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By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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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.

Cocktails

Best New Chefs 2011 Party: The Recap

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© Sylvain Gaboury/FOOD & WINE
F&W's 2011 Best New Chefs with F&W's Dana Cowin and Chris Grdovic

We now have our official Best New Chefs, Class of 2011! Glasses up for Bowman Brown & Viet Pham (Forage, Salt Lake City); Jason Franey (Canlis, Seattle); Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Austin); Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Chicago); James Lewis (Bettola, Birmingham, AL); George Mendes (Aldea, New York City); Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta’s, New York City): Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco); Kevin Willmann (Farmhaus, St. Louis); and Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica, Los Angeles).

We had a little party at Bohemian National Hall to celebrate those chefs last night, with superstars like former Best New Chefs Wylie Dufresne, Andrew Carmellini and Laurent Gras and non–BNC stars like Aziz Ansari, Kyle MacLachlan and Andrew Zimmern in attendance. More former Best New Chefs, like Jonathan Benno and Rocco DiSpirito, cooked for the party while opera singers rapped for entertainment and later Geoffrey Zakarian's new place the National poured Moscow Mules for the after-party.

© kate krader
F&W Best New Chefs practice for the Irish Car Bomb drinking contest.

We’ve learned a lot about our Best New Chefs in the last few days. Here are some little-known facts about several of them. We won’t name names, but you’ll find answers to most (but definitely not all) of these who-did-what stories in our July Best New Chef issue.

*Which BNC almost drowned off an Australian beach, and had only one thought in his/her head: "I can’t believe the last thing I’ll have eaten is a mediocre falafel sandwich."

*Which BNC could start a side business designing fishing rods?

*Which BNC had an eye-opening culinary moment in “France” at Florida’s Epcot Center?

*Which BNC got his/her start at Benihana?

*Which BNC also worked as a home loan officer for Washington Mutual?

*Which BNC thought it would be a good idea to take the BNC after after-party to New York Dolls (a Manhattan strip club)?

*Which BNC blew away the competition in an Irish Car Bomb (beer with a shot in it) drinking contest at the after-after-party at Fitzpatricks? (For the record, I came in 9th out of 9. And found out later that the winner had a history of winning Club Med chugging contests.)

Restaurants

Caveman Bone Marrow at the Museum of Food and Drink Lunch

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© kate krader
Wylie Dufresne's Bone Marrow—just like in caveman times.

I can’t imagine a better way to raise money for the upcoming Museum of Food and Drink than with an amazing lunch at Del Posto in New York City. And that's just what Dave Arnold (Culinary Technology Director at the French Culinary Institute) and Patrick Martins (co-founder of Heritage Foods USA) did for MOFAD this weekend. Hopefully we’ll start walking through the doors of the museum in the next four or five years. In anticipation of that great day, some of the city’s best chefs and mixologists took part in the Get-the-Ball-Rolling Fundraiser. Each was assigned a different period in history or a food trend as their theme. Highlights:

Dave Chang: American Food 1491

Dish: It’s a Shame We Know More About Dinosaurs Than About What Native Americans Ate (Oysters, Acorns and Berries). Although almost no research exists on diets of that period in America, Chang found out that the Native Americans prized oysters—the bigger the better. And served supersized oysters, aged for over a year, with black “acorn bread” and berries.

Wylie Dufresne: Caveman Food

Dish: Bone Appetit (Potato, Bone Marrow, Scallops, Beets, Enoki Mushrooms). Because cavemen had no short supply of bone marrow, as well as root vegetables and shellfish, Dufresne cleverly filled roast potatoes with bone marrow, served them on roast ground scallops that looked like dirt and topped them with roasted enoki mushrooms that looked like twigs. He basically reimagined a bone found in the woods would look like to a caveman. “It was that or roadkill,” said Dufresne.

© kate krader
Mark Ladner's Ancient Rome Ostrich. No silverware required.

Mark Ladner
: Ancient Rome

Dish: Big Bird (Boiled Ostrich). Ladner, the host chef, got his hands on three whole ostrich (one of which he decorated with yellow ostrich feathers and wheeled out as a centerpiece to the meal; he said if he’d been in Rome circa 3 AD, he probably would have ridden it around the Coliseum before turning it into dinner). He stewed the other two until the meat was super tender , mixed it with celery and barley and served it on a round of bread with no silverware.

