© Philip Gross for the James Beard Foundation
Zac, Giada and Marcus cook together.
Of all the deluxe events at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival
, this was surely the most deluxe: Giada De Laurentiis
cooking with fashion designer Zac Posen
cooking with chef Marcus Samuelsson
dinner at the James Beard House
. If that sounds like the most unlikely team, it’s not really. Marcus’s wife, Gate Haile
is an Elite model who has known Zac for years, and Marcus has cooked with Zac at Zac’s house. And Zac apparently loves to cook (a kitchen, he said, is like a “super-speed atelier”). Indeed, he and Giada were in a groove on dessert: While she poached pears in a ginger-honey-and-cinnamon syrup, he made ginger ice cream. If you want more details (Marcus’s slow-cooked chicken, Zac’s crayfish bisque), people.com has them for you
© Philip Gross for the James Beard Foundation
Friday, 7:30 p.m. Bruni Unveiled The former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni told Eater cofounder Ben Leventhal why he gave Momofuku Ssäm Bar three stars (Momofuku founder David Chang’s name would come up roughly 500 times in each seminar over the weekend) and where he’d eat in a desert-island scenario with a choice between restaurants he gave his worst reviews to: Ago, Ninja or Harry Cipriani. (Bruni replied that he'd rather channel his inner Tom Hanks in Cast Away and fish with his hands.)
9 p.m. Burger Bash – Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, who had a tremendous get-out-the-vote campaign with cheerleaders and pins, won the judges' favorite award with the Obama Burger (a bacon–blue cheese number).
Midnight Daily Candy’s Midnight Music and Munchies – Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro gave free dancing lessons while PDT’s Jim Meehan served a drink that was so good I forgot the name of it (!), but it was dramatically garnished with slapped mint.
Saturday, 11 a.m. Fun and Fit in the City – In the green room at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Rachael Ray told the former Knicks guard Allan Houston about the days when she had to cook with no money. Then President Bill Clinton told a gym packed with families that he knew personally how hard it was to find healthy food choices in Harlem. “There are a lot of other options, and they all taste good,” he said. Later, panelists Ray, Houston and Dr. Mehmet Oz talked about the challenges of eating healthfully in the South. “I grew up in Kentucky, and we’d eat pork chops for breakfast,” said Houston. “Gravy is a beverage there,” replied Oz.
© michael locasano
Mario, Jimmy Buffett and Michael Kenneth Williams
The other night, Mario Batali
had a little party to raise a little money for the Mario Batali Foundation
, his charity that’s all about helping kids. While guests like Jimmy Buffett
went crazy for the roast pork with cardoon crema (there was also the option of veal, which was so good, Billy Crudup
asked for seconds, and The Wire's
super-cool Michael Kenneth Williams
took notes on Batali's cooking demo), others focused on the auction. The mack-daddy item? Four tickets to Tiger Jam
2010. (Passes to a Tiger Woods
golf clinic and an 18-hole outing! Tickets to the Tiger Jam concert! Massages at Mandalay Bay
!) That package went for $22,000, part of the $60,000 Batali raised that evening. More good news: Even though it’s too late to bid on Tiger Jam, there’s always time to donate to MBF
Chef Tim Love Gets Ready for Austin City Limits
Yesterday I detailed Texas star chef Tim Love's all-out burger grilling
for the rain-soaked fans at Austin City Limits Music Festival
. But that was just Love’s day job. At night, he cooked dinners for the headlining bands. Which means that on Friday night, after the Kings of Leon show
, Love was sitting at a table, eating family-style with KOL
(“who by the way, might be the coolest people I’ve met in a long time,” he says), as well as Eddie Vedder
(who told Love he’d changed Vedder’s perspective on food), Ben Harper
, Perry Farrell
and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
. What did Love make? Rabbit-rattlesnake sausage; venison and foie gras sliders with gooseberry chutney; crispy pig-ear salad; grilled Australian kobe long-bone rib eyes. “Those guys love meat. It was a meat fest." Okay, it wasn't all meat: Love had mushrooms flown in from Oregon, which he sautéed with a load of garlic. And it wasn’t all food: By the end of each night, when the party invariably wrapped up at the Four Seasons
, Love was ordering tequila shots by the dozen (you can ask, but he won't confirm who gets the tequila shot rock star award). “It was the most insane rock and roll experience I’ve ever had," says Love. "Times a hundred.” Hopefully that wasn't the tequila shot count.
