Splitting the Check on Portlandia; 86ing Butter + Cream on Menus + More

The corn-eating porcupine sounds eerily like Gizmo from Gremlins.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* The perils of group dining. Splitting the check isn’t always easy or equitable. Take a cue from Portlandia and call in an expert. [Slate]

* Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. A robot may one day take your restaurant order. [NBC News]

* It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. So the man behind Rouge Tomate isn’t trying to. He keeps his cuisine butter and cream free without artificial ingredients. [NY Times]

* Hot chef. Here is a picture of Tom Colicchio with hair. Is he more handsome now or then? It’s probably too close to call. [US Weekly]

* From the ‘Moment of Zen’ files: Here’s a mogwai porcupine in a party hat eating an ear of corn. [YouTube]


Ahoy, Foodies: Set Sail for ‘Top Chef: The Cruise’ in Spring 2013!

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to mix and mingle with a cast of Top Chef celebrities this April!

Don’t miss the launch of the first-ever Top Chef: The Cruise in April 2013. Brought to you by Bravo Media, Celebrity Cruises, Magical Elves, and Rose Tours, come aboard the modern, luxurious Celebrity Constellation to spend quality time with the show’s judges and chefs on this culinary voyage of a lifetime.

Hosted by Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and featuring Top Chef Masters and past chef’testants, including Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys), Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro), Richard Blais (The Spence), Jennifer Carroll, Tiffany Derry (Private Social), Chris Hanmer, Angelo Sosa (Social Eatz), Yigit Pura, Paul Qui, Hosea Rosenberg, Casey Thompson (Shinsei Restaurant), Fabio Viviani (Cafe Firenze), among others, the April 11-15, 2013, cruise will sail round trip from Miami, Florida, with stops in Key West, Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico. During the voyage, guests will have the opportunity to savor events, such as interactive “Quickfire” cooking challenges, culinary demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, Top Chef menus and Celebrity’s own award-winning cuisine.

Learn more and book your reservations now!

Michael Bauer Defines Fine Dining; Colicchio Recommends It; and More

This week in dining trends…

* A reader asks San Francisco Chronicle restaurant reviewer Michael Bauer talk about what “fine dining” means  — leading him to wonder if it means anything anymore. [SF Gate]

* Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons) is (shocker!) a fan of fine dining, and he debunks some myths about the experience to CNN. [CNN]

* The stroller set has plenty of eating options in the Big Apple, as high-end restaurants embrace little foodies. [The New York Times]

* Speaking of kids, child and parenting behavior expert Priscilla J. Dunstan has her own tips for taking the little ones out to dinner. [KansasCity.com]

* The size of your server is directly related to the size of your order. [Slashfood]

* Your server’s tableside manner is directly related to your enjoyment of your order. [Seattle Times]

James Beard Foundation Awards 2010 Winners: Congratulations!

James-Beard-Awards-2010-nomineesEarlier this week, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of their prestigious awards for 2010. They include:

* Marea, New York, New York
Chef/Partner: Michael White; Partner: Chris Cannon

* Tom Colicchio, Craft and Colicchio & Sons

* Nicole Plue, Redd, Yountville, California

* Daniel, New York, New York
Chef/Owner: Daniel Boulud; Owner: Joel Smilow

* Jean Georges, New York, New York
Wine Director: Bernard Sun

* Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, California

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
* Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania

Best Chef: Midwest
* Alexander Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Best Chef: New York City
* Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park

Best Chef: Northwest
* Jason Wilson, Crush, Seattle, Washington

Best Chef: Pacific
* David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, California

Best Chef: South
* Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, Florida

Best Chef: Southeast
* Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina