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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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An Artist's Version of a Top Chef Challenge

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jane hotel

© Benoit Pailley
Chef Patric Criss with his watermelon and cantaloupe juice shots.

 

Last week, I had the chance to preview the New Museum’s fantastic new three-floor exhibit A Day Like Any Other from Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander. As if the “I Wish Your Wish” installation (click here for an interactive version) weren't cool enough, Neuenschwander dazzled our senses one step further by re-creating her performance art piece "Gastronomic Translations" at the Jane Hotel (this Wall Street Journal story likens it to a Top Chef challenge). For the piece's inception in 2003, Neuenschwander took a shopping list found in a supermarket in Frankfurt, Germany and mailed it to two chefs in São Paulo, Brazil; each then used the items on the list—from cashews and coffee to bananas and oranges—to create a meal, comprising varied dishes and influences. For our meal, Neuenschwander gave chefs Benedetto Bartolotta and Patric Chriss, of the catering company Indulge by Bene, the same challenge (and the same shopping list). Despite the absence of salt, the chefs created brilliantly delicious menus that were starkly different, e.g., Bartolotta created a banana-and-cashew tart with a coffee glaze, while Chriss made cashew-crusted banana skewers with an orange-reduction zabaglione.

Chefs

Marcus Samuelsson’s World Cup Eats

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Editor's Note: Marcus Samuelsson has been a very busy star chef. Earlier this month, he won Season 2 of Top Chef Masters; almost immediately afterward, he represented South Africa at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (yes, he brought a vuvuzela, the World Cup's noisy stadium horn). Because of his busy schedule, he couldn't actually be at the historic World Cup in South Africa. But the Ethiopian-born, soccer-obsessed chef is still carefully following the games and reporting on them for Food & Wine. Here's his first World Cup installment.

I am a huge soccer fan and have been intensely following the 2010 FIFA World Cup on the screen. It was especially exciting to watch this past weekend. During the Germany-England game, the passion among the players was palpable, and it was crazy to see the well-known England players go home at the end. As for U.S.-Ghana, the Americans played a good game and they should be proud, but still, it was great to see the Ghana team celebrate.

To feel like I’m right there at the games, I prepare delicious South African dishes like “bunny chow,” which is like a bread pocket stuffed with delicious curry. It’s perfect game-day food because you can eat it with your hands. I also discovered boerwors (traditional South African sausages) during one of my trips. Eating it makes me feel like I’m sitting in the stadium with a painted face, blowing my vuvuzela with all my might. Check back here soon for my sausage-patty recipe. Plus, find more of my recipes from the F&W archives here.

To hear more of my thoughts on this year’s World Cup and food, follow me on Twitter: @marcuscooks.

Aspen

Food & Wine Classic 2010: Top Three Highlights

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© Rory Tischler
Food & Wine Classic Chefs Go Direct to Aspen

How many highlights do I have from this year’s Classic? A million. They won’t all fit here. But there were a few brand-new experiences that I hope become key to all Classics.

Private Bombardier Jet to Aspen
All I’ll say is that if you want to make the flight to Aspen one of your highlights, this is how to do it. See if Tom Colicchio, Dave Chang, Morimoto, Jacques Pépin, Joe Bastianich, Drew Nieporent  and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi can come, too. And make sure you’re open to drinking some Dom Pérignon.

Jean-Louis Chave Tasting
The legendary Rhône winemaker came to Aspen for the first time. And he brought his 2000 Hermitage Blanc and 2004 Hermitage Rouge with him (plus several other outstanding vintages). It was so extraordinary that Best New Chef 2010 Jonathon Sawyer had to be there—even though his BNC dinner was just two hours away.

Mario Batali’s Best of Ligurian Cooking/Charity Demo

So, Mario’s demos are always the best. But this year, he closed it out with an unprecedented double fund-raising event. KitchenAid auctioned off Batali-signed mixers in part for their Cook for the Cure (which supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), and also for Batali’s newest cause: Help for Jose, which is raising money for his employee Jose Mendoza, who lost both his legs in a subway accident. (The good news: It’s not too late to send messages to Jose or to donate to the cause.)

