© Photo Courtesy of Talisker
Chef John Murcko
© Photo Courtesy of Restaurant Margaux
Chef Michael Hoffman
Top Chef's Kevin Gillespie
Thanks to Top Chef, Gillespie’s farm-to-table restaurant, Woodfire Grill, is often booked six weeks out. Gillespie’s next project: a barbecue joint just a few blocks away in an old auto repair shop. Due to open in November, the spot – which he says will be named with Atlanta in mind – will have no menu; he’ll roast two Berkshire hogs a day, rotate side dishes, and when the food’s gone, it’s gone.
Top Chef's Kevin Gillespie
As if his Mr. Nice Guy celebrity personality hadn’t already endeared him to the masses, Gillespie showed up with his knives, a big bag of pork cracklings and a sorghum-and-mustard-glazed pork shoulder that had already spent 16 hours cooking sous vide.
Gillespie was there to show me and 11 others some of his best recipes and kitchen tricks. He passed out recipes but made it clear that they were only to be used as guides. Instead, he had us listen to the sound of the Vita-Prep as it chopped its way through protein pockets while making tarragon mayonnaise for the poached chicken salad; he had us look at the way the custard for the warm banana pudding stood up on his finger.
Gillepsie firmly believes there’s no such thing as too much pork. Bacon grease and pork cracklings were in the cornbread. Country ham and smoked bacon were in the tomato-braised collards. Heck, there was even bacon in the mixed lettuce salad with pecan-raisin croutons and creamy cider dressing, which Gillespie called “a light lunch.”
Future guest teachers at Serenbe’s Southern Chefs Series include chef and cookbook author Nathalie Dupree (April 25–26); Atlanta’s JCT Kitchen chef Ford Fry (July date TBD); chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis (October 24–25); Hugh Acheson, chef of 5&10 in Athens, Georgia, in 2011; and return engagements TBD for chefs Linton Hopkins and Gillespie. $425 includes the Sunday/Monday workshop, meals with wine and overnight accommodations at Serenbe (770-463-2610 or serenbe.com).
© Alessandra Bulow
Tom Colicchio, Drew Nieporent, Daniel Boulud & Rick Smilow rocking out at D'Artagnan's 25th Anniversary Party.
Daguin was the master of ceremonies at the fête, enthusiastically organizing a Bobbing for Prunes in Armagnac contest and leading a synchronized Paquito el Chocolatero dance with about 100 of the mostly French-speaking guests, many wearing red and white clothing—the colors of D'Artagnan.
Looking a little bit like a made man in a well-cut black suit, a red silk tie and a matching pocket square, Bourdain was just one of the superstar chefs at the event, where tables were piled high with the company's fantastic terrines, pâtés and French kisses (foie-gras-stuffed prunes) and the passed hors d'oeuvres included seared foie gras and delicate quail legs.
Tom Colicchio broke out his guitar and was joined onstage by Daniel Boulud (wearing tight red pants—hot!), restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Rick Smilow, president of the Institute for Culinary Education. The group performed Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River.”
Over the past 25 years, Daguin has built a family of chefs and foodies who genuinely appreciate and love her and her company—a feeling that was palpable at the party.
"She's a mother to us all," said Bourdain.
© Joe DiStefano
Fatty 'Cue's smoked lamb sandwich.
No one throws a party like the team behind NYC’s awesome Fatty Crab restaurants. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Fatty Crab’s Upper West Side location, the Fatty crew threw a bash Wednesday night with a DJ spinning in the dining room and some killer cocktails and snacks from all of the Fatty restaurants (Fatty Crab UWS, Fatty Crab West Village, Cabrito), including a sneak preview of a few dishes from the soon-to-open Fatty ’Cue. Some ’Cue highlights:
The secret to the smoked brisket on Pullman bread from Chinatown's Dragon bakery was a sweet-and-spicy chile jam made with dried prawns, chiles, tamarind, palm sugar and smoked tomato.
The guanciale, served on a lemongrass salad, was house-cured with a curry powder that chef de cuisine Andrew Pressler brought back from his recent trip to Qatar.
A sandwich of smoked lamb breast was topped with a lemon-and-garlic emulsion. The lamb got its amazing flavor from a marinade that included cincalok (a Malaysian paste of fermented shrimp, salt and rice flour).
The ’Cue cocktail was a gorgeously complex mix of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, smoked pine, Tabasco, yuzu and Pernod. I found myself going back to the Hunter S., a mellow drink of Buffalo Trace bourbon, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Campari and orange.
© Rory Tischler
F&W Publisher Christina Grdovic Baltz & Chef Marcus Samuelsson at C-CAP 20th Anniversary Benefit
"I began my involvement with C-CAP 15 years ago because I felt a responsibility to kids who wouldn't otherwise know about the culinary field,” said Samuelsson. "They're the next generation of chefs, and it's so important for them to have exposure to the restaurant world."
C-CAP students helped prepare food for the event alongside more than 30 New York City chefs, including Alfred Portale (one of Samuelsson's mentors and tennis partners) and Jason Hall from Gotham Bar & Grill, who served an amazing cauliflower custard topped with sea urchin, trout roe and aged soy sauce, and F&W Best New Chef 2006 Christopher Lee from Aureole, who made the restaurant's signature sea scallop sandwich with seared foie gras, passion fruit and sugar snap peas.
© Amy Rosen
An Unsung Heroes dish at Blue Water Café.
The Unsung Heroes menu at Blue Water Café is chef Frank Pabst’s month-long initiative highlighting lesser-known coastal ingredients from responsibly managed fisheries. The special menu is usually offered in February, when some of the more popular species (wild salmon, halibut) aren't in season, though many of the Unsung dishes are available year round. I tried a beautiful jellyfish salad mounded on thinly sliced cucumber and grated daikon. A marinated herring dish includes the crunch of green apple and a fresh coriander crème fraîche. But I especially loved the flying squid and fennel “pasta” with a creamy red sea urchin sauce.
Bonus points: The restaurant is offering a free bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne to medal winners. So far Maelle Ricker, Women's Snowboard Cross (Gold), and Mike Robertson, Men's Snowboard Cross (Silver), have enjoyed the celebratory bubbles.
1095 Hamilton St.; 604-688-8078 or bluewatercafe.net.
© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.
Last night, star chef David Bouley turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.
Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.