by Ana Mari Cox for The New York Times   Read story here

alton.brownTen or so years ago, you said that food in this country was like what sex was in the ’70s: our last decadent act. Are we out of the ’70s yet?   I think we’ve moved into the ’80s. The decadence is being replaced by a potentially appropriate austerity. The orgy of the unfamiliar and new has given way to something more focused and thoughtful.

We’re practicing safe foodYes. We have seen what happens when we just go crazy with three different kinds of saffron.

In the past you’ve talked about being an observant Christian, but late last year, you said that you were leaving the Southern Baptist Convention and searching for a new belief system. Does your spirituality inform your love of food? There is more to the act of sharing food with one another than simply saying ‘‘Here is some food.’’ I do believe that there is a spiritual act in breaking bread and sitting down and being thankful. The pornification of food takes away the importance of sharing it with one another and instead focuses only on the food.

Do you think your employer, the Food Network, might bear some responsibil­ity for that?  I think all food media certainly bears responsibility, which is not the same as saying we are at fault. When you take a subject that becomes a massively popular phenomenon, like food, it’s mirroring other things in society as much as it’s driving things in society.

You were on ‘‘Food Network Star’’ for three seasons. What do you think is the difference between wanting to be a chef and wanting to be a Food Network star?As mutually exclusive terms?  They seem pretty different to me. It’s funny. On ‘‘Food Network Star,’’ I got so tired of hearing people tell me that the reason they should have their own show is that they love food so much. Well, so freaking what? I love food. We all love food. If we don’t, we die. Even supermodels in New York secretly love food. That doesn’t make you special. And people who want to be stars often make the mistake of thinking that it does, and that if they can just show you how much they love it, they will somehow become compelling. This is not the case.

Seems as if what they actually love is convincing you that they love food. At best, love is the gasoline. It’s not the car.

You gave a speech in Washington a few years ago, and it was reported that you said that if you’re dumb enough to eat fast food three times a day, you should just die and get out of the way of the rest of us. Well, I don’t remember saying that! I do, however, believe that if you’re going to eat fast food three times a day and then complain about it, there is a problem there. But the price gap between junk food and real food only seems to be widening, so I wouldn’t say that anymore. We have designed our system to force people into nutritional slavery.

You’re a big believer in self-reliance and responsibility. Do you see cooking as a form of self-reliance? I am, and it is. I get that there are people who can only afford to fill their stomachs with bad, cheap food. But I do think that most of us need to actually take responsibility for what we’re putting in our mouths. Obesity is not a disease. Can it be caused by diseases in certain rare cases? Yes, but the second that our society starts thinking that shoveling Big Macs into our face is a disease then we’re done, we’re done as a culture.

You also fly your own plane, and I read that you carry a gun. Is that true? It depends on where I am. But yeah. I have guns. I have an office in a questionable part of town, and I’m often working there rather late at night. I have been accosted before, so I may or may not be armed at certain times.

Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, recently made a video in which he cooked bacon on the barrel of a gun. Would you recommend such a technique?There are so many other cheaper, easier ways to cook bacon.

BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Bilbao, Spain) and its U.S. subsidiary, BBVA Compass, announced the selection of two Miami Dade College (MDC) / Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) students who will complete apprenticeships under the famed Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca, which landed at No. 1 on Restaurant magazine’s influential World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year. 

As part of its three-year partnership with El Celler de Can Roca,, BBVA is sponsoring the four-month culinary internships including all travel and lodging costs. 

Marcelo Sardina and Sachi Statz  will embark on their four-month culinary and cultural journey at the Girona, Spain-based El Celler de Can Roca, where they will work side by side with the Roca brothers: Head Chef Joan, Sommelier Josep, and Pastry Chef Jordi Roca.  “This opportunity is priceless,” said Chef Collen Engle, MCI chair. “To work and learn at the best restaurant in the world is a dream come true for these students. The internships furthers our mission and our continued efforts to have a culinary school that is global in scope.” 

Marcelo Sardina and Sachi Statz were chosen from a group of 10 MCI students who assisted the Roca brothers and their staff in prepping meals for 200 BBVA Compass clients and invited guests aboard the SeaFairMiami, a luxury yacht on Biscayne Bay.   

For more information, visit www.miamidadeculinary.com

To coincide with the official re-opening of the US embassy in Havana on Friday, August 14, Miami will be sizzling with a unique culinary exchange and cultural engagement.  http://www.CubaStudyGroup.org/ChefExchange2015  

From August 10 through August 14, the third installment of its Cuba Entrepreneurial Exchange Program, The Cuba Study Group has invited four of Cuba’s Top Chefs for a week of exchanges with Miami-based chefs during which each Cuban chef will spend a day at a different restaurant to work alongside their hosts.

The week culminates on Friday, August 14 with a demo for MDC Miami Culinary Institute students at 10 a.m. and with a stellar interactive culinary fundraiser at Tuyo restaurant where Chefs participating in the exchange and their Miami-based hosts will whip up exciting dishes for one-hundred guests. Cost: $150. Proceeds will support the Cuba Study Group’s Entrepreneurial Exchange Program. This exchange is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The dinner limited to 100 guests takes place at Tuyo, Downtown Miami, on Friday, August 14, at 7 p.m.  To purchase tickets and RSVP log on to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/interactive-cuban-culinary-experience-tickets-17925285010

Among the Cuban delegation: Chef Luis Alberto Alfonso Pérez of El Gringo Viejo; Chef Michael Alejandro Calvo Oviedo of Atelier; Chef Yamilet Magariño Andux of Andux; and Chef Gilberto Smith Álvarez of Pizzanella.

The Miami-based chefs are: Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk of Area 31; Chef Bernie Matz of Bodega; Chef Alberto Cabrera of Bread and Butter; Chef Santiago Alvarez of Cantina la 20; Chef Michelle Bernstein of Seagrape and Crumb; Chef Douglas Rodriguez of De Rodriguez Catering ; Chef Tomas Prado of Golden Fig; Chef Victor Santos of Tuyo; Chef Miguel Aguilar of Wynwood Kitchen and Bar; Chef Steve Hosang of Sushi Maki

 

harvest.moon1

 

On August 1st tickets go on sale for The 14th annual Deering Estate Foundation’s Wine On Harvest Moon (WOHM) event.

 Wine On Harvest Moon, benefitting The Deering Estate Foundation, takes place Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 7:30-10:30 pm, at Deering Estate, at 16701 SW 72 Avenue in Palmetto Bay. Capacity is limited and tickets are priced at $150 for Deering Estate Foundation members and $175 for non-members. RSVP  305.235.1668 x263 or visit www.deeringestate.org  to purchase. All proceeds from this signature fundraising event benefit the Deering Estate Foundation.

harvest.moonThis year’s  theme of Spirits, Spells & American Lore celebrates the allure of American folklore through the fine wine and spirits of the continental U.S., the tasty vittles paired by top local chefs, and the delight of the macabre to the mysterious in entertainment, including chilling musical performances, haunting vignettes, contemporary art, and an enticing live auction.

 Lobsters

Photo: Florida spiny lobsters caught Wednesday morning during lobster miniseason sit on ice in a cooler (The Miami Herald)

The two-day recreational Lobster sport season starting on Wednesday July 29, ended at midnight Thursday July 30.

The commercial and regular recreational spiny lobster season opens August 6 and runs through March 31, 2016.

Officers with the state Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and federal and local agencies patrol to ensure that lobsters are caught in legal areas,  are not egg-bearing females and are of legal size (the carapace length must be at least three inches).

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/outdoors/article29270560.html

Fine Vintage and the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables have teamed to offer three levels of internationally recognized WSET certification. The courses are taught by wine expert Lyn Farmer - James Beard Award-winning wine & food writer, educator, judge and broadcaster - on the following dates:

Level 1 - Saturday, October 17, 2015 - $349

Level 2 -  Sun/Sat/Sun, Nov. 1, 7 & 8, 2015 - $950

Level 3 - Sat-Mon, Oct. 3-5 & Fri-Sun, Oct. 16-18, 2015 - $1,525

For information and registration:    www.FineVintageLtd.com

 

Juli Soler, a restaurateur who put Ferran Adrià in charge of the kitchen at El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain, and helped him transform the restaurant into one of the most innovative centers of gastronomy in the world, died on Monday at his home in Rubí, near Barcelona. He was 66. 

To read full story, log on to: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/08/world/europe/juli-soler-the-restaurateur-who-found-the-chef-ferran-adria-dies-at-66.html?smid=fb-share

Mr. Adrià announced the death in apost on Twitteron Monday. The cause, reported in the Spanish press, was degenerative nerve disease.

Mr. Soler became manager of Hacienda El Bulli, as it was then known, in the early 1980s, when it was one of Spain’s few Michelin-starred restaurants. He removed the “Hacienda,” which he hated, and hired a talented, modern-minded young French chef, Jean-Paul Vinay, who added a second star to the restaurant in just two years.

When Mr. Vinay left to start his own restaurant in 1984, Mr. Soler began looking closely at a young chef he had hired as a line cook, whose ferocious work ethic and creative streak intrigued him.

“Ferran was Frank Zappa,” Mr. Soler, a passionate rock ’n’ roll fan, told Colman Andrews, the author of “Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food.”

Within 18 months, Mr. Adrià was head chef, and Mr. Soler turned him loose to experiment wildly in the kitchen. In 1990, when he and Mr. Adrià became joint owners of El Bulli, the two began using the restaurant as a base of operations to develop a host of new ventures and experiments that sealed El Bulli’s reputation as the most daring and influential restaurant of its time.

“Without Juli, El Bulli would not have happened,” Mr. Adrià told the Madrid newspaper El País. “He invented the concept of the modern dining room, of a dynamic restaurant that was comfortable and informal.”

Joan Roca, the chef atEl Celler de Can Roca, told the newspaper: “Without being a chef, Juli was one of the most important and influential figures in Spanish and global cuisine. He was a seer.  It was he, together with Ferran, who invented El Bulli’s magic.”

Juli Soler Lobo was born on May 31, 1949, in Terrassa, north of Barcelona. As a boy he worked as an apprentice waiter at a small spa hotel where his father was the headwaiter. He later helped his father run a factory canteen and worked front-of-the-house jobs at several restaurants.

As a rock enthusiast who rarely missed a Rolling Stones concert, he ran a record shop for several years in the 1970s and helped a friend open a discothèque before landing an interview with Dr. Hans Schilling, who owned El Bulli with his wife, Marketta.

 “The doctor seemed to like my plain-speaking explanation of how, as far as I was concerned, the most important thing was for people to have a good time, and that they also knew how to do so,” Mr. Soler wrote for theEl Bulli website. “However, my worldly wisdom and experience of fine food and wines, and even knowledge of the trade, were not up to par, even for a beginner.”

Mr. Soler embarked on a tour of self-education that took him to the finest restaurants in France, Belgium and Germany. He developed into a renowned expert on Spanish wines.

After El Bulli closed in 2011, Mr. Soler, often described as “the soul of El Bulli” and credited as co-author of many of Mr. Adrià’s cookbooks, served as honorary president of the El Bulli Foundation, a kind of culinary think tank. He stepped down a year later because of declining health. He is survived by his wife, Marta; a daughter, Rita; and a son, Pancho.

proseccoWine producers are warning of a global prosecco shortage later this year into 2016, with significant price increases.

After a massively successful campaign to promote Prosecco and educate consumers worldwide, the world had become hooked to the reasonably-priced, deliciously fresh and versatile Italian champagne-like bubbly.

But it was too good to last. Expect to serve something else at your party this coming year as wine producers are warning of a global prosecco shortage as a result of a significant decrease in yield  due to heavy rainfall in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene regions of the Veneto in northern Italy, where prosecco is produced;  lower production due to the new, recently planted vineyards not being ready to harvest;  and increasing demand – increases in the UK and US were 65% and 35% respectively, according to Enore Ceola, Managing Director of Mionetto USA.

“Although these factors will certainly affect all Prosecco producers, those with long-standing history and well-established relationships with vineyard partners, will prevail through these challenges,”  said Enore Ceola.  “With 130 years of experience and over 40-year relationships with its growers, Mionetto is capable of remaining strong during this challenging time.”

The North American Sommelier Association (NASA) is offering an  Italian Wine Immersion Course taught by Diego Meraviglia, Vice President and Director of Education.  The 4-day course, designed for wine enthusiasts or professionals, leading to a certification exam is produced by NASA and sponsored by Just Quality Importer Inc. (Miami Beach.)

Classes begin on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at Ironside Pizza situated in Miami’s historic Upper East Side, continue through Tuesday, June 30th, and conclude with the exam on Friday, July 31st.

The cost is $650.00 and includes all texts, wine colors charts, tastings that cover 30 wines representing all Italian wine regions, and a NASA promotional membership. A $50.00 discount is offered for anyone registering before May 29, 2015. To register, visit:  http://www.nasommelier.com/courses/italian-wine-specialist/#miami . For information, call 305.244.8272 or email miami@nasommelier.com

 
Owners could face prison time if they don't donate unsold items to charity !  Read story in http://www.grubstreet.com/2015/05/france-food-waste.html?mid=emailshare_grubstreet

oilive oil

 

 What country do you think is the second largest olive oil producer this year? It's Tunisia! That's right. While the olive crop in other countries declined, Tunisia's crop was abundant. The remarkable climb to become the world's second largest olive oil producing nation, second only to Spain, is a huge accomplishment. Many of these olive oils are created by artisan producers. These craftsmen create the delicate flavors of their olive oils by using methods steeped in ancient traditions. These secrets are what creates a superior product.

