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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Eat Cake for a Cause


© Courtesy of the Cake Committee

Multitalented London ceramicist Peter Ting is also one of the most obsessive bakers I know. Looking for an excuse to indulge his baking passion and give back, he started a group in London called the Cake Committee, which hosts what I like to think of as grown-up bake sales. Members bring their best homemade sweets, mostly cakes, and select a charity to donate the profits to. The cake sales have been such a success that Ting has helped set up committee chapters (he calls them “slices”) in Singapore, Maine and now New York City. The first meeting of the NYC chapter is tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Maccarone Gallery. The $20 entrance fee will be donated to the Friends of the French Culinary Institute and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. RSVP to to eat cake for a cause.


Cult Japanese Design Pops Up in L.A.


Playmountain, one of Japan’s coolest design and home-interiors stores, has opened a 90-day pop-up shop at fellow tabletop obsessives Heath Ceramics in L.A. Founded by lauded designer Shinichiro Nakahara, Playmountain is known for its constantly revolving collections, many of which are created by traditional Japanese craftsmen. The summer pop-up is open until September 5 and will be selling, among other things, Playmountain’s newest line, Chin Jukan Pottery. This collaboration between Nakahara and Korean potter Hyejeong Kim was inspired by and fired in a historic 400-year-old Japanese kiln.


Food & Wine Classic 2010: Top Three Highlights


© Rory Tischler
Food & Wine Classic Chefs Go Direct to Aspen

How many highlights do I have from this year’s Classic? A million. They won’t all fit here. But there were a few brand-new experiences that I hope become key to all Classics.

Private Bombardier Jet to Aspen
All I’ll say is that if you want to make the flight to Aspen one of your highlights, this is how to do it. See if Tom Colicchio, Dave Chang, Morimoto, Jacques Pépin, Joe Bastianich, Drew Nieporent  and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi can come, too. And make sure you’re open to drinking some Dom Pérignon.

Jean-Louis Chave Tasting
The legendary Rhône winemaker came to Aspen for the first time. And he brought his 2000 Hermitage Blanc and 2004 Hermitage Rouge with him (plus several other outstanding vintages). It was so extraordinary that Best New Chef 2010 Jonathon Sawyer had to be there—even though his BNC dinner was just two hours away.

Mario Batali’s Best of Ligurian Cooking/Charity Demo

So, Mario’s demos are always the best. But this year, he closed it out with an unprecedented double fund-raising event. KitchenAid auctioned off Batali-signed mixers in part for their Cook for the Cure (which supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), and also for Batali’s newest cause: Help for Jose, which is raising money for his employee Jose Mendoza, who lost both his legs in a subway accident. (The good news: It’s not too late to send messages to Jose or to donate to the cause.)


John Besh on His New TV Show


John Besh

© Courtesy of American Express Video Presents Insider City Guides
Chef John Besh

A new food-TV show debuts tonight that I'm looking forward to watching. Last week, before John Besh took off for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I got to speak with the F&W Best New Chef 1999 about his new series, Inedible to Incredible, which premieres tonight on TLC. Besh modestly insists that the episodes are so good because they're not about him: They're about the people he teaches how to cook. "I walked away from each episode feeling like I’d made a difference," he says. Modeled on another TLC show, What Not To Wear, the new show features the former Marine and chef/owner of several of New Orleans's best restaurants staging interventions with flailing home cooks—and getting delicious results. In tonight's episode, he meets a woman who garnishes overcooked flank steak with Fig Newtons. Besh teaches her how to cook a steak to medium-rare, then shows her an easy fig glaze. "I’ve heard from her several times since," he said. "She's moved on to different steaks and glazes. Something clicked, and she got it."

Indedible to Incredible premieres tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on TLC.

Here, incredible John Besh recipes from the F&W archives. 


Mystery Dip


Crack Dip

Every year, my friends and I have a designated “Day of Sloth,” when we spend the entire day indoors watching movies and eating gluttonous foods like meatballs, salted brownies and “crack dip.” That last one, the dip, is the creation of a friend who is prohibited under penalty of death to share the recipe. Since she won’t be able to attend this year, she gave me a rare gift: her spice mix (all I have to do is add some cream cheese, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco). I passed the mix around the office to see what we could discern, and the guesses were as far-ranging as chile powder, Old Bay, curry and garlic powder. (I’m personally convinced the stuff is laced with MSG.) Until I can squeeze the full recipe out of my friend, I guess I’ll have to be content having these F&W favorites. There are worse fates!

Caramelized Onion Dip
Fresh Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallot Dip
French Onion Dip

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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.