Chefs

John Besh on His New TV Show

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John Besh

© Courtesy of American Express Video Presents Insider City Guides
Chef John Besh

A new food-TV show debuts tonight that I'm looking forward to watching. Last week, before John Besh took off for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I got to speak with the F&W Best New Chef 1999 about his new series, Inedible to Incredible, which premieres tonight on TLC. Besh modestly insists that the episodes are so good because they're not about him: They're about the people he teaches how to cook. "I walked away from each episode feeling like I’d made a difference," he says. Modeled on another TLC show, What Not To Wear, the new show features the former Marine and chef/owner of several of New Orleans's best restaurants staging interventions with flailing home cooks—and getting delicious results. In tonight's episode, he meets a woman who garnishes overcooked flank steak with Fig Newtons. Besh teaches her how to cook a steak to medium-rare, then shows her an easy fig glaze. "I’ve heard from her several times since," he said. "She's moved on to different steaks and glazes. Something clicked, and she got it."

Indedible to Incredible premieres tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on TLC.

Here, incredible John Besh recipes from the F&W archives.
http://www.foodandwine.com/bestnewchefs/john-besh 

Farms

Good Eats in the Berkshires

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red lion inn

© Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA.



My crazy wedding season (six this summer) officially kicked off this past weekend. Lucky for me, my friends have all chosen pretty awesome locations in which to get married. Wedding number one took me to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The wedding was at an adorable place called Santarella in Tyringham that looked like it should have been the hamlet where the hobbits live in Lord of the Rings. I managed to sneak in a marathon eating tour of the area between wedding festivities, and—contrary to a recent Huffington Post story—had some amazing meals. Here, a rundown:

I stayed at the historic, 18th-century Red Lion Inn on a corner of Main Street in Stockbridge. The inn feels like a tribute to Americana with its amazing art collection, Otis Birdcage elevator (which you can really ride on) and even a desk once used by Abraham Lincoln. The restaurant menu in the dining room is a tribute to the area’s local artisans and farmers, including Farm Girl Farm and Berkshire Brewing Company in Great Barrington; Hill Top Orchards in Richmond; and Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. in Old Chatham, NY. Chef Brian Alberg recently introduced separate sustainable menus featuring dishes like an irresistible broken-yolk breakfast sandwich with smoked bacon on thick, toasted Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread. His dinner menu offers some surprises like a roasted eggplant Bolognese that uses quinoa spaghetti and basil oil; and for dessert, a house-made version of my favorite Aussie sweet, Tim Tams.

In nearby Lenox, brunch at the laid-back, two-year-old Haven Cafe & Bakery is phenomenal. I took home the house-made granola and ginger-cardamom scones and stayed for the Eggs “Sardo”—poached eggs topped with sautéed artichoke hearts, spinach and dill hollandaise.

Around the block on Church Street, the Wit Gallery showcases an eclectic mix of art including photography, sculpture and mixed media and recently also started selling artisanal wines from small, family-owned producers like Eric Kent.

Just a few doors away is the barely year-old, 28-seat restaurant Nudel, where chef-owner Bjorn Somlo cooks remarkable seasonally driven food with local ingredients. My braised-Berkshire-pork sandwich with pickled vegetables and spicy sambal aioli had me plotting ways to skip the wedding dinner so I could come back to try his bone-marrow Bolognese or garganelli with ramps and almond pesto.

More tomorrow on my Great Barrington, Massachusetts, finds.

Aspen

LaFrieda and Springsteen at Mario Batali’s Aspen Party

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© Melanie Dunea

I have a countdown going to Mario Batali’s T-Bones & Tequila party on June 17 at the upcoming F&W Classic in Aspen 2010 (as I write this, it’s T-minus 10 days and 2 hours, counting the MT time change). I’m especially excited because Mario just told me more details about the party, which benefits the Mario Batali Foundation to keep kids well fed, well read and well cared for. Among the crazy highlights: Mario’s business partner Joe Bastianich performing Springsteen songs with Tom Colicchio. Hurry up June 17, hurry up.

