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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Dave Chang vs. San Francisco - Part II


© Gabriele Stabile

As you may have already heard, last weekend’s New York City Wine & Food Festival featured two very high-profile Manhattan-based food stars sharing unflattering observations about San Francisco chefs. At a Times Talk, Anthony Bourdain called Alice Waters “Pol Pot in a muumuu.” And Momofuku’s David Chang—in another conversation with Bourdain entitled “I call BS”—said that “…every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it.” Apparently some SF chefs aren’t happy with that characterization: The Asia Society cancelled a book signing event to promote Chang’s soon-to-be-out Momofuku cookbook because that comment irritated some participating cooks. For his part, Chang calls it a misunderstanding that he wants to clear up. On the other hand: "I'm never gonna open a place in San Francisco, " he says. Of course, at F&W, we love Chang unconditionally: He and his outstanding recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers are featured in our brand-new November issue.


Partying for the Hell's Kitchen Finale


Hell's Kitchen finalists Ariel, Kevin and Dave

I hate to miss a good party. Luckily, our superlative Vancouver stringer Rhonda May, editor of City Food Magazine, has all the details on the celebration at Araxi in nearby Whistler, British Columbia, for Dave Levey, winner of the sixth season of Hell’s Kitchen. Why was the party at Araxi? Because Dave will now spend the next year cooking there, just in time for Vancouver to host the Olympic Games in February 2010.

Here's Rhonda's report:

Last Tuesday night, Araxi hosted a little viewing party for the reality show’s sixth-season finale. Which meant that more than 300 partygoers withstood lightly falling snow in the long line outside the restaurant’s entrance to meet the show’s four final contestants: Tennille Middleton, Ariel Contreras, Kevin Cottle and Dave—all of whom affably shook hands, hugged grandmothers and posed for pictures.



The Next Pork Personality


© National Pork Board
German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger

On a drizzly morning last week, I sat next to the Food Network’s Guy Fieri in a park near New York City's High Line to help the National Pork Board crown the Next Pork Personality. Judging the tastiest dish was easy: It was the German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger from chef Robert Burmeister of CHOW Gourmet on Staten Island.


First, he marinated pork shoulder with sweet pickle relish and mustard before grinding the meat and forming patties, which he then topped with a bacon-sauerkraut mixture, sliced Bratwurst and snappy rounds of dill pickle. But unfortunately, taste was not a factor in this competition, and each recipe's creativity only counted for so much; instead, the contestants' spiel about their dish was everything. Robert had that natural New York swagger and a thick accent to match—it was clear he loved pork, and not just from his pig tattoo. But it was tough to compete with actress and comedian (and former recipe contest winner) Kristina Vänni’s engaging routine. Although Kristina's "Spicy" Asian Pork Tenderloin, marinated and glazed with hoisin sauce spiked with five-spice powder—was not as impressive as Robert’s burger, she ultimately won the title and the $5,000 prize. But Robert might have received a better reward: Guy gushing about his burger during the awards ceremony.


© National Pork Board
Kristina Vänni wins the Next Pork Personality.










Superb Comfort Food Dishes, John Lennon-Style


© John Kernick

Out this week: Corn Flakes with John Lennon (Rodale Books), in which longtime Los Angeles Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn chronicles his relationship with the legendary Beatle—plus reveals juicy tidbits like Lennon’s habit of eating corn flakes with cream after dinner. Here, terrific British comfort food dishes to honor the Liverpool native like lamb-filled shepherd’s pie (pictured), beef stew with potato cakes, and sticky toffee pudding.


Plus More Great Dishes to Pay Tribute to Lennon:
- 10 excellent white dishes for a White Album-listening party like hot, buttered cauliflower puree and a jasmine rice, chicken and almond stir-fry
- 10 terrific egg dishes to salute the “Eggman” like a warm spinach salad topped with soft-poached eggs and sherried mushrooms with fried eggs on toast


Bluefin Collar at Marea with Pam Grier


© kate krader
Pam Grier pretends she's eating Bluefin Collar

Last night, I felt like Ashton Kutcher doing an episode of Punk’d. I was with Pam Grier, the iconic 1970s actress and star of Showtime’s The L-Word (and also my ex-stepsister-in-law), who is allergic to fish, raw and cooked. We were at Marea, chef Michael White’s exquisite NYC seafood restaurant. Someone, I thought, would come out of it not looking good. But White was a star—he made beet salad, garganelli with sausage ragù and guinea hen for Pam; I got to eat fish. In particular, I got to eat bluefin collar sashimi: rich red, well-marbled slices of tuna that looked like beef and tasted lightly fishy and sweet, with just a little bit of sinewy bite. Pam couldn’t try it (an ambulance would have shown up), but she got a kick out of how much I loved it. The photo above is Pam, mimicking my spontaneous gesture of tasting happiness, after my first bite.

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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.