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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Events

Nationwide Sugar Rush for a Cause

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Great American Bake Sale


Bloggers around the country are turning off their computers and getting their hands floury this weekend to raise funds for Share Our Strength, a D.C.-based nonprofit that fights childhood hunger. The Great American Bake Sale, now in its ninth year, has raised over $6 million to date to support S.O.S.’s mission to make sure no child in America goes hungry. A huge network of fantastic bloggers are hosting bake sales, like the folks behind Peanut Butter and Julie in Nevada, Green Eats in Durham, NC, What’s for Dinner Mom? in Alaska and Rhubarb and Honey in St. Louis. You can find a bake sale near you on the Great American Bake Sale website.

Gadgets

Supersharp New Knives

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Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

© Justin Chapple
Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

 

I would hardly consider myself a knife connoisseur, but when I see a shiny new blade, I can’t help but want to take it for a test slice. When I learned that Bob Kramer, master bladesmith and knife designer, was partnering with Zwilling J.A. Henckels to create a top-of-the line series of chef knives made with straight carbon steel (a material that produces a hard, thin and ultimatelysupersharp blade), I had to experience it for myself.
 
I recently joined our fantastic editorial assistant Maggie Mariolis at a preview party. We watched in awe as Kramer cut through a two-inch-thick rope with one swipe and then proceeded to slice a tomato with sheer perfection. Perhaps the most fascinating portion of the demonstration was witnessing him seemingly destroy his knife’s edge by roughly scraping it across a honing steel—as I clenched my teeth in pain—and bringing it back to life with a few swift strokes on his sharpening stone. It was magic!
 
Prices range from $139.95 to $349.95. The knives will be available at Sur La Table next month and in the rest of the US market in September.

Chefs

The Vongerichtens Premier Kimchi Chronicles

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© Frappé Inc.
The Vongerichtens and Jackmans Cook Together.

If you've checked Eater or Grub Street recently, you've probably seen the preview clip of Kimchi Chronicles (featuring a Hugh Jackman cameo). But if you haven't seen it, and this is the first you're hearing of KC, here’s some background. Marja Vongerichten premieres her amazing new TV show this weekend, which follows her as she travels around Korea (she’s half Korean and was born there) with her husband, the illustrious chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You’ll see them in a big food market in Seoul, and in Sokcho, a port that’s very, very close to North Korea.

© Frappé Inc.
Bibimbop, one of Marja Vongerichten's favorite dishes.

You’ll also see them making bibimbop, the excellent stone pot rice dish made with meat, vegetables, you name it (Marja loves it as a way to use leftover side dishes). And you’ll also see them back at home in New York cooking with their good friends and upstairs neighbors Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra (they often have dinner parties together, but I’m not sure if they’re always group cooking like this).
 
Kimchi Chronicles premieres on Sunday, May 8 in NYC on WNET (channel 13) at 4 pm EST.

Restaurants

Inaki Aizpitarte and Christina Tosi Rock Pop-Up Beard Dinner

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© kate krader
Inaki Aizpitarte Helps Count Down the Beard Pop-Up Dinners.

Boy, is the James Beard Foundation on fire with their 27 days of pop-up dinners. Last week, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from LA’s Animal got me addicted to foie-gras biscuits. And last night, Iñaki Aizpitarte, the chef of Paris’s ultra-cool Le Chateaubriand, and Christina Tosi, with her exceptional team from NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar, stepped up and cooked. On the menu: Tosi’s chicken and lime soup dumplings and brilliant seven-minute rhubarb with black-pepper gravy (that was dessert; seven minutes is the length of time the rhubarb spent in the microwave after being cooked sous-vide with cherry puree).

© kate krader
Momofuku Milk Bar Team plus Dave Chang.

It helps to eat this kind of ingenious meal with two chefs who have cooked at Copenhagen's singular Noma: If you wonder out loud where the parmesan is that’s part of Inaki’s white asparagus with finger lime, mozzarella and sorrel, they’ll say, pretty much in unison: “Granita; parmesan granita.” Likewise they can identify all the mystery pickles on Iñaki’s lamb with burnt eggplant puree (for the record, apple, turnip and and squash).

Events

Edible Art in Brooklyn

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Former F&W intern extraordinaire Jessica Rivera files this report from a delicious art event in Brooklyn:

They say you are what you eat, and last Friday at the Something I Ate event, the attendees became artists. The melding of food and art is not always so intentional, but that was the point of the evening: To sniff, gaze at and even eat the temporary pieces at Rouge58 Gallery in Brooklyn.

Not all of it was edible, of course. Curators Kat Popiel of On Plate, Still Hungry and Sam Kim of SkimKim Foods included paintings, sculpture and a photography piece documenting what one artist ate for an entire week, a la Bill Rogen’s Digerati Food Journal. However, the gallery showpiece was a large table entitled “Don’t Talk to Me Before I Get My #$%! Coffee.” It was a communal potluck of the featured artists’ favorite foods, such as tamarind carnitas tacos and "faux gras" banh mi.

My favorite, though, was the Plexiglass installation of homemade lollipops spelling out #sweet—an ode to how Twitter has taken over the food world. Standing near the piece, licking a delicious salty-maple pop, several people asked me, "Can I really eat the art?"

Cocktails

How to Drink All 34 Cocktails at LuckyRice's Opening Night Cocktails

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© Richard Patterson
LuckyRice Opening Cocktails 2010

We’re in the midst of LuckyRice, the NYC festival that celebrates so many facets of Asian cooking, from a Night Market in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood tonight to the big gala dinner on Saturday night, La Fête Chinoise, with Daniel Boulud and Susur Lee. (Tickets for some events are still available.) The festival more or less kicked off last night with Opening Cocktails hosted by Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon at the Bowery Hotel. Among the 1,000-person crowd were chefs like WD-50’s Wylie Dufresne and Top Chef star Angelo Sosa, fashion dignitaries like Phillip Lim. And oh-so-many mixologists.

© kate krader
Adam Schuman Demonstrates the Correct Way to Do a Pickleback Shot.

Me, I didn’t try anywhere near the 34 cocktails on offer, but I can vouch for Má Pêche’s Ay Hue (a mix of fried shallot vodka, lime juice and Sriracha hot sauce). I can also speak from experience about Fatty Cue’s self-serve pickleback shots, a creation of bartender Adam Schuman that involves a big bottle of Evan Williams bourbon. But LuckyRice creator Danielle Chang has me beat. Not only did she sample all 34 cocktails, she made it to the LuckyRice after-party at Theatre Bar, where Dave Chang and Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris's Le Chateaubriand were pre-partying for their week of James Beard pop-up dinners.

Restaurants

Top Chefs Cook for Tibet

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© Sonam Zoksan
Host chef Eric Ripert, right, with Richard Gere and Laurent Manrique.

Where were so many of New York City’s top chefs last Thursday night? April Bloomfield, Dave Chang, Tom Colicchio, Mark Ladner and Anita Lo, among others, weren’t in their kitchens; were they en route to London to surprise Prince William and Kate Middleton? No, they had joined their friend Eric Ripert, the host chef, to cook at the Tibet Fund’s gala dinner at the Pierre Hotel to celebrate 30 years of great work for the people of Tibet. And those chefs were cooking fantastic food right at the long dinner tables. I got to sit at Bloomfield’s table—close enough that she could hand me my sublime three-bean soup with spring vegetables (you’ll soon see it on the menu at The Breslin). If I’d sat at Ladner’s table, he would have handed me hen-and-egg braciole (and asked, “Which came first...?”); and if I’d sat at Chang’s table I would have had Momofuku’s shiitake buns.

© kate krader
Here's How Close I was to April Bloomfield (with her plaque from Tibet Fund).

I already felt lucky to be eating Bloomfield's just-served soup. Then one of the night’s honorees, Richard Gere, told a story about a Tibetan meal he once had that started with a two-hour prayer (he said he stopped being hungry after the first 20 minutes). I asked Ripert, who is a Buddhist, if it would be hard for him to have two-hour prayers before meals. “Maybe,” he said, laughing.

