef. “Since we’ve had the bread from Kayser, clients eat bread three times more than before,” Ripert says. “It’s great, but it’s expensive.” Here, Ripert chats with F&W about the evolution of bread in restaurants, the bread at Le Bernardin and his biggest butter pet peeve.»
Here’s why we love ink. chef Michael Voltaggio: Not just because he’s a brand-new F&W Best New Chef (yay, Michael!), but also for his good manners. On June 4, he plays the consummate host by welcoming chef David Nayfeld (at left) to his city with a six-course dinner that they’re cooking together at ink. READ MORE>
I’m obsessed with Toronto, which is why I’m thrilled to hear about the upcoming cookbook that Ivy Knight, the editor of the terrific site Swallow, is working on with one of Canada’s very best chefs, Jamie Kennedy. READ MORE>
“Mapo tofu and I have quite a history,” says Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien. “It’s the inspiration behind the whole MCF project.” I consider it the perfect dish; the only thing I’ve wished for is a supersonic cocktail to wash it down with. Lucky me: MCF in Manhattan now has a sparkling new liquor license and a team set on perfecting the most perfect version of Sex on the Beach.
Now there’s more great booze-and-tofu news: the exceptional bar PDT has just put the Mission Chinese Dog on their menu. It’s an all-beef hot dog covered with Bowien’s exhilarating, Szechuan peppercorn-packed tofu, plus onions, cilantro and American cheese sauce. The Mission Chinese Dog is spicy and messy and requires a knife and fork. And, of course, a cocktail. PDT’s Jim Meehan recommends the Alambic Fizz, a mix of Cognac, lemon juice, Landy's 5-Year-Old Bual Madeira and pimento bitters. It’s also got peach lambic. Peach schnapps is key to Sex on the Beach; I expect this drink is as close as I'll get to having the Spring Break staple at PDT.
The Players: Superchef Daniel Boulud and Momofuku’s Dave Chang. And Ben Leventhal (Eater.com’s co-founder and food-world rainmaker) who had the idea to bring downtown uptown, then got Boulud and Chang together. Along with Café Boulud chef Gavin Kaysen and a bunch of Momofuku staff who wanted to do something, but couldn’t because their downtown restaurants were closed.
The Location: The elite Café Boulud (a place where Chang was once a harried line cook).
The Complications: Chang was in Toronto during the Hurricane; his return flight was repeatedly cancelled. So the chef jumped in a rental car and drove back to NYC. Stories of speeding tickets and empty gas tanks can’t be confirmed or denied.
The Café Boulud & Momofuku Menu: scallop - chick-pea miso, tamari matsutake agnolotti - buckwheat, french toast veal sweetbreads - yuzu kosho, labne, asian pear foie gras - lychee, pine nut duck - wild rice, apple, brussels sprouts
To book seats at Eleven Madison Park's dinner in support of Governor restaurant on November 20th, call 212-995-0905.
And for more on Boulud and Chang, and another great photo of the two together, check out the Toronto story in the December issue of F&W (I happened to write it).
In the latest episode of Eric Ripert's new web series "On the Table" for Youtube’s Reserve Channel, the Le Bernardin chef and Top Chef vet Eric Ripert welcomes F&W's Gail Simmons for tequila Bloody Marys, fried eggs in Guinness cheese sauce and PG-13 chit chat about the real reasons Gail didn't become a ballerina. Plus: excerpts from Ripert's recent Facebook chat about foods obsessions and cooking barefoot in the Caribbean. More >
Despite the ocean of culinary wisdom floating around the F&W offices, I’m definitely guilty of not always fully reading recipes before creating a meal. Luckily, superstar chef Michael Mina has my back. He’s developed a new web video series called Cook Taste Eat, where he offer tips and tricks on how to prep a meal from start to finish. >>
| POSTED SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 AT 1:00PM EDT
It's not every day that Mario Batali hands out a Golden Pie Service Award. In fact, he'd never given one out before Sunday night, when he handed one to President Bill Clinton. Clinton was the star of an astonishing crowd that came out to support the Mario Batali Foundation, which works to keep kids well fed, well read and well cared for. Read more >
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