Chef Watch: José Andrés Gets a Prize; The Obamas’ Favorite Chef; Michael Mina’s New Venture, and More

* José Andrés (The Bazaar by José Andrés) will receive the 2010 grand prize from the Vilcek Foundation, “which annually honors the contributions of foreign-born Americans in the areas of art, culture and science” on April 7th at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. [Washington Post]

* Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia (Mia Donna) can cook. No, really. She’s got a book coming out and everything. [The New York Times]

* Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) discusses sustainable fish at TED. [Daily Blender]

* Mario Batali (Lupa) and Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s Restaurant) dined at The Publican. [Grub Street Chicago]

* The POTUS is a foodie, and Chicago chef Rick Bayless (Topolobampo) is one of his faves. [The Guardian]

* “No Reservations” Anthony Bourdain (Les Halles) dishes on his latest pursuits to Jennifer Heigl. [Daily Blender]

* Washington, D.C. chefs Mike Isabella (Zaytinya), Art Smith (Art and Soul) , and Bryan Voltaggio (VOLT) work hard to extend their “Top Chef” fame. [Washington Business Journal]

* Chef Michael Mina is set to take over Aqua, where he first made a splash years ago. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Chef Michael Psilakis (Kefi) has ended his association with Anthos in Manhattan and is rumored to be looking to open another restaurant in Brooklyn. [The New York Times]

* Reality-TV star/chef Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay) at Boka in Chicago [Grub Street Chicago]

* “Top Chef” season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio, chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, talks about his future and what he plans to do with his prize money. [Food & Wine]

* Hoss Zaré (Zare at Fly Trap) is preparing a feast for the Persian New Year, which begins on March 20. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Power Tables in Washington, D.C.: Where Politicos Dine Every Day

Washington-DC-Power-TablesIf so-called gatecrasher couple Tareq and Michaele Salahi wanted to rub elbows with Washington, D.C.’s political elite, they didn’t have to sneak into the White House. CNN recently compiled a compelling list of who lunches where between noon and 2PM on and around the Hill; the Salahis could have simply booked a table at any of these D.C. dining hotspots.

According to CNN, you can find some of our capital’s (and our nation’s) most influential movers and shakers at restaurants including Blue Duck Tavern (the First Couple), Café Milano, Charlie Palmer Steak (serving more than 100 congressmen and senators every week), Johnny’s Half Shell, Lebanese Taverna (Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayo), The Monocle, Old Ebbitt Grill, The Oval Room, Oyamel (Michelle Obama), The Palm (Rahm Emanuel, Madeline Albright, James Carville, and Mary Matalin, among others), Rasika and SEI (both host to the First Lady), and Tosca Ristorante (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and David Axelrod).

If you’re looking for an opportunity to dine alongside your favorite lobbyist, senator, Supreme Court Justice, or even the President of the United States, you don’t need an invitation — just an OpenTable reservation.

The First Couple Celebrates 17 Years at D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern

blue-duck-tavernPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated their 17th anniversary with a local meal at farm-to-table restaurant Blue Duck Tavern this past Saturday night. A hotspot for celebrity sightings, Blue Duck is a magnet for foodies as well. Several weeks ago, Renee Sharrow, who oversees marketing communications for the restaurant, told OpenTable that the Obamas had not yet joined them for dinner, but they were waiting anxiously to host the First Couple. Glad to hear the wait is over and that our nation’s most stylish power couple are continuing to cement their reputation as informed eaters.

Eat Like a President: From Washington, D.C. to Washington Place

White-house.jpgPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dined out in the Big Apple this past weekend. So, where in one of the food capitals of the world did they eat? Blue Hill, naturally. The Obamas are committed to sustainable agriculture as indicated by the new White House kitchen garden, and Dan Barber, chef/co-owner of Blue Hill, is renowned for his role in the field-to-plate movement.

A 2009 James Beard Foundation Award winner, Barber also operates Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a non-profit, four-season and pastured livestock farm that provides many of the ingredients served at both Blue Hill restaurants.