Countdown to the 2014 James Beard Awards

Team-Del-Posto
The team from Del Posto celebrates a win at the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.

Four weeks from today, the James Beard Foundation Awards will be held in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. A celebration of the best and the brightest in the food world, The Beard Awards are regarded as the industry’s version of the Oscars. The James Beard Awards are even better because a) they’re open to the public and b) the food at the event is seriously hard to top (No offense, Wolfgang!). You can purchase your tickets here to cheer for your favorite culinary professionals on May 5, 2014.

Nominated restaurants include:

Best New Restaurant
Betony, New York, New York
Carbone, New York, New York
Coqueta, San Francisco, California
Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana

Outstanding Restaurant
Hearth, New York, New York
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
The Slanted Door, San Francisco, California
Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
wd~50, New York, New York

Outstanding Service Continue Reading

Spring Restaurant Weeks Are Springing Up!

mlrw2014After a brutal winter, I think it is safe to say, well into April, that spring has sprung. And with this season of renewal comes a season of savings in cities around the nation. Book a table to dine for less at restaurants in your area.

* Long Beach Restaurant Week in California is happening now. Reserve for special set menus for $26 or $38 thru April 5.

* Jersey Shore Restaurant Week starts tomorrow. Begin booking $20.14 and $30.14 dinners, April 4-13.

* Rhode Island heats up with Newport and Bristol Restaurant Week. Book a table for $16 lunches and $35 dinners, April 4-13.

*  Seattle Restaurant Week begins this weekend.Reserve early and often for three-course meals for $28, April 6-10 and 13-17.

* Detroit Restaurant Week kicks into gear next week. Enjoy special three-course, prix-fixe dinners, April 11-20.

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Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs

alma-blog
This is not your Bubby’s brisket. It is, however, Ari Taymor”s.

Today, Food + Wine announced their picks for  Best New Chefs of 2014. The honorees are:

* Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles, California

* Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, Dover, Brooklyn, New York

* Eli Kulp, Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

* Matt McAllister, FT33, Dallas, Texas

* Dave Beran, Next, Chicago, Illinois

* Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, Oregon

* Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston, Texas

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1st Annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee + After-Party

On Sunday, March 30th, in Manhattan, Cherry Bombe magazine’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu hosted the first Cherry Bombe Jubilee, a conference in celebration of women in the world of food. Sponsored in part by OpenTable and attended by hundreds of up and comers and established names (Hello, Alice Waters!)  in the culinary realm, it was a day of learning, discussion, networking, and, of course, food. Later that evening, OpenTable hosted an after-party at Corkbuzz Wine Studio. Featuring wines curated by owner Laura Maniec, Jordan Salacityo, Beverage Director at Momofuku restaurants, Pascaline Lepeltier, Wine Director at Rouge Tomate, and Juliette Pope, Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern, the after party also featured sweet and savory treats. You can check out exclusive photos from the evening’s festivities below.

Throughout the Jubilee, some of the food world’s best and brightest weighed in on a number of topics, including:

* Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar (and inventor of the famed crack pie), spoke about being the change. “We get to choose how we exist in this industry.” She urged attendees, “Be the individual. Individuality is priceless.” She also encouraged women to “make room for someone else to come in” to your kitchen, your business, and the industry.

* Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute (my alma mater!), pointed out that although there’s a perception that there are more men in the culinary field, the percentage of women attending culinary school was 59% in 2012 (up from 31% in 1992) as compared to just 41% male students. Her hypothesis as to why we aren’t seeing more female chefs dominating restaurant kitchens is that women are seeking out more entrepreneurial ventures after graduating.

* Chefs April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Katie Button (Cúrate), Anita Lo (Annisa), and Sarah Kramer were on a panel called “Getting Your Clog in the Door.” They all agreed that doing a stage/internship is an important first step. Kramer said, “Doing a stage is a great way to get your foot in the door at a restaurant if you want to work there.” And, it worked for Kramer; she wound up staging and, later, working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Beyond a stage, Lo advised, “Go work at the best restaurant you can find.” She started her career at Bouley and hasn’t missed a beat since. For those newbies not living in a major culinary city, there are still plenty of opportunities. Bloomfield pointed out, “No matter where you start, it will expose you and lead you to other places.” For those unable to get into the kitchen of their dreams, Button recommends starting in the front of the house to get to the back of the house. She employed that strategy successfully at both El Bulli and José Andrés’s restaurants.Continue Reading