Christina Tosi: Space Food
Dish: Neapolitan Ice Cream (Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream). “When you think of space food, you think of astronaut ice cream,” said Tosi, who served meringue-like chocolate and strawberry nuggets with vanilla-cream ice cream and brownie batter spread on the plate.   

Recipes

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

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© Petrina Tinslay

With recipes inspired by some of her most memorable films, Food & Wine celebrates the amazing life of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor:

National Velvet (1944)
Twelve-year old jockey Velvet Brown’s namesake dessert: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (pictured). Bonus: her horse’s name was Pie.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Spicy recipes that could have been served by Maggie the Cat at Big Daddy’s revelatory birthday party in New Orleans, including Chicken and Smoked-Sausage Gumbo and Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon.

Cleopatra (1963)
Food fit for a queen: Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree and Okra in Tomato Sauce.

Chefs

It's Official: Lemon Meringue Pie Equals Spring

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© kate krader
Gramercy Tavern's Springtime Lemon Meringue Pie.

Spring officially started on Sunday, March 20. But for me it begins today, when Nancy Olson and her awesome pastry team at Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern introduce their lemon meringue pie to the menu. Of course it’s amazing—a towering piece of pie that’s roughly 50 percent sweet-tart-velvety lemon curd and 50 percent toasted, pillowy meringue with some extra percent flaky-crisp pastry.

The pie is the brainchild of GT pastry sous chef Alex Ray, whose grandmother made it for every holiday. Ray obsessed about everything from the meringue (she went classic, not Italian, which is made with boiling-hot sugar syrup) to the pastry (she went with sweet pastry, as opposed to more savory pâte brisée) to the burning question of whether to serve the pie with ice cream. And if so, what flavor. At press time, the answer was salted-cashew ice cream. “But that’s negotiable,” says Olson. “If someone wants vanilla, we can do that. This is Gramercy Tavern, it’s like Garanimals here. Mixing and matching is our game.”

Chefs

The People’s Best New Chef 2011: Jamie Bissonnette!

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Jamie Bissonnette is People's Choice Best New Chef!

It’s been a thrilling two weeks of online voting, and now we have a winner for the People’s Best New Chef. Hooray for Jamie Bissonnette, chef at Coppa in Boston! Bissonnette, with co-owner Ken Oringer, has created the kind of neighborhood restaurant we all wish we had down the block, albeit one that adds uni to the house-made spaghetti-and-smoked bacon carbonara.

This is also a good time to applaud regional winners like Midwest champion Lee Richardson, chef at Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. Richardson created a dedicated website—voteforcheflee.com—and got American Idol winner Kris Allen to campaign for him. (Next time he's on Idol, I'm voting for him.) And then there’s Ricardo Zarate of L.A.’s Mo-Chica restaurant, who won the Pacific region thanks in part to a huge showing of national pride from the Peruvian community. And Tim Byres at Smoke in Dallas, who threw a big get-out-the-vote party that helped make him the Southwest champion.

Here’s a list of the regional winners (another round of applause). We salute you, and we also salute all 100 chefs in the People’s Best New Chef pool—you can find them here. We admire you all.

The Regional Champions

New England – Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston
Mid-Atlantic – Kyle Bailey, Birch & Barley, Washington DC
New York Area – David Felton, Ninety Acres, Peapack-Gladstone, NJ
Southeast – Bryan Emperor, Kalu Asian Kitchen, Charlotte, NC
Gulf Coast – James Lewis, Bettola, Birmingham, AL
Midwest – Lee Richardson, Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel, Little Rock, AR
Southwest – Tim Byres, Smoke, Dallas
Great Lakes – Jose Salazar, The Palace, Cincinnati
Pacific – Ricardo Zarate, Mo-Chica, Los Angeles
Northwest – Jason Franey, Canlis, Seattle

Restaurants

SOBE Burger Bash: The Aftermath

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© South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Marc Murphy and his winning Big Marc burgers

