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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Chefs

Breakfast with Pierre Gagnaire

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Gagnaire and F&W Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin at Asiate

Of course I was nervous before breakfast with Pierre Gagnaire. After all, he's one of the very best chefs in the world, who's known for deconstructing a dish so thoughtfully that it stretches out over five or eight courses. Gagnaire is in New York City for the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress (which is the reason why you'll see some of the world's other great chefs wandering around the city for the next three days, from Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck in England to Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea). Gagnaire has built a small restaurant empire, with outposts from Paris to London and Seoul. Good news for me: His next restaurant, Twist, will be his first in the U.S., at the soon-to-open Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. Over eggs benedict at Asiate, on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan, chef Gagnaire talked about his myriad influences, from the spontaneity of Jackson Pollock to an old man in Seoul practicing calligraphy to the French national soccer team. In fact, he talked about everything but food. He's the most zen chef I've ever met (and one of the best dressed; he knows exactly what Paul Smith blue shirt matches his eyes). I know I'll get to hear him talk about food at the StarChefs.com conference—including a Generational Discussion of Modern Cuisine—but for right now, I just want to think about him spending an afternoon at the Hopper collection at the Whitney Museum.

Recipes

Perfecting Pizza

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One sure sign the artisanal pizza movement is as strong as ever: F&W Best New Chef 2009 Nate Appleman has just signed on to launch a pizza joint with über-restaurateur Keith McNally in New York City. Here, 15 outstanding pizzas like a Fontina, prosciutto and caramelized onion pizza; a summer squash pizza with goat cheese and walnuts; and a salty-sweet roasted squid pizza with creamy aioli and crushed red pepper.

More Great Pizza Tips:
- Pizza primer from F&W's editor Grace Parisi, including how to preheat a pizza stone and how to work the dough
- Fantastic tips from 24 of the best sommeliers around the country, like an extravagant pairing for pizza

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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.