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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Power Eating in NYC: Matt Lightner


© Nigel Parry
Matt Lightner Celebrated His Eater Award by Eating. A lot.

I’m always proud of F&W’s Best New Chefs. And I’m especially proud of them when they come to New York City to pick up their Eater Awards and spend a day eating around like they’re gearing up for a Biggest Loser audition. Take Matt Lightner, F&W Best New Chef 2010 at Castagna, who won two Eater awards, for Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for Portland, OR. Here’s what he did when he was in town in a 24-hour period:

*Nine-course dinner at WD-50 (highlights: egg ravioli and liquid-center foie gras).

*Late-night lamb burgers at the Breslin.

*Four-hour lunch at Eleven Madison Park (highlights: chicken velouté with truffle toasts; venison with pickled cabbage).

*Eater’s after-party spread at Burger & Barrel. “[B&B’s chef/owner] Josh Capon comes out, and he’s like ‘eat the burger.’ You don’t say no to him, no matter how many courses you had at Eleven Madison.”
Wow. And what was Lightner going to do when he got back to Portland? Open up his Eater Award (actually a can of tomatoes) and make Bolognese sauce.



The Eater 2010 Awards - The Extras


Torrisi's Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone: Two Can Winners at Eater Awards

The excitement! The drama! All those trophy cans! Yes, the Eater 2010 Awards were everything you could dream of. The big ceremony took place at the beloved downtown NYC restaurant Public and chefs and restaurateurs came from as far away as Brooklyn (Frankies Spuntino’s Frank Falcinelli, who won the Jean-Georges Vongerichten award for Quietly Killing It, New York City) and from Seattle (F&W Best New Chef Matt Lightner, who won both Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for Portland, OR; more on Matt Lightner’s crazy NYC eating tour coming tomorrow).

I unfortunately didn’t win in my category (honestly, who was going to beat @RuthReichl for Twitter Personality of the Year?). But I was inspired enough by winners like my heroes at Torrisi (Restaurant of the Year, New York; and Best Restaurant, National) that I’m going to hand out a few awards myself.

Best Parental SupportChristina Tosi’s MOM helped the awesome Momofuku Milk Bar crew pack up their pork bun equipment after the party.

Michael White Balances his Winning Cans

Best Juggling of Multiple Award Cans
Michael White who won three of them: So Hot Right Now, New York; Chef of the Year, New York; and Danny Meyer’s Empire Builder of the Year, New York.

Best After-Party HostJosh Capon, who brought everyone over to his new brew pub Burger & Barrel and then morphed into a Jewish grandmother, making all the late nighters eat second and third helpings of his epic burgers, tacos, Cuban sandwiches and, for the lucky Eater big wigs, fried chicken.


Alchemy of Taste and Smell—The Next Great Food Conference


Here’s the question elite San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson gets all the time: “Where did you come up with the idea for that dish?” Here's his short answer: “It’s complicated.”
For anyone, like me, who wants to go deeper on the subject—as well as sample awesome food and cocktails from some of the best and coolest cooks and food know-it-alls from around the country—it’s all happening at New York City’s Astor Center next weekend, November 12th and 13th, at the Alchemy of Taste and Smell. Among the highlights: Momofuku’s Dave Chang and WD50’s Wylie Dufresne in a New Favorite Flavors seminar, and an ingenious flavors and aromas demo from Patterson and Top Chef’s Just Desserts star Johnny Iuzzini. Plus a big all-star opening party on Friday night and an intimate all-star dinner on Saturday. has more information, and tickets for all the events.


Mumbai After-Hours Cheat Sheet


© Photo Courtesy Blue Frog

Guest blogger Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice, gave us some of her best picks for where to go late-night in Mumbai. 

As Barack Obama heads to one of my favorite cities in the world, I thought I would offer him some guidance on how to relax, Mumbai-style, after a long day of work. From roadside restaurants to salsa clubs, it all begins around midnight in Mumbai.
1.     Blue Frog Located in an old warehouse, the club has circular stadium-style rows with seating pods that glow in psychedelic colors during live performances.  On offer are cocktails like the Indian Summer, made with vodka, fresh mango, mint and ginger.
2.     Zenzi Mills Right across from Blue Frog is this new restaurant inside an old cotton mill. A two-story lounge with exposed-brick walls, it has salsa and a sleek bar that turns out cocktails at lightning speed. Pair their caipiroska (a caipirinha with vodka) with inventive dishes, like paneer satay.
3.     Shiro  This 10,000-square-foot lounge has Indian-inspired lotus ponds, three larger-than-life Balinese statues hovering over the patrons and red-glass baubles hanging from the ceiling. The best dish is a searing Mahtani chicken with onions and chiles, named for the owner.
4.     Lotus Café at the J.W. Marriott This elegant coffee shop with soaring ceilings is a late-night favorite of Bollywood stars. Try Madras steak served in a coconut gravy with onion and chile tempura, plus one of their famous iced teas in flavors like mint, watermelon and green apple.
5.     Haji Ali Juice Center Hard-core party-goers end their nights here. Since 1937, the Haji Ali Juice bar has served the city’s best juices. There are no seats, so you park your car by the sea and the waiters come running to take your order for their ruby-red pomegranate juice or their signature “Ganga Jamuna,” a blend of orange juices.  


Favorite 2010 Cookbook #1: Radically Simple by Rozanne Gold


© Courtesy of Rodale

The end of the year is my favorite time in the food world because of the overwhelming influx of inspiring cookbooks. Over the next few weeks, I will write up some of my new favorites.

I’ve always loved the 1-2-3 cookbooks by Rozanne Gold — the series is filled with clever recipes that only use three ingredients. That’s why I was thrilled to see her latest cookbook Radically Simple. In it, she looks at the entire world of flavors, often recombining them in fascinating ways to make recipes that might seem gimmicky until you try them. For example, in Smoked & Fresh Salmon En Chemise she wraps fresh salmon in slivers of smoked salmon before blasting the fillets in a hot oven. The fish takes on this rich bacon-like note and is delicious with the tangy tomatillo-herb sauce she serves on the side.

Other recipes are pared back to a small list of superflavorful ingredients: Her Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Two Paprikas (sweet Hungarian and smoked Spanish) is a perfect weeknight dish. Besides the minced garlic that’s rubbed all over the thighs, the recipe only contains the ingredients in the title but tastes amazingly complex.

This is the book I'll be pulling off the shelf the next time I'm stuck in a cooking rut.

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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.