Mario says: “We will be eating killer T-bones donated by my pal Pat LaFrieda, and we will have the traditional white beans al fiasco, killer bruschetta and nontraditional Milagro tequila shots. Joe will be playing with Tom Collicchio; they’ll play some of my fave jam-band songs à la “Sugaree” by the Dead and “Rosalita” by Springsteen. Cool, right?”

Cookbooks

NYC’s Frankies Spuntino at LA’s Animal Restaurant

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© Kate Krader
The two Franks.

“The Green Team will be in full effect when Frankies comes to Los Angeles,” says Vinny Dotolo, one half of the chef team at LA’s Animal restaurant. On the one hand, he was talking about June 30th, when Frankies Spuntino's Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo travel from Brooklyn to do an amazing one-night-only, pop-up restaurant at Animal with recipes from their outstanding new Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. (Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold has labeled the upcoming LA dinner the "dude-food summit.") Anyone who saw Kim Severson’s recent New York Times story, "Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture"—which happened to feature Dotolo, Falcinelli and Castronovo—will have a good idea of what else he might have been talking about.

Seats at the dinner, which seem to be selling out quickly, are $60 (which gets you a cookbook, too) at animalrestaurant.com. Wine pairings are $30 plus.

Menus

Omnivore’s Friendly Dinners

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George Mendes

© Jerry Errico
George Mendes will team up with Nuno Mendes for Omnivore NYC.



For two days the world’s most sensational chefs will be exchanging ideas, teaching master classes, and collaborating on spectacular dinners as part of the second annual New York Omnivore Food Festival. The event, run by the French culinary organization Omnivore, will be taking over the Invisible Dog, a factory-turned-art space in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. “Friendly Dinners”  are being hosted throughout the city, by dream team chef matchups like Paul Liebrandt of Corton and René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen. I’m most excited about tomorrow night’s dinner hosted by Aldea’s George Mendes and British phenom Nuno Mendes of London’s recently opened Viajante. Not only do they share a last name, but both chefs are of Portuguese heritage. Their four-course dinner will include Nuno Mendes's much-talked-about skate wing crusted with roasted yeast, mustard gnocchi and brioche. I hear a few tickets are left. Click here for details.

Cocktails

How to Support Gulf Coast Fishermen

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train

© Patrón Tequila
Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express


    
The St. Bernard Project, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that helped rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, is now helping the fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Their goal is to raise $75,000 to rebuild houses and provide mental health services for fishermen and their families. To raise funds, they’ve partnered with The Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express, a restored 1926 railway car that will be traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New Orleans and Los Angeles this month. Top chefs and mixologists from each city will host Patrón-spiked cocktail parties and dinners aboard the train.

Currently in Chicago, the train's next stop is Track 31 in Washington D.C.’s Union Station June 8th and 9th. Louisiana chefs like Brian Landry of Galatoire’s in New Orleans will be teaming up with DC-area stars like Jeff Tunks, Todd Thrasher, David Guas and Robert Wiedmaier to create Southern-inflected menus that will feature seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here for tickets and future dates.
 
 

Cocktails

Drinking Vodka Cocktails with the Dallas Cowboys

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© Kate Krader
Dallas Cowboys Kyle Kosier and Jason Witten dwarf chef Tim Love

I’ve seen a lot of cocktails recently. After all, F&W's outstanding and just-out Cocktails 2010 required a lot of tasting and testing. Still, my most recent highlight was co-hosting a party at the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas, to launch Belvedere's brand-newest vodka, Pink Grapefruit. How's this for a party, which featured cocktail pairings all the way through dinner?

The Food Texas rock star chef Tim Love making crazy-inspired dishes ranging from pillowy ricotta gnocchi with rattlesnake sausage to Kobe beef cap with crispy fried salsify.
The Cocktails Belvedere’s head mixologist Claire Smith paired all the food with genius, not-too-sweet drinks. That gnocchi, for instance, was served with Cerveza Preparada, a mix of orange vodka, blood orange juice and local micro-brewed wheat beer.
The Guests Local editors, chefs, mixologists. And the Dallas Cowboys! Well, two of them, namely adorable Pro Bowler Jason Witten (the best tight end in the NFC) and guard Kyle Kosier.
The After Party At the funky White Elephant Saloon, complete with shots of Tuaca from their very own Tuaca machine.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.