There are few events that command as much attention as the Annual Chefs' Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels each summer in Rockefeller Center. And to mark the celebration's 31st anniversary, more than 45 chefs, some traveling from as far as Chile,...
Every American has an idea of what Japanese food is.
Stereotypically, sushi comes to mind, maybe an encounter with tofu or miso, or even perhaps a dinner at one of the various hibachi restaurants...
Here are three takeaways from our chat with James Beard Foundation President, Susan Ungaro:
1. Mrs. Ungaro used her publishing background at Family Circle magazine and insight from James Beard, to rebrand the James Beard Foundation over the past decade. She cites Vogue as her guiding model of success and has since turned the organization into a thriving powerhouse that has shaped the culinary world for the better.
2. When Ungaro became the Foundation's President, one of the many initiatives she focused on was to encourage better gender diversity in the culinary world. Under her leadership, the Foundation has highlighted more female chefs at Beard House dinners, the annual Chefs & Champagne fundraiser in the Hamptons, on the James Beard Foundation's website, as well as through programs such as the "Women in Culinary Leadership Grant" initiative. No woman had ever received an 'Outstanding Restaurateur' James Beard Award; now there have been two.
3. The James Beard Foundation, which moved its JBF Restaurant and Chef Awards to Chicago recently, is open to bringing the annual event on the road to other major food cities in the future.
This week, the James Beard Foundation's latest cookbook James Beard's All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants hits shelves and features recipes from over 75 eateries nationwide, which have been recognized as timeless institutions within their local communities with the James Beard "America's Classics" Award.
For more information about the James Beard Foundation, visit: www.jamesbeard.org
A special thanks to the team at the James Beard Foundation, as well as Diane Stefani of The Rosen Group PR, who facilitated the filming of this conversation at the James Beard House on West 12th Street in New York City....
Sa Poak Gai Tod Der/Der Styled Deep Fried Chicken Thigh
• Chicken thigh 2 pieces, approx. 7oz each
• Salt 1/2 teaspoon
• Chicken broth powder 1/2 Tbs
Ruth Reichl has done it all. The legendary food writer has six James Beard Awards, nine books (if you include the two Gourmet cookbooks she worked on), served as the restaurant critic for both the Los Angeles Times (1984-1993) and The New York Times (1993-1999), and later joined Gourmet from 1999 to 2009 as its Editor in Chief. Her latest cookbook, My Kitchen Year, picks up after Gourmet's untimely close and gives us insight into what Reichl has been doing since. She joined us to discuss her latest projects, her time as one of America's most high-profile food critics, what it was like to manage Gourmet, and her thoughts on the future of food writing.
Listen to our full chat with Ruth Reichl above, and catch some of the highlights from our conversation below:
On the inspiration for her latest cookbook, My Kitchen Year: "I truly love to cook. The thing for me, I don't think that this is true for everyone, but one of the things I'm trying to say in this book is that I think if you give yourself to cooking it becomes a kind of meditation and it's not just about making a meal and producing something for people that you love, but it's something that takes your whole mind. It's also physical and that it's a way for me anyway, of appreciating being alive. There are moments in the kitchen, sensory moments, moments like when you peel a peach and you see that color right beneath the skin. It's like coming upon a painting. It's a color you never see unless you peel a peach. You don't see it if you bite into it, you don't see it if you slice it, it's only if you peel it. And there's these moments for me, just of pure joy and you look at that and you think in this moment I'm really happy to be alive."
On the biggest mistake restaurant reviewers make: "There are a lot of mistakes. The biggest mistake of any critic, and this would be true of any kind of review, is that many people tend to review the restaurant, the book, the movie, whatever, that they wanted that person to make. So you go to a new Jean-George restaurant and you have an idea of what it's going to be or what it should be. So you review not what he wanted to do, but what you wanted him to do. I mean, that's a really big mistake."
On the pieces every food critic should read: "The first piece would be the story in the M. F. K. Fisher Gastronomical Me, which is in many ways a perfect restaurant review. It's got different names, but I think it's called "Define This Word." It's the one where she's walking in Burgundy and she goes to this restaurant and she's afraid they're going to kill her before she leaves... In terms of writing a restaurant review, I mean she doesn't mean it as a restaurant review, but it's pretty perfect. It's sensual, it's funny, it's a great story, but there are so many if you're talking about restaurants specifically, Tom Boyle's "Sorry Fugu," everyone should read that."
On her leadership style as Editor in Chief at Gourmet: "This is a hard thing to ask me to judge, but I'll tell you what I hoped to do. I'm not sure I was totally successful in that, but I was fortunate enough to go to Condé Nast where they pretty much let you run your shop the way you wanted to do it. Rather than giving you marching orders, 'You must do it this way.' And the way I saw my job was to try and hire people who were smarter than I was and to run interference for them. My managing editor was a much better manager than I am. And I leaned on him. I never wrote a memo that I didn't ask him to vet before I sent it out. He was a better hirer than I was so I got him to help me do all the hiring. I hired people who I think are better line editors than I am. To actually do the line editing. My art director, I would not tell him how to do things he's much better at than I am. And so in many ways, I tried to have it be run by a group rather than by me. And I think in contrast to the way many editors work, I thought it was really important for my staff to feel invested in the magazine, which meant that sometimes I ran articles that I didn't like. Because if it really meant a lot to an editor, it felt to me more important for them to have a stake in the magazine than for me to think everything in the magazine was absolutely to my taste. And I really tried to run it from the bottom up."
On finding out Gourmet would stop printing: "I was on book tour with the second Gourmet cookbook. I was told I had to come back to New York and I thought I was going to get fired. It never crossed my mind that they would close the magazine. I found it out with everyone else. It was just a complete and utter shock. I'm still shocked by it. Sure, fire all of us, make changes, but to close a magazine that had that kind of connection with its readers still strikes me as completely insane... Gourmet had, over its almost 70 years, a connection with its readers that people would kill for. Any publisher would die to have people just renew regularly, to think of themselves as Gourmet people. There is literally not a day of my life that someone doesn't tell me how much they miss the magazine. This is seven years later."
On whether she'd accept the role of Editor in Chief at Food & Wine: "They haven't approached me and I very much doubt that they would, but, of course, I'd consider it. I will consider anything. I loved doing that magazine and I think that there's a hole where a magazine like Gourmet used to be. But do I think that Time Inc. wants to do that? Probably not, I imagine that's the reason why Dana probably left."
On the future of food writing: "You have mainstream publications paying attention to food in a way that nobody has before. So you have a Ted Genoways doing brilliant stuff in The Atlantic, and I would imagine that The New York Times will find someone to replace Mark [Bittman] to be the public intellectual on food. You have The New Yorker doing really fascinating stuff on food science. There's a lot going on in writing about important food issues that just wasn't happening even eight years ago, but at the same time what you see, what I see, happening is that the food publications are retreating in a way that's really sad. You don't have food sections doing really important stories that are aimed at cooks and the epicurean magazines are retreating back into recipes and gossipy kind of things. And it seems to me that it's really important for this important food information to go to cooks and that cooks increasingly need good advice on how to make their food choices. Really it's the consumers who are driving the changes in the food business. You have things like Perdue buying Niman Ranch and they're doing that cause they see the writing on the wall. They see that increasingly consumers are saying that they don't want to buy tortured animals. They don't want battery chickens and so forth. And I think that movement is going to be increasingly important, which is why I think it's increasingly important for the really big stories about what's going on in the food system to be aimed specifically at cooks. It makes me sad that that's not...
David Leite is the creator of Leite's Culinaria, a web-based recipe and cooking blog, which earned two James Beard Awards for "Best Internet Website on Food" in 2006 and 2007. The three-time James Beard Award winner joined us to discuss his journey to become a food writer, his cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, and his upcoming memoir, Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression.
Listen to our full chat with David Leite above, and catch some of the highlights from our conversation below:
On finding the perfect story: "It has to be a story that I want to know about. Of course, early on when I was pitching stories to the Chicago Sun Times and later, the Washington Post and the LA Times, because I began in newspapers, they were stories that I was interested in, but I also had a full-time job in advertising so I wasn't relying upon it. Then when I moved over full-time to being a full-time food writer I realized that I had to write whatever came my way, regardless of whether I liked it or not. So there's actually a piece that I had no interest in: French butters vs. American butters, and it was for Food Arts magazine and it is on my website, and it took me forever to get through it. It wasn't something I was passionate about and that taught me a lesson that if I am not interested in or passionate about the information that I want to pass on to a reader or on The Splendid Table to a listener, than I really shouldn't be writing it or I shouldn't be doing the interview. Because I'm curious, I want to learn more, and I feel like if I'm curious so the reader will be and so will the listener be."