Read story in : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/franco-lania/tunisias-liquid-gold-oliv_b_7263602.html

From Monday, May 25, through Sunday, May 31, RA Sushi will host its 11th annual, “Nicky’s Week” fundraiser to help kids battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

During Nicky’s Week, RA Sushi will donate 100 percent of sales from a variety of menu items and beverages to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The special Nicky’s Week menu includes: Edamame, Tootsy Maki, Shrimp Nigiri, Pork Gyoza, Sesame Garlic Chicken, Garlic Citrus Yellowtail, plus a variety of select beverages.

Since its inception, Nicky’s Week has raised more than $1.5 million because unlike any other hospital, the majority of funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital comes from individual contributions. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, thanks to community support, no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for anything including treatment, travel, housing or food, so that they can focus on helping their child live.

afwc 003Winemakers from many of the country's top vineyards showed off their best pours at the 8th American Fine Wine Competition gala, held for the first time this year at the Hardrock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. In addition to California, wines came from Washington Oregon, Ohio, New York, Virginia and Texas. Vintners cannot pay to participate in the competition; they must be invited.

The evening began with a reception featuring passed hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction. Then it was time to move into the dining room, where stations set up around the perimeter offered the opportunity to taste many of the more than 700 wines in the competition.

Before dinner, guests saw a video about Deliver The Dream, this year's AFWC designated charity. They heard about how it provides retreats and respite for families caught in crisis, and some participated in a fundraising effort from the stage.

The four-course dinner included Dungeness crab with apple chutney; balsamic poached beets with roquette arugula; grilled filet mignon and Chinook salmon filet; and a dessert duo of chocolate opera cake and apple and goat cheese mousse. As servers delivered the cuisine, wine "angels" moved among the tables offering samples of various vintages.

Photos Jana Danger: Sharin Gherman and judges Sylvie Gervais

The gala capped several months of smaller events that included evening tasting receptions; a wine carnival and consumer challenge; a kick-off reception; a post-judging party; and an awards ceremony.

afwc 020A panel of 27 knowledgeable wine professionals with palates well-trained in evaluating a wine's balance, length, complexity and finish had judged the many vintages earlier this year. For a wine to receive any particular AFWC medal, 75 percent of the panel must agree it deserves the honor. If all the judges vote to give a particular pour a gold medal, the wine receives a double gold.

This year's winning winemakers and wineries were:

Maldonado Vineyards, represented by Hugo Maldonado; Bruce Kane, winemaker at The Winery SF, Howell Mountain Vineyards, Sol Rouge and Sottomarino; Chappellet Winery, represented by Cyril Chappellet; von Strasser Winery, represented by owner and winemaker Rudy von Strasser; Brooks Painter, winemaker at V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa; and Michael David Winery, represented by owner Dave Phillips. Taking Best of Show honors were: White, Maldonado Family  2012 Chardonnay, Los Olivos Vineyard (this wine won two years in a row); Red, Cairdean Vineyards, 2011 Cabernet Franc; Dessert, Glenora Wine Cellars, 2014 Riesling Ice Wine; and Sparking, a tie between Domaine Carneros 2008 Le Reve and Hagafen Cellars, 2012 Brut Cuvée.

Now in its eighth year, the AFWC was founded by Shari Gherman and Monty and Sara Preiser with the goal of creating a first-class wine invitational in South Florida, which is one of the three largest wine consumption areas in the country. Since its beginnings in 2007, it has grown significantly and attracts wine aficionados and novices alike. 

crystal champagne 

Gregory Balogh and colleague showcase Louis Roederer Crystal champagne at the Maisons Marques & Domaines MMD Tour Grand Tasting at the Perez Museum, featuring the owners, winemakers and principals representing the properties within the Maisons Marques & Domaines portfolio.Other highlights of the multinational tasting:

From France:
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Domaines Schlumberger
Domaines Ott
From California:img_2750
Scharfenberger Cellar
Roederer Estate
Carpe Diem
From Italy:
Pio Cesare
Querciabella
Castiglion del Bosco
From Spain:
Marqués de Murrieta
Pazo Barrantes
From Portugal:
Duas Quintas
Ramos Pinto Porto
From South Africa:
Meerlust Estate
Fleur du Cap
The International Chardonnay Symposium, May 28-30, will be held in Pismo Beach and Avila Beach, CA. The three-day festivities include panel discussions, tastings, dinners and excursions. Here are some highlights:
 
