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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Yes, Food Is the New Rock

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© Alexandra Penfold
For Zach Brooks, Food is the New Rock.

I should have known it was just a matter of time before Midtown Lunch hero Zach Brooks (who you might have seen as a Tastemaker in F&W November issue), got into the rock scene in Los Angeles. Having solved the problem of finding less-than-$10 lunches in Manhattan, and then L.A., he has now launched a one-month-old blog, FoodIsTheNewRock. The theme is self-explanatory: “So many people in the music industry have this new obsession with food,” says Brooks. “Bands are tweeting about what they eat, A&R guys are starting food blogs, and think about all the food writers, like Jonathan Gold, who started off doing music.”

© Gabriele Stabile
Chang Also Has Dylan on His Desert Island ipod.

What could make this awesome site even better? A podcast component, which will start next month. And a profile of Momofuku’s David Chang—who reveals that he has Pavement and the Pixies on his Desert Island iPod list.

News

Don't Eat This Soap

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B. Witching Bath Company was way ahead of the all-natural trend, using ingredients like ginger, rosemary and lemon zest in their products since 1969. Their latest offering, out this month, was inspired by culinary herb gardens: Spearmint Kitchen & Garden Soap. Its minty sweetness is strong but not overwhelming, and ingredients like exfoliating walnut husks and antibacterial tea-tree oil help heal the cuts and burns cooks often get. The soap is also sulfate- and paraben-free; you can find here.

Chefs

Frank Bruni on the Live-to-Be-125 Diet

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In his 2009 memoir, Bruni isn't concerned with the life-to-be 125 diet.

If you read Frank Bruni's outstanding New York Times Magazine profile of 87-year-old billionaire David Murdock, you know that Murdock plans to live to 125 by eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible: “He crams as many as twenty of them, including pulverized banana peels….into the smoothies he drinks two to three times a day,” Bruni writes. (And if you haven't read it, you really should.)

So, did interviewing Murdock change Bruni's own eating habits? Yes, it did. Bruni now keeps sweet potatoes and bananas on his kitchen counter (he hasn’t started eating the peels yet) and stashes blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in his fridge. He also drinks pitchers of iced green tea sweetened with pomegranate juice. “I’m not a green tea fan, but now I’m constantly at home making this iced tea — it’s all antioxidants all the time,” he says.

Bruni hasn't totally changed his diet, though. In the piece, he writes, “In restaurants Murdock will push the butter dish toward the server and say, ‘Take the death off the table.’” Bruni still loves the stuff: "I'd probably ask for more death." And then there's poultry and red meat, which are both on Murdock’s "Avoid" list. Says Bruni, “I approach everything with a little bit of skepticism. How many foods have gone from being good to being outlawed to being good again? That gives me the wiggle room I need to eat what I want. Besides, a porterhouse… that’s what’s important to me.”

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

F&W Exclusive: Michel Richard Opening in Caesars Las Vegas

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Michel Richard is Coming to Caesars Palace in Vegas.

It’s as if Michel Richard read my mind. I’m fine eating in Las Vegas during normal dining hours, but when it gets a little late (and doesn’t it always in Vegas), the options all start closing for the night. But now Michel Richard is opening Central 24/7 in the one-and-only Caesars Palace in the late summer of 2011. And when it opens, it will be open 24 hours a day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Richard will offer many signature items from his Central in Washington, DC, like his 72-hour short ribs, fried chicken, razor clam chowder and fresh oysters as well as that renowned burger, plus some new selections still to be announced that I'll definitely be tasting, no matter what time of day or night it is.

Chefs

Chefs Turned Shoe Designers

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mozo

© Donnie Miller
Chefs Chris Consentino, Marcus Samuelsson and Aarón Sánchez rock their new kicks.


I adore Mario Batali’s cooking, but still can’t bring myself to embrace Crocs. Finally, a more stylish line of shoes for the professional and home cook has launched. We gave a shout out to Mozo Chef Signature Shoes in Food & Wine’s March Trendspotting column. Last night, the chefs-turned-shoe-designers behind the new line were in NYC to give a sneak preview of their designs, which go on sale in May. The ever-so-stylish Marcus Samuelsson of NYC’s Red Rooster named his shoe the Uptown. The copper detailing around the eyelet is a nod to America's diner culture, while the image of the Brooklyn Bridge on the heel is a shout out to NYC. Aarón Sánchez of Centrico got a bit more edgy, recreating a Mexican sugar skull in red stitching on the top of his shoe. Chris Cosentino, who was slicing killer charcuterie that he flew in from his restaurant Boccalone in San Francisco, wins the award for most outrageous design. The top of his shoe (named the Fifth Quarter) resembles honeycomb tripe, and he designed a pig on the footbed that duplicates a tattoo on his arm of a 16th-century butchery diagram. Perhaps the biggest news of the night was that Mozo would donate $10,000 in the chefs’ honor to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.
 


Farms

TEDx Manhattan: Sustainable Food…and Forks

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© Jason Houston for TEDxManhattan
Chef Michel Nischan

This past Saturday marked the first-ever TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, a conference devoted to sustainable-food issues. The daylong series of 18-minute talks covered topics ranging from how farmers in Illinois are dealing with the environmental impact of industrial dairies to how organizations like the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are creating amazingly productive community gardens. Elizabeth Meltz, an exuberant former cook who oversees food safety and sustainability for Mario Batali's restaurant group, talked about the challenge of educating the staff about green practices: "We can barely get them not to throw out the silverware." Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, described the efforts of his nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, to make produce accessible and affordable in poor communities. Food & Wine proudly supports Wholesome Wave, and we're raising money now with these awesome Green Passes to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

News

New Heirloom Cacao

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© Katherine Page

American fruit importers Dan Pearson and Brian Horsley were scouting in the Amazon when, on some farms in a tucked-away corner of Peru's Maranón Canyon, they discovered cacao trees with canary-yellow pods. Even the local farmers were mystified about the identity of these strange-looking trees. So Pearson and Horsley sent some leaves to the USDA for testing and learned they'd made an extraordinary find: the Pure Nacional breed of cacao tree (left), thought to be extinct since the early 1900s. Pearson and Horsley have been experimenting with the pod's unique white beans (most cacao is purple) to create a distinctly mellow, nutty-floral chocolate. Recently, they were at New York's Institute for Culinary Education to launch Maranón Chocolate and chat about the discovery of the beans; the bars are now available online.

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.

Recipes

Mariah Carey Pregnancy Food

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A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops

© Kana Okada
A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops

Being pregnant with twins seems to have grounded singer Mariah Carey, who at one point reportedly ate a diet of only purple foods.

She’s giving in to her pregnancy cravings by cooking and eating comfort foods like “smothered pork chops, collard greens, red beans and rice and pecan pie with homemade whipped cream,” says her husband, Nick Cannon, in an interview with People magazine.

Check out more super-satisfying recipes in our Southern Comfort Food slideshow.

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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.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.