Chef Watch: Michael Voltaggio Cooks and Tells; New York Post Has a Beef with Alain Ducasse; Norman Van Aken Opens His Recipe Book; The World’s Most Influential Chef; Charlie Trotter’s New Hire, and More

Chefs making food and headlines…

•    Michael Voltaggaio, winner of season 6 of “Top Chef” shows football fans how to have a very molecular gastronomic Super Bowl party. Does that mean deconstructed nachos? [Los Angeles Times]

•    Speaking of Chef Voltaggio, who is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, he answers questions about his post-TC life. [Orange County Register]

•    Jose Garces, whose Philadelphia restaurant empire includes Amada, Chifa, Distrito, and Tinto, reveals what’s inspiring him lately. [The Daily Beast]

•    Charlie Trotter hires visually impaired chef Laura Martinez to join his kitchen at Charlie Trotter’s. [Grub Street Chicago]

•    If Chicago’s Graham Elliot Bowles’s food at Graham Elliot were an album, it would be Feed the Animals by Girl Talk. At least this week, anyway. [Time Out Chicago]

•    Meet the U.K’s own Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant in London. He’s also the world’s most influential chef. No, really. [Men’s Health]

•    Chef Norman Van Aken shares some of his signature recipes from Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, but it’s probably just easier to go ahead and let him make them for us at his eponymous restaurant. [The Daily Beast]

•    Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon – Beverly Hills, The French Laundry, Per Se) loses his right-hand man. As long as it’s not his right hand. [San Francisco Chronicle]

•    Restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post has a bone to pick with Alain Ducasse (Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York, Benoit New York) over his recent comments about the New York restaurant scene. Call me a coward, but it’s probably not all that wise to start a beef with anyone who wields knives for a living. [New York Post]

How One Restaurant Critic Had His Cake (Without Gaining Weight)

how-one-restaurant-critic-had-his-cakeAs Frank Bruni hangs up his restaurant critic’s hat for The New York Times, he reveals his strategies for staying slim while dining out repeatedly at many of the Big Apple’s restaurants, old and new.

Turns out Mr. Bruni had fought and lost the battle of the bulge for most of his life, until just before he began his turn as one of the paper’s most famous foodies. During his tenure, he consumed an average of 3,000 calories a day without putting back on the weight he’d lost, through — shocker! — regular exercise and by following five steadfast rules.

I don’t consume 3,000 calories a day every day (emphasis on the “every”), but I do eat out often. My strategies for dining out without regret include trying to make fish and/or salad a part of every meal. Sometimes I fail (Or do I? Does a caviar garnish count as fish?), but not usually. Splitting several dishes is quite effective as well. Two friends and I recently ordered two appetizers, two pasta courses, and two protein-heavy entrees for our table so we could try everything we desired without the guilt. Dessert, too, is made for sharing — unless someone at your table has more than one sweet tooth.

What do you do to avoid overdoing it when dining out? Or is dining out precisely the time you should overdo it?