On the Proustian moment that made him become a food writer: "The next big spark came when my partner was making a vanilla cake. Remember he said, 'I'm going to make a cake,' and I said, 'Knock yourself out.' I'd gone back to school and I was going to become a therapist because this food writing thing wasn't really working out, so I'd become a therapist. And so suddenly he said, 'You want to lick the bowl?' And I said, 'Sure,' and I licked the bowl. And really that terribly trite and cliché Proustian moment, where I was hurdled back to my childhood--and that taste was so familiar--but I couldn't place it. And I called my mother and I said 'Mom, did you ever bake?' And I knew the answer was no. She said, 'Of course not,' and I said, 'Did Dina?', who was my godmother, 'Did Dina bake?' And she said that she made chocolate pudding. I said, 'Did vovó,' which is grandmother in Portuguese, 'bake?' And she said, 'Of course she did. She baked all the time.' And I was hurdled back, and from that moment on I never turned back... Her passing and then tasting something that hurdled me back to those moments with her when she was baking."
On his upcoming memoir, Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression: "I think that what I've walked away from from the situations of the first step, which was the cookbook, which was solidifying my identity as a Portuguese person, a Portuguese man. This book continues that. It kind of retraces it and goes farther back and explains the story. And also allows me to say to people I'm bipolar and I'm not ashamed of it. It's just something that has happened to me. The same way people have brown hair and blue eyes. Some people are tall and some people are short. I have a mental illness and that's perfectly fine and that's who I am and I'm not ashamed. And same thing with being gay, I've come to realize and I've come to accept who I am. And it's become unshakable. And I think that it's a journey every person, no matter what they're facing has to take in their life, because there are things that all of us are ashamed of and there are things that all of us keep secret and there's no need to keep secret. And it all started really for me with my search for my identity as the son of a Portuguese immigrant."
For more information on David Leite or Leite's Culinaria, visit: LCcooks.com
Jacques Pepin is one of the world's greatest chefs and his latest book, Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, is filled with personal anecdotes and stories from his legendary career. We chatted with the culinary giant about his food industry beginnings, his impressions of Julia Child, James Beard and Craig Claiborne, and where he thinks the future of American food lies.
Listen to our full chat with Jacques Pepin above, and catch some of the highlights from our conversation below:
On coming to America: "When I arrived in the kitchen here I think the 10th or 11th of September 1959, the day after I went to the Pavillon. And Pierre [Franey] told me well you can start tomorrow if you want; I say great, fine, terrific and I ended up calling him monsieur and chef and he said, "No, no, no, my name is Pierre, you call me Pierre." So that was very democratic to me, in France it was quite different."
On the fight that split Henri Soule and Pierre Franey at Le Pavillon: "Soule was refusing to give any increase to the staff in the kitchen... Pierre had a big argument with him and he said well "I've been fighting so long for that so if it's like this I'm leaving." And then came me, who just came from Paris and in Paris usually there was this saying that, when the chef leaves we all go behind the chef and support the chef and the whole brigade, we call it brigade, I mean the whole kitchen team follows. So I had a big mouth I guess at the time. I wanted everyone to follow Pierre and then I didn't speak English or very little, and I had those two gentleman with big hats who came to the locker room for me. They grabbed me, put me against the wall and even though I did not understand English very well, I understood."
On being offered the position of White House Executive Chef in 1960: "I was actually offered a job at the White House for President Kennedy and I have to say at the time I had absolutely no inkling of the potential because as I said the chef was still very low on the social scale... And in fact, Rene Verdon was the man who went there eventually. He was a good friend of mine. We started with pictures, because Mrs. Kennedy took pictures with him too. It was the 60s, it was women's liberation, organic gardening, health food stores, a whole social upheaval, you know? But it started there because if you ask anyone who was the chef at the White House before Rene Verdon, it was a black lady probably from the south. No one would have known her name no more than they knew my name when I was in France or would have been here. So that was the way it was."
On his impressions of Julia Child, James Beard and Craig Claiborne: "Julia was exactly the way she was on television or out of television. James Beard was, I mean if you look at the old show of James Beard he wasn't particularly great on television but certainly, at that time television was like being a voyeur. They tell you don't look at the camera, the television--you don't know the television is there so you never look at the camera so sometimes you were on 10, 15, 20 seconds before anyone said one word so it's totally different from now when they tell you to make contact with the camera, talk to the camera, and so forth. And Craig, I mean James Beard everyone knows his name because of when we created the Beard award and the Beard House in New York. Actually, after he died most of it was sold and then the organization came together and most of the stuff, we're trying to re-buy to keep the Beard house alive... So his name is kind of secure, just like Julia. Craig unfortunately, a lot of people don't know who he is even in cooking school where I teach at Boston University or the Culinary Institute in New...
All eyes were on Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Jeb Bush starting the third GOP debate, but perhaps now Republicans will be feeling the most reassured by the candidacies of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
In a world of sound bites and news clips, Rubio and...
A total of 79 restaurants were awarded at least one Michelin star in this year's rankings of New York City's most impressive restaurants.
Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, Per Se, and Jean-Georges, the restaurants that scored...
Take fifty chefs, many of them food gods, and line both the first and second floors of Rockefeller Center with tasting tables and their bounty of dishes, and you'll get Cheftopia: The...
In this week's edition of The New American Kitchen, we explore southern food through the eyes of trailblazer and Who's Who of Food and Beverage inductee, Nathalie Dupree. The James Beard Award winning chef tells the tale of her journey into the culinary world, talks tackling stereotypes faced by women in the restaurant industry and gives advice for anyone trying to follow in her footsteps.
Listen to our full chat with Nathalie Dupree above, and catch some of the highlights from our conversation below:
On when she discovered food was her calling: "My sophomore year of college I went to Harvard summer school and lived in an international boarding house. The cook got sick, and because I hadn't done my chores, I was asked if I wanted to take the cook's job for two weeks while she had an operation. I did and that was in 1958. At the time I called my mother and told her I wanted to be a cook, that I loved it--cooking a meal every night for close to 20 people. And she said oh my god--you'd have to work at night with men, lift heavy pots and ladies just don't cook. If you can find any lady that really is cooking in a restaurant besides the wife in an Italian family, a "mama mia," or someone in a boarding house--if you can find someone who's doing this in a way that would make a better life for that person--a good life--other than running the head of a house she would reconsider it. But there were no women. I could not find any women that were working in a restaurant that would fit what would have satisfied my mother. It took me another ten years. It took me till I married my favorite former husband and we moved to London to then go to the Cordon Bleu. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a cooking school and started a little business there, and then go to Majorca and become a chef--that was when I knew I didn't care about being a lady."
On women entering into the culinary world: "We were supposed to be secretaries, teachers, or nurses and we certainly weren't supposed to work at night with men. It was really a deterrent until I went to Europe and then at least saw women who were doing things like cooking for vacationers in Italy. A lot of the girls from Cordon Bleu would go over and work on a ship, not a ship, but a small yacht cooking all summer. Or go over to a vacation area and cart food for people at different vacation homes. I knew that at least there was a way to do this and make a career out of it to some degree, and these English girls were doing it. And that it was acceptable that they were "Cordon Bleus" quote unquote. England was really kind of ahead of us."
On the path she blazed for southern chefs: "Oh anyone can do what I did. I will say--just around the time I met my favorite former husband, which was in 1969 when I married him, I started affirming or praying--whatever you want to call it--the idea that women had the right to support themselves. And that women had the right to enjoy what they were doing and they did have the right to make the world a better place. And whenever women come to me, I say that, you know you really have a right to do this. This is there for you and no one should be able to deter you. I was really lucky that I got to support myself nicely, but that I never wanted to be rich. That was never my goal to be rich. My goal was just to have a good life. I missed a lot of the travail that I think other people have had. I saw the other day Paula Deen's house was up for sale for $12.7 million or something in Savannah and I thought gosh, you know, if I'd come later would I have been Paula Deen? And then I thought I never wanted that."
On what gives her the greatest happiness: "Teaching my students. Teaching on television was the same thing--when people come up to me as they do now, and as they did this week in Salt Lake City--which was a good market because I didn't use any alcohol on my television show. So, when people come up to me in all these places and say "you taught me how to cook," then I really think what a great life I've had and it makes it all worthwhile. Having people tell you that you gave them dominion over what they put in their body and what they put in the bodies of their family--what a wonderful thing. When chefs tell me they saw me when they were young children in front of the television set with their mother, that's really nice to hear--I really enjoy that. What means a great deal to me is teaching so many women to cook, and most of them were southern women, with this full time participation school--I was the only cooking school really in the south. I had hundreds and thousands of women that went out in the world, and so many of them now have written cookbooks."
For more on The New American Kitchen visit our website:
After a decline in ratings by 16 percent at The View, the daytime juggernaut will need drastic changes to survive another round of not so surreptitious beatings from competitors.
Now that Rosie Perez has
From day one I had rooted for Britain's notorious bruiser Katie Hopkins with the expectation that she'd provide a lot of entertainment on the latest installment of Celebrity Big Brother. And The Sun columnist certainly did not disappoint.
The entire series revolved around Hopkins and American gossip blogger Perez Hilton,...
Chef Alexis Samayoa worries that patrons will expect stereotypical Mexican food when visiting his restaurant in Garden City, Tocolo Cantina. Busy Long Islanders, he fears, will favor a quick...
Prince Royce performs at the iHeart Radio Fiesta Latina concert at The Forum on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Prince Royce is a Latin music superstar and his transition into the American music scene shouldn't surprise anyone....