Rob Kinneen of Orso Talks Sustainable Sourcing in Alaska with The Cultivated Plate

This week, we visit with Rob Kinneen, executive chef at ORSO in Anchorage, Alaska. Born and bred in Alaska, when the culinary arts beckoned, Kinneen headed to Hyde Park, New York, to hone his skills at the Culinary Institute of America. After school, he remained in the lower 48, cooking first in the Big Easy and then North Carolina. Even though Alaska has a reputation for self-sufficiency, the state imports 97% of its food, a statistic that makes Kinneen cringe. Now a champion of Alaska’s producers, Kinneen is working hard to make sure the Last Frontier isn’t the last state to embrace sustainability.

Watch as Chef Kinneen opens up to OpenTable about the agony and the ecstasy of trying to source responsibly in the 49th state.

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Chef Watch: Bauer and Co.’s Rising Star Chefs 2010; How Wolfgang Became a Brand; Nobu’s Rise to the Top; Ed Brown’s Loves; Susur Lee’s Chicken Feet; David Myers on Sona’s Shuttering, and More

Chef-Watch

Chefs making food and news…

* San Francisco Chronicle executive food and wine editor Michael Bauer and his colleagues select the Bay Area’s Rising Star Chefs for 2010. Included are John Paul Carmona (Manresa), Perry Hoffman (étoile), Timothy Hollingsworth (The French Laundry), and Charlie Kleinman (Wexler’s). [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Wolfgang Puck, whose restaurants include 20.21, Chinois, CUT Las Vegas, Spago Beverly Hills, and many others, details of his ascension up the culinary ladder — and reveals he almost ended it all when he was fired from his first kitchen job as a young man. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu London, Nobu New York, and others) shares his similar success story, which also includes suicidal thoughts after his first restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, burned down, leaving him in serious debt. [ABC News]

* Ed Brown of eighty one in New York reveals a few of his favorite food-related things. [The Daily Beast]

* Susur Lee thinks that New Yorkers, like parents,”just don’t understand,” and we’re not ready to embrace chicken feet at Shang. Oh no, he didn’t! (Totally kidding, Chef Lee. You’re probably right!) [Grub Street New York]

* Laurent Tourondel (BLT Fish, BLT Market, BLT Steak) is ending his partnership with Jimmy Haber. They will, essentially, split the BLT empire. All I care about is who gets the bacon. ;) [The New York Times]

* David Myers discusses shuttering Los Angeles restaurant Sona (temporarily) in May while he scouts for and sets up shop in a new space. [Los Angeles Times]