Restaurants

Highlights of Animal’s James Beard Pop-Up

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© Nigel Parry

Kudos to the James Beard Foundation. They’re doing such a great job of using the about-to-be-played-out concept of pop-up restaurants to promote their big gala awards on May 9. Last week, they featured F&W Best New Chef 2002 Laurent Gras; next week comes Paris rock-star chef Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand. And last night I got to see Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the heroes of L.A.'s Animal restaurant, serve dinner at long communal tables in a pretty room in Chelsea Market (home to all the Beard pop-ups).

© kate krader
Animal's crazy foie gras biscuit at their Beard pop-up dinner.

Chef Tom Colicchio was in the kitchen and comedian Aziz Ansari was in the house for the night. Shook and Dotolo's menu ranged from yellowtail sashimi with garlic mojo and sunchoke chips (on the menu at their new fish spot, Son of a Gun) and an outrageous foie gras biscuit with maple sausage gravy, plus a new Animal dish, Thai BBQ quail with cashews and yogurt. (On Friday night, when they team up with another amazing chef team, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronova of Frankies Spuntino, the menu will be totally different.)

Speaking of pop-ups, if you’re lucky you can see Ansari doing impromptu sketches at comedy clubs around the city. And get an early look at his upcoming summer movie 30 Minutes or Less; trailers will start running in theatres this weekend.

Menus

Eleven Madison Park Geeks Out on Beer

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I always feel a bit sheepish when I tell the sommelier at a high-end restaurant that I’d prefer beer to wine. Luckily, the brilliant team at NYC’s Eleven Madison Park is determined to elevate beer’s status in the fine dining scene. My beer expert friend, writer Christian DeBenedetti, recently directed me to some news he’d read on Brooklyn Brewery’s blog about its beer collaboration with Eleven Madison Park.

The news prompted me to call Eleven Madison Park general manager Will Guidara to get the scoop. “The role of beer in fine dining needs to change,” says Guidara. “Restaurants of our caliber always focus on wine but we’re also intensely focused on cocktails, coffee, tea and right now we’re amidst a full-on beer onslaught.” Kirk Kelewae, Eleven Madison Park’s resident beer expert, along with chef Daniel Humm and Brooklyn Brewery's Garret Oliver, are creating two barrel-aged, bottle-conditioned large-format beers. Nine Pin Brown Ale is named after the game played in the story “Rip Van Winkle” (both beers will be aged in Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon barrels). Local 11 will be a barrel-aged version of Brooklyn Brewery’s popular Local 2. The designer Milton Glaser will create the labels. Guidara says the beer will be exclusive to Eleven Madison Park, with maybe a few cases going to other friends in the industry.

Both beers will make their debut at a special Eleven Madison Park beer dinner June 26, which will also feature other unique beers that Oliver has been experimenting with, like a beer aged on lees from Riesling. “We sold half the tickets within an hour of announcing the event,” says Guidara. Only about 20 tickets are left. Email beer@elevenmadisonpark.com for a seat.

Events

Fresh From the Oven: Food as Performance Art

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Amara Tabor-Smith in "Our Daily Bread."

© Ana Teresa Fernandez
Amara Tabor-Smith in "Our Daily Bread."

Talking about art may be like dancing about architecture (or so David Bowie might have said), but there's no metaphor yet for dancing about food. San Francisco might need to invent one: From a city obsessed with art and food comes a new performance piece by choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith called “Our Daily Bread.” The Oakland, California–based choreographer is the current artist-in-residence at CounterPULSE, an awesome nonprofit performance space and community center. Her piece combines dance, spoken word and video to examine food traditions and social justice issues as they’re played out on the farm and at the table, and the choreography overflows with emotion and personal experience, such as her recent decision to renounce seafood (and thus her favorite dish, her mother’s seafood gumbo) out of concern for commercial overfishing. Tabor-Smith hosted a number of potluck “eat-ins" leading up to the performance, with guests like chef Bryant Terry and writer/urban farmer Novella Carpenter. “Our Daily Bread” debuted last night and runs through April 24. Tickets are available at counterpulse.org.

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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.