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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Farms

Chef's Pork-Off

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NYC Winner Chef Adam Kaye

© Chris Quinlan
NYC Winner Chef Adam Kaye


 

Cochon 555, the 10-city tour that celebrates farmers and heritage pig breeds, was back in NYC on March 21 for its second annual cooking competition. New York star chefs Marco Canora, Gavin Kaysen, Adam Kaye, Mark Ladner and Corwin Kave competed for the Prince of Pork title, and a chance to cook at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. I was lucky enough to be in the judges’ room, where the Brooklyn Brewery Local 2 and K Vintners Syrah were flowing—including a special magnum from K Vintners, one of only 200 that winemaker Charles Smith (F&W’s Winemaker of 2009) bottles by hand each year and usually keeps for himself. Adam Kaye of Blue Hill at Stone Barns was the winner—I could eat his famous face bacon (a crunchy, lacy disk made from pig cheeks) at every meal! But I had a lot of other favorites as well, like Marco Canora’s arancini stuffed with heart and kidney and confited leg with fennel salad, and Mark Ladner’s gigantic lasagna—20 layers of pasta, shoulder, sausage, testa, belly, liver and kidney topped with spicy tomatoes and cracklings.

Chef Marco Canora's Dishes

© Chris Quinlan
Chef Marco Canora's Dishes

Chef Bobby Hellen, one of my favorites from last year’s competition and a fellow judge this year, hosted a fantastic after-party at Resto. Not to be outdone by the swine crews, Hellen made Belgian waffles topped with pork whip (whipped cream infused with brining liquid) and cooked three whole lambs for the crowd. Next stop for the tour: Boston on March 28. Next stop for me: Weight Watchers.

Restaurants

UNICEF Tap Project

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This week isn’t just another thrilling week in NCAA March Madness: It’s also World Water Week and marks the return of the fourth annual UNICEF Tap Project, an initiative that invites customers at thousands of U.S. restaurants to donate $1 or more for the tap water they get for free.

“Participation in the UNICEF Tap Project is an easy way for restaurants to help save the lives of children around the world,” says Tom Colicchio, chef-owner of Craft restaurants—all of which are participating in the Tap Project. (As my colleague Kate Krader reported, he’s also a superhero activist in the effort to end childhood hunger.)

According to UNICEF, 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and waterborne illnesses are the second-highest cause of preventable childhood deaths. For every $1 donation, UNICEF can provide one child access to safe, clean water for 40 days.

For a list of restaurants in your city that are participating in the UNICEF Tap Project, visit http://www.tapproject.org/restaurants/.



Restaurants

How to Get a Discount at Fatty ’Cue

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Fatty 'Cue's disco pig.

As every blogger in NYC chronicled, Fatty ’Cue quietly opened for business last week in Brooklyn. (Its official launch date is Tuesday, March 23.) Gothamist and Eater have plenty of coverage of all Zak Pelaccio’s outstanding food: smoked blue crab soup with roasted mushrooms, coriander-cured bacon, red-curry-rubbed duck, the excellent cocktails (I’m going to shout out the Foreplay, made with smoky mezcal and smoked grapefruit). But what you have to see to believe is the extreme urban-grilling situation that Pelaccio and his co-chef Andrew Pressler and pit master Robbie Richter have established. The two Ole Hickory smokers are in the backyard, with a cool aerial view of the Williamsburg Bridge. “One of the 10 signs that you're at a good BBQ place is that you can smell it. Like from the bridge,” says Richter, who used to be a pit master at NYC's Hill Country and presumably knows his 10 signs. He also promised that when the weather gets warm and the backyard opens for outdoor seating, anyone who helps pull food out of the smoker will get a discount.

Recipes

Astrological Food and Wine

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What we love to eat and drink could be more linked to the stars than our stomachs, at least according to astrologist Shelley von Strunckel, who recently attended a tasting with the guys from WineChap for the F&W story A Stellar Zodiac Party. By reviewing restaurant wine lists in New York City, the U.K. and Hong Kong, WineChap’s main objective is to point wine drinkers toward the best bottles. To show off its irreverent side, WineChap holds wacky tastings, including "Drink Like Bond" and “Wines for Signs.” In honor of the beginning of the new zodiacal year tomorrow (linked to the Spring Equinox), here are recipes to please every sign.

Recipes

Springtime for Chefs

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© Con Poulos
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

Tomorrow is the first official day of spring and Tom Colicchio is all a-Twitter about ramps. “It’s spring in NY bring on the ramps,” he Tweeted yesterday. He’s not the only chef excited about spring ingredients: At a recent benefit event for C-CAP, Shaun Hergatt from SHO Shaun Hergatt told me that he can't wait to cook with spring peas and is planning to serve them with sous-vide lamb; Craig Koketsu of the seasonally-driven restaurant Park Avenue Spring is impatiently anticipating rhubarb.

Here are a few recipes for ramps, spring peas and rhubarb to help kick off the season. Plus, check out these 100+ recipes in F&W’s Guide to Fresh Spring Produce:

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
Spring Peas with Mint
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb (Pictured)

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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.