Chef Michael Schlow on His New Restaurant, Peruvian Fusion + Why Boston Is So Beyond Clam Chowder

The savory, crispy chip made from hazelnuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano that chef Michael Schlow was toiling to get just right for this month’s opening of his third outpost of Alta Strada in Washington, D.C., may be his very latest culinary triumph. But, in a larger sense, Schlow, a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef in the Northeast, has helped change the dining profile of what are considered two of the seaboard’s stodgiest cities. With a recent ninth feather in his toque that also includes Latin cuisine at Tico restaurants in D.C. and his adopted hometown of Boston, his newly opened Greek restaurant, Doretta, and a cutting-edge late-night fusion menu, he’s come a long way from cracking eggs as a kid.

michael schlow headshot

What’s your earliest cooking memory?
My mother allowing me to cook omelets for my brother and sister. She would be at work, and I would “experiment” on them with my cooking, making horrible concoctions and then forcing them to eat the omelets, no matter how gross.

You’re from Brooklyn — and New York is one of the world’s culinary epicenters — why stay based in Boston?
Boston has been home for more than 20 years, and I love living here; we have great friends, a terrific food community, and the city has so many amazing attributes that I can’t really imagine living anywhere else.

You obviously witnessed a local culinary evolution of sorts; do you think Bostonians are more adventurous these days?
Bostonians are definitely into their food and their chefs — the days of cod, baked beans, and chowder defining Boston cuisine are over for sure! We have so many diverse and interesting restaurants to choose from now that it’s a world-class food destination with some of the best chefs in the country.

Speaking of diversity, how do you transition to different types of cuisine given the fact that you have Italian, Latin, Greek restaurants … do you have a favorite?
I don’t have a favorite, but if you were to come to our house, I’d probably serve simple Italian food.

alta strada spaghetti and clams

Can you give us a sneak peek of something you may be up to — Peruvian, perhaps?
We are working on a few really fun things right now. I’m excited about the Nikkei late-night menu that’s a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese at Tico Boston. It’s really interesting food and totally cures any late-night cravings. [Served 10PM-1AM Thursday-Saturday, recent offerings include crispy short rib gyoza with panca, toasted onion, and sesame.]Continue Reading

2016 James Beard Award Winners + a Look Inside Michael Murphy’s Rosé Bowl

Trust us when we say that you’re pretty much guaranteed a delicious meal when you dine with a 2016 James Beard Award winner. We were in Chicago to cheer on all the nominees and celebrate this year’s recipients. Before the big event, we attended Michael Murphy’s Rosé Bowl at Momotaro. We’ve got some bubbly pics from photographer Lynzie Hazan, and then scroll down for our list of the chef and restaurant 2016 James Beard Award winners.

Winners include:

Best New Restaurant
Shaya, New Orleans, Louisiana

Outstanding Restaurant
Alinea, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Restaurateur
Ken Friedman, The Breslin, New York, New York

Outstanding Service
Eleven Madison Park, New York, New York

Outstanding Wine Program
Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa, Florida

Outstanding Chef
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, West Hollywood, California

Rising Star of the Year
Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, New York, New York

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dahlia Narvarez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago, Illinois

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Best Chef: New York City
Jonathan Waxman, BarbutoContinue Reading

2016 James Beard Award Finalists: Chefs + Restaurants

The picks are in for the final nominees for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards. Even though not every chef or restaurant listed here will go home with the award, trust us when we say that you will have a sublime dining experience with any of them. We’ll be cheering them all on in Chicago on May 2nd at the awards ceremony; you can purchase a ticket, too, in case you didn’t know. Congratulations to all the 2016 James Beard Award finalists!

James Beard Awards 2016 Finalists

Finalists include:

Best New Restaurant
Death & Taxes, Raleigh, North Carolina
Launderette, Austin, Texas
Shaya, New Orleans, Louisiana
Staplehouse, Atlanta, Georgia
Wildair, New York, New York

Outstanding Restaurant
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
The Spotted Pig, New York, New York

Outstanding Service
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
Eleven Madison Park, New York, New York
North Pond, Chicago, Illinois
Quince, San Francisco, California
Topolobampo, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Wine Program
Canlis, Seattle, Washington
FIG, Charleston, South Carolina
Sepia, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Chef
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, West Hollywood, California
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans, Louisiana
Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco, California

Rising Star of the Year
Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Grae Nonas, Olamaie, Austin, Texas
Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, New York, New York
Alan Sternberg, Cerulean, Indianapolis, Indiana
Edward Sura, Perennial Virant, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago, Illinois
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Dahlia Narvarez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California
Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, New York, New York
Jennifer Yee, Lafayette, New York, New YorkContinue Reading

2016 James Beard Award Semifinalists: Chefs + Restaurants

JBF

It’s awards season once again, and we couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards. The list of semifinalists for nominations was recently released and it reads like a who’s who of American cooking (you can click here for a full list of nominated chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs, including the extensive regional nominations). The nominees will be revealed on March 15th. Winners will be announced on May 2nd at the awards ceremony, which will be held in Chicago. Cheers to all the 2016 James Beard Award semifinalists — we hope you make the final list of nominees!

Semifinalists include:

Best New Restaurant
Alter, Miami, Florida
Bardot Brasserie-Aria, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Blanchard, Chicago, Illinois
Bracero Cocina, San Diego, California
Cassia, Santa Monica, California
Coquine, Portland, Oregon
The Dabney, Washington, D.C.
Eloisa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Girin Steakhouse & Ssam Bar, Seattle, Washington
Helen Greek Food and Wine, Houston, Texas
INTRO, Chicago, Illinois
Kinship, Washington, D.C.
Morcilla, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Público, St. Louis, Missouri
Shaya, New Orleans, Louisiana
Shepard, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Outstanding Restaurant
A.O.C., Los Angeles, California
Acquerello, San Francisco, California
Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouri
Craft, New York, New York
Fore Street, Portland, Maine
Foreign Cinema, San Francisco, California
Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Lark, Seattle, Washington
Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, Arizona
Providence, Los Angeles, California
Rasika, Washington, D.C.
The Spotted Pig, New York, New York

Outstanding Service
Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel, Carmel, California
Bacchanalia, Atlanta, Georgia
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
Café Juanita, Kirkland, Washington
Charleston Grill, Charleston, South Carolina
Eleven Madison Park, New York, New York
L’Espalier, Boston Massachusetts
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, Washington, D.C.
North Pond, Chicago, Illinois
The Pass, Houston, Texas
Quince, San Francisco, California
Restaurant August, New Orleans, Louisiana
Saam at the Bazaar by José Andrés, Beverly Hills, California
Saison, San Francisco, California
Topolobampo, Chicago, Illinois
Zahav, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaContinue Reading