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]

Restaurant News Roundup: 1834 Bar & Burger Means Business; The French Laundry Is Memorable; Cecconi’s Does Sunday Suppers; Le Gavroche Kicks Off Lobster Festival, and More

Restaurant-News-Round-UpThe latest news about top restaurants on OpenTable…

* It’s not the world’s biggest burger, but 1834 Bar & Burger in New York’s Financial District is serving a 10 pounder for $75. [Eater NY]

* Is Absinthe in San Francisco considering moving to bigger digs? [Grub Street San Francisco]

* Brother Jimmy’s BBQ restaurant is opening a branch in New York’s Union Square because, well, you can never have enough good barbecue, really. [Eater NY]

* Did you ever wish you came from a big Italian family that still ate big Sunday suppers together? Wish no more: Cecconi’s in West Hollywood has added family-style Sunday suppers. And they won’t break the bank at $50 for four people. [Grub Street Los Angeles]

* Double Crown in New York’s Noho is ready to reign supreme again with a new menu and a nip tuck. [Eater NY]

* Chef Scott Conant’s newest hot spot Faustina is now serving lunch. [Grub Street New York]

* The French Laundry cooked revered San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer’s most memorable meal, which is really saying something. [SF Gate]

* Home Restaurant & Bar in Atlanta (where “Top Chef” contestant Richard Blaise once worked) is closing at the end of March, opening next month as Coast Seafood & Raw Bar. [Front Burner]

* Lobster Festival returns to Le Gavroche in Vancouver for five weeks, serving a three-course lobster dinner for just $35 per person. [Scout Vancouver]

* On April 1, Manhattan restaurant Matsuri will host a festival honoring, er, um, let’s just say “manhood.” [Grub Street New York]

* Porta Via in Los Angeles has added a swanky bar and lounge. [Eater LA]

* New York City owns the rights to the name Tavern on the Green. The name will carry on, but let’s hope the cuisine does not. [The New York Times]

Which State Has the Most Food Bloggers? Should Critics Cook? Culinary Questions and Answers from Around the Web This Week

Questions-and-AnswersI don’t have all the answers, but I’ve seen some interesting food and dining questions this week. Thankfully, either experts have answered them — or you (not I) will have to.

* Do you know which state has the most food bloggers? Warning: This is a trick question.  [The New York Times]

* Should critics have to cook to be qualified for their jobs? [Denver Post]

* Why do Chinese food and doughnuts go together like peas and carrots in California (and my tummy)? [The Atlantic]

* How do you know if you’re a foodie? [Serious Eats]

* Which restaurant has the nicest restroom in the U.S.? [America’s Best Restroom]

* Are you the next “Vacation Food Dude”? [Eater PDX]

* What should diners do when seated next to a boisterous table? [SF Gate]

* Why don’t servers write down orders? [Chow]

* Did the weather keep you away from chain restaurants? [Nation’s Restaurant News]

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


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]