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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Best New Chefs 2011 Party: The Recap


© 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.)


Food & Whine on The Fabulous Beekman Boys


© Planet Green
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are The Beekman Boys.

 If you ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at a Food & Wine photo shoot, here's your chance. Last summer, in the midst of a barn raising, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell of the "Fabulous Beekman Boys" reality show hosted a small party while an F&W photographer documented the event. The story will be in our August issue, but the episode about the shoot airs tonight on Planet Green at 10 pm ET (how meta). I haven’t seen the episode, titled Food & Whine, but I hear our shoot adds some drama to the day and that F&W’s Creative Director Stephen Scoble makes a cameo. Those without the Planet Green channel, like me, can download the episode on iTunes after it airs.


Tim Love’s Final Four Cook-Off Challenge


tim love

© Lonesome Dove
Chef Tim Love will be judging the NCAA Coach's Cook-Off.

I’m headed down to Houston this weekend for the Final Four. The main attraction is watching Kentucky, VCU, Butler and UConn battle it out for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title. But I'm just as excited about the Coaches’ Cook-Off in the LG Electronic Kitchen at Reliant Stadium where NCAA basketball coaches Jay Wright of Villanova, Steve Lavin of St. John’s University, Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina, and Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech will go head to head behind the stove. Star chef Tim Love, who’ll be opening his third Love Shack next week in his hometown of Denton, Texas, will be refereeing the competition. “I’ll be calling fouls and keeping score throughout,” says chef Love. “I’m thinking of challenging them to make grilled NY strip steaks and grilled artichokes with a mustard puree.” LG will make a donation in the names of the coaches to Coaches vs. Cancer.

Chef Love isn’t playing favorites for the cook-off, but says he’s cheering for Kentucky to take home the NCAA title.


A Preview of Eataly's Beer Garden


© Michael Endelman

New Food & Wine Features Editor Michael Endelman is so new to staff, that he doesn’t have a blog profile yet. But he wanted to share this update about an exciting new beer garden in NYC. Here it is:

One of the most exciting things about Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s gastronomic amusement park Eataly was the promise of La Birreria, a rooftop Italian-style beer garden with food by Batali and exclusive beers by a trio of cult beer giants—Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and the pioneers of Italy’s up-and-coming beer scene: Teo Musso of Birra Baladin in Turin, and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo in Rome.

But more than six months after Eataly opened, the project is still MIA. Not for long! The trio previewed the long-awaited Italo-pub this week with a tasting of their beers and some of the dishes Batali is prepping for the menu. Here are five reasons we’re counting the days until the May opening:

1.    Year-Round Drinking: The space was close to ready last fall, Calagione told us, but then Batali and Bastianich decided to “make a $2 million dollar bet on it,” by putting in a retractable roof, so there will be four-season eating and swilling. Bonus: There’s a great view of the Empire State Building from up there.
2.    Kegs Straight from the Old Country: Italy is producing some of the most interesting beer in the world, but it can be tough to find—especially on tap. (Even in Italy, it’s not so huge: “Maybe next year we will reach 0.2 percent of the market,” joked Birra del Borgo founder, Di Vincenzo.) Eataly will have a ton of Italian brews by the glass; probably three in casks and at least six in regular kegs (Dogfish’s beers will be mixed in as well). It’s a chance to taste ultra-rare stuff like the caramelly, creamy Super Baladin or Birra del Borgo’s grassy Genziana, brewed with a bitter herb usually used in making amaro instead of hops.
3.    Exclusive Brews: Meet NYC’s newest beer star—Brooks Carretta, a 28-year-old bearded Italian dude from Birra del Borgo who just moved to town to be Eataly’s in-house beermaker. He’ll be making beers on the roof, like a version of Dogfish Head’s 75-minute IPA infused with thyme. He’s so new in town that he wasn’t quite sure of the name of the Brooklyn street he lives on.
4.    Batali Does Bar Food: A quick run through the menu had some early standouts: tempura-style mushrooms, a mustardy potato salad peppered with crispy guanciale, and an evil-looking dark blood sausage humming with cinnamon. (It’s an especially nice match with Birra del Borgo’s 25 Dodici, a spiced winter ale.)
5.    They’ll Take Reservations: For parties of six or more, you can get your own picnic table. Thanks, Mario!


A Slice of Brooklyn in Berlin



© Jen Murphy
Full-moon water at Little Otik, Berlin.

On a recent trip to Berlin, Food & Wine's plugged-in European correspondent Gisela Williams took me and some of the crew from Tasting Table to one of her favorite new restaurants, Little Otik. The bearded servers, hipster crowd, craft cocktails and seriously awesome, locavore-minded cooking instantly transported me to Williamsburg. I later discovered that the owners, Kevin Avery and Jeffrey Sfire, are Manhattan transplants: Sfire is a DJ and Avery is a former chef at Williamsburg's beloved Diner and Greenpoint's now-closed Queen's Hideaway. When they moved to Berlin two years ago, they caused a buzz with once-a-month dinners for 10 at their Palisaden Supper Club. Last August, they opened Little Otik (named after the Czech surrealist film by Jan and Eva Svankmajerová) in the Kreuzberg neighborhood. Only open Wednesday to Saturday, here are five good reasons even Brooklynites would be happy to make the trip:

1) Little Otik works with a resident hunter who brings in wild game like venison, wild goat, rabbit and the boar Avery uses to make a fantastic ragù with eryngii mushrooms and polenta.

2) Vegetables carry equal weight on the menu, with mains like a chick pea, farro and rapini stew and nearly a half-dozen vegetarian sides like cauliflower with tahini and a killer pickle plate.

3) Avery is a dessert master. Alice Waters might weep over his prune-and-Armagnac ice cream topped with a hazelnut cookie.

4) Its self-published, quarterly fanzine is brilliant and hysterical, sharing Little Otik recipes as well as oddball humor, like food quotes from the '90s sitcom Roseanne.

5) The humor extends to the menu, which offers "full-moon water" (water bottled during the full moon).

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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.