Some major bands headlined the Austin City Limits Music Festival
this past weekend: Kings of Leon
, Dave Matthews
, Pearl Jam
, to name three of them. But during the day, there was another star: chef Tim Love
, owner of Lonesome Dove and two Love Shack burger joints
, all in Fort Worth, Texas. Each day of the three-day festival, Love cooked around 4,500 burgers, 1,500 hot dogs and 3,000 orders of freshly made potato chips at the Love Shack booth in the food court. Each day. “Saturday I was cooking burgers in the pouring rain; there was a sea of people out there chanting my name,” says Love. “It was nonstop from noon until 10 pm. Love burgers everywhere. It was like being a rock star.” Even better than that were some of the rock stars Love got to hang out with
at ACL. More on that tomorrow.
A dispatch from the fifth annual Vendy Awards
in New York City from Foodandwine.com
's Jen Salerno:
While UN dignitaries assembled in Manhattan this weekend, another group of international notables gathered at Flushing Meadows Park: NYC’s favorite street food vendors, who cooked, served and competed at the fifth annual Vendy Awards. It was a daylong tasting of the most accessibly delicious food the city has to offer, like jerk chicken from the Jamaican Dutchy
(51st St. and 7th Ave. in Manhattan), run by 29-year-old O’Neill Reid, and crispy, tender falafel from Palestinian Fares Zeidaies
(30th St. and Broadway in Astoria). It was like my fantasy of the perfect traveling fair. Biryani Cart
owner Meru Sikder won the Grey Poupon People’s Taste Award with his ethereally light kati rolls (pictured) (a reprisal of his ’08 triumph; 46th St. and 6th Ave. in Manhattan), but the judges gave the Vendy Cup to Pueblan husband-and-wife team Yolanda and Fernando Martinez, who serve killer tacos and huaraches from their Country Boys
truck at the Red Hook Ball Fields (Clinton St. and Bay St. in Brooklyn). My personal favorite, and winner of the dessert award, was Thomas DeGeest’s roving Wafels & Dinges
truck. I highly recommend the Brussels wafel with a simple dollop of whipped cream.
After the two frenetic nights of Le Fooding D’Amour—this weekend's event at P.S. 1 in Long Island City celebrating the “casual” cooking of some of the hippest chefs from Paris and NYC—several questions lingered.
*Who, WSJ.com wondered, could claim success for the event, the "free-spirited French" or “street-food savvy New Yorkers?” (Diplomatically, they didn’t make the call.)
*Who had the longest of the long lines? Unofficially, I’d say Friday night it was Yves Camdeborde of Paris’s Le Comptoir, who served Henry IV chicken stew; Saturday night, the Black Label burgers from NYC’s Minetta Tavern. Both restaurants are impossible to get into for different reasons, so it makes sense that both dishes would be impossible to get to as well.
*What was the best thing to eat? As they say, it was all good, but the most buzzed-about dish was probably the burnt eggplant that garnished beef tenderloin and roast peppers and onions from Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris’s Le Chateaubriand.
*What was the best thing to drink? With all respect to French wine god Michel Chapoutier and Champagne purveyor Veuve Cliquot, it was the Moscow Mule riff from Richard Boccato of the nearby Dutch Kills bar.
*Who brought the party? Sean Rembold of Brooklyn’s Diner (who made killer fried corn with scallop butter) said: "The French. Chefs like Inaki and Christophe Pelé get crazy!” Me, I’d give that prize to Daniel Boulud, who brought a belly dancer and iPod-charged soundtrack and got her to go dance with all the chefs. (Believe me, this is much more compelling if I ever get the photo of Daniel and the belly dancer to post here.)
How do you keep some of the world’s most innovative and crazy foodies entertained? As the kickoff dinner last night for Le Fooding D’Amour Paris-New York
revealed, you serve them incredible food cooked by the talented crew at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, like whole roasted German trout with green beans and guanciale
-and-crème-fraîche pizza. You pair the food with lots of Veuve Clicquot Champagne (seven cases were consumed!). And you set up a pétanque
court, enlist a singing accordion player and hire a seriously good balloon-animal-hat maker.
My table unanimously voted my hat, a unicorn-like crown, as the most outrageous creation of the night (though David Chang’s gold-and-black tower was a close runner-up). Unfortunately, when Daniel Boulud asked to try on my balloon hat, he popped it!
Click here for more party photos.
© Adam Schneider/ Courtesy of Veuve Clicquot
David Chang rocks a balloon hat at Vinegar Hill House.
The much-hyped two-night event Le Fooding D’Amour Paris-New York
officially starts tonight. But last night, members of Le Fooding—the irreverent French foodie group
—gathered at Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill House
for a kickoff dinner sponsored by Veuve Clicquot. Also in attendance: some of NYC’s best chefs and a mix of socialites, celebrities and food lovers like cookbook author Katie Lee
, jewelry designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine and Vena Cava designer Sophie Buhai. If last night’s event is any indication, a carnival-like 48 hours are ahead of us. Just check out the photo below (more explanation to come later today).