May 28
Artisanal Sausages & Chardonnay, featuring Antonio Varia of Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats
To Oak Or Not To Oak?: Exploring Chardonnay as the Chameleon of Vitis Vinifera, moderated by Brian McClintic, MS, Proprietor of Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Santa Barbara, CA
Exporting Wine to China, moderated by Kevin Rice, K2RI
 
May 29
The Fashion of Chardonnay: Examining Winemakers’ Stylistic Influence on Chardonnay, moderated by Nicholas Miller, Bien Nacido Vineyards, Santa Maria, CA
Wisconsin Cheese Complements Acclaimed Chardonnay, moderated by Laura Werlin, Cheese Author & Educator
Grand Tasting showcasing producers of premium Chardonnay from around the globe
La Paulée Dinner and Vintners Awards Ceremony hosted by The SOMM Journal
 
May 30
Diversity in Balance:  Pairing Chardonnay and Food, moderated by Bob Bath, MS, Wine Instructor for the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa, CA
Hanzell Vineyards and Mount Eden Vineyards Retrospective Tasting, moderated by Fred Dame, MS
Grand Tasting showcasing producers of premium Chardonnay from around the globe
Taste Like a Somm: Double Blind Winemaker Dinner, located at the beautiful Gardens of Avila.
 

To make reservations:  Nathan Haydon at Parker Sanpei, Nathan@ParkerSanpei.com.     For additional details log on to www.TheChardonnaySymposium.com

The James Beard Foundation Unveils 2015 Culinary Scholarship Opportunities – More than $500,000 in Scholarships and Grants Available

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, the James Beard Foundation (JBF), the country's preeminent culinary organization, will begin accepting applications for its 2015 scholarship program.

Aspiring chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers and beverage experts around the world can submit their applications. A total of over $500,000 in scholarships and grants will be available, the largest amount in JBF history!

Application forms will be available at http://sms.scholarshipamerica.org/jamesbeard beginning on April 1, 2015. All scholarship application materials, including transcript, must be postmarked by May 15, 2015. Professional grant applications must be postmarked by June 15, 2015. Scholarship winners will be notified in August 2015.

Published: 25 Mar 2015 http://www.thelocal.fr/20150325/french-restaurants-hounded-into-using-doggy-bags

doggy bag 

Is there a place for doggy bags in French dining culture? Photo: Ipwrangler/Roland/Flickr

 

Long snubbed as the risible trademark of boorish Anglo-Saxon diners, the doggy bag is set to make its appearance in France, a top restaurant body said on Wednesday.

The idea of taking uneaten portions of meals home has been frowned upon for decades in France, but the Union of Hotel Professions (UHP) said doggy bags had become necessary to combat the problem of food waste.

The European Union says restaurant left-overs represent 14 percent of the growing squander.

In a sign that even tradition-bound dogs can learn new tricks, a recent poll in the south-eastern Rhone-Alpes region found that 95 percent of the 2,700 people questioned were prepared to use doggy bags after dining out.

The UHP said it has signed an agreement with the aptly-named TakeAway company to supply restaurants with microwave-friendly boxes and sacks as it seeks to "generalize the use of doggy bags".

SEE ALSO: Why the French don't do restaurant 'doggy bags'

TakeAway is even offering specialized bags in which diners can carry unfinished bottles of wine -- something even shamelessly doggy-bagging American tourists would hesitate to ask for.

A 2012 law sought to increase recycling of waste, forcing restaurants to sort and reduce what they threw away, with wider use of doggy bags being one way of scaling back food waste.

But with France still being France, someone must now come up with an appropriately French rendering of what remains the very Ango-Saxon term "doggy bag".

Speaking to The Local previously, Laurent Calvayrac the founder of a French green packaging company, and a doggy bag proponent, said his countrymen are taught from an early age to eat everything on their plate.

“Like many French people I was raised with the instruction ‘You will finish what I put on your plate’. So even now when I go out to eat, no matter the size of the portion, I finish everything even if I’m full,’ Emballage Vert founder Calvayrac told The Local. “So doggy bags are simply not part of the French way of doing things.”

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news.france@thelocal.com)

 

Food & Wine Talk Radio

 GELATO WORLD TOUR, RIMINI 2014, ITALY
 
Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
 
 
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa

 
 

Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta

 
 

Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

 
 

Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  

 
 

James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine

 
 

Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue

 
 

Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 

 

 

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