Judging the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash isn’t easy. You have to taste a million burgers (or in this case, about 25), you have to choose among a lot of great options and you have to be prepared to have a serious stomachache afterwards. What almost never happens is that the winning burger is the last one you taste (you’re already way past burger overload). But at this year's Bash that’s exactly what happened to me and my fellow judges—including Art Smith and Alex Guarnaschelli—with Marc Murphy’s “Big Marc.”  His juicy, gorgeously charred burger was made with beef from Allen Brothers, topped with bread & butter pickles and spiked ketchup and served on a grilled house-made cheddar-and-black-pepper bun. Alongside, he served killer jalapeño-cheddar tater tots. “Never made the burger before,” says Murphy. “I was concerned with feeding 3,000 people and thought that by adding the cheese to the bun, I'd eliminate a step and feed everyone more quickly.”

Here’s good news for everyone who wants to taste the Big Marc. Murphy got so many requests for the burger after his win that he’s added it and the tater tots to the menu at his Landmarc and Ditch Plains restaurants. Yes, that includes the Ditch Plains that's opening on Manhattan’s Upper West Side tonight. It's a great opportunity to judge the Big Marc for yourself.

Restaurants

The People’s Best New Chef: Best Buttons

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The Vote for Tim Byres T-shirt.

The voting continues fast and furious for F&W's People’s Best New Chef. And the chefs' campaigning efforts have been outstanding. Take chef Tim Byres at Smoke in Dallas, who had T-shirts made for his giant "Vote for Tim Byres" party the other night.

I'm especially loving my new button collection: In Peoria, Illinois, chef Josh Adams of June gives out huge buttons with each check, while Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat in Chicago has a very succinct message on her buttons: "Goat the Vote."
 
So if you haven’t voted yet: Vote! You only have until March 1st. And then we’ll all learn the name of The People’s Best New Chef on March 2nd.

Restaurants

Truffled Scrambled Eggs at 40,000 Feet

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© Jordan Salcito
Daniel Boulud and Michel Troisgros Make Truffled Eggs at Altitude.

If you ever wonder how famous chefs deal with the limitations of airplane food, especially when they're recovering from an epic wine event, here's a firsthand account from my awesome wine-genius friend Jordan Salcito (whom you’ll read more about in F&W's April feature on Burgundy). Here’s Jordan:

Say you're a chef who has just cooked for the 10th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which honors the best domaines in Burgundy with both new and very old vintages (like 1940 La Tâche). And say you’re in a private plane on your way to La Paulée des Neiges in Aspen to (ski and) drink more wines. How do you re-energize? If you're Daniel Boulud, the featured chef for La Paulée de New York, and you're France's inimitable Michel Troisgros, you make 30-second scrambled eggs in the plane's microwave: custardy, truffled scrambled eggs with crème fraîche, plus toast with European butter and more black truffle. And then open another bottle of La Tâche.

Events

Yoga and Chocolate for Valentine's Day

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Rachel Welch's baked goodies.

© Rachel Welch
Rachel Welch's baked goodies.

 

Hooray! Yoga and food, two of the joys of my life, have finally met. In the forthcoming March issue, we report on how many yoga teachers are incorporating chocolate and wine into their classes, exploring the mind/body connection and finding deeper ways to tap into our senses. Two Valentine’s Day weekend yoga workshops in New York City are bringing sweet treats into the studio. (Full disclosure: I practice yoga with both of these teachers and work at Laughing Lotus.) On Saturday at the new Yogamaya studio, Rachel Welch, an incredible baker when not pretzel-twisted on the mat, will offer a restorative shiatsu massage workshop for couples or friends. The Japanese healing art opens the body’s energy channels. Afterwards, participants will be more receptive to the flavors in Welch’s expertly baked chocolate cupcakes. On Sunday, those looking for a physical and spiritual workout can check out Dana Flynn’s Cacao Flow workshop at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. Raw vegan truffles are incorporated into the flow sequence. For example, yogis eat a spicy cayenne truffle before they perform an invigorating sun salutation sequence, and the class will wind down with a raspberry-lavender truffle before Savasana, the final resting pose. Mind, meet body. I think you’ll like each other.

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