Click here to read main story in the NYT 

In a sweeping change to how most of its 1,800 employees are paid, the Union Square Hospitality Group will eliminate tipping at Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and its 11 other restaurants by the end of next year, the company’s chief executive, Danny Meyer, said on Wednesday.

The move will affect New York City businesses that serve 40,000 to 50,000 meals a week and range from simple museum cafes to some of the most popular and acclaimed restaurants in the country. The first will be the Modern, inside the Museum of Modern Art, starting next month. The others will gradually follow.

A small number of restaurants around the country have reduced or eliminated tipping in the last several years. Some, like Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, put a surcharge on the bill, allowing the restaurants to set the pay for all their employees. Others, including Bruno Pizza, a new restaurant in the East Village, factor the cost of an hourly wage for servers into their menu prices.

Union Square Hospitality Group will do the latter. Menus will explain that prices include “hospitality,” and checks will not provide blank lines for a tip. “There will be one total, as if you were buying a sweater at Brooks Brothers,” Mr. Meyer said.

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It's white truffle season and MALIA WOLLAN tells us how best to find them in The NYT magazine Click here to read full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/magazine/how-to-find-truffles.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=0

‘‘Hunt at night,’’ Matteo Gatti says. During white truffle season (mid-September through December), Gatti and his fungus-sniffing dogs walk the Italian countryside from midnight until morning, seven days a week. In the daytime, other truffle hunters crowd the landscape crying, ‘‘Cerca, cerca!’’ (‘‘search’’) to their excitable dog packs. ‘‘When the sun is out, there are too many other smells in the forest,’’ says Gatti, 44. Always wear a headlamp and attach LED lights to your dogs’ collars — ‘‘that way you can see where the dog goes when he is deep in the bushes.’’

Don’t leave the digging to your dog; even a trained one will mar the delicate lumps. Once a dog indicates it has detected the earthy funk of a mature truffle, use the small, trowel-like tool that Italians call avanghettoto unearth it. The first truffles to mature — at which point their scent becomes detectable by dogs — will be near the surface, but as winter progresses you will need to dig deeper to find ripe specimens.

On a good night, Gatti might find $5,000 worth of the mottled, cream-colored fungi, which are prized for their rich flavor and scarcity. Unless you plan to eat them all yourself, sell your truffles immediately. Once disinterred, they rapidly lose water weight. In Italy, brokers are currently paying about $185 to $195 an ounce for the highest-quality finds. Last year, Gatti dug up a 4.16-pound white truffle near his home in Umbria that later sold at Sotheby’s for $61,250. But don’t do this for the money. ‘‘The truffle is a passion,’’ Gatti says, ‘‘and you need that passion to find them.’’

If the sun comes up and you’re empty-handed, or if you find yourself exhausted after months of graveyard-shift hours, remember that at least you have a dog to work with. Men like Gatti’s grandfather relied on the snouts of unruly and insubordinate hogs. ‘‘Pigs just want to eat the truffles,’’ Gatti says. ‘‘Dogs are much easier to work with.’’ He owns six lagotto romagnolos, the preferred canine breed for the job. ‘‘If you are just starting out, get an expert dog,’’ he says. ‘‘A dog can teach its owner to find truffles.’’

uncorkedBased on the documentary "SOMM,” "Uncorked" charts the journey of six of New York's hottest wine stewards as they attempt to pass The Master Sommelier Test.

Master Sommelier is more than just a title; it’s a badge of honor - and to earn it you need to be a wine expert in mind, body, and spirit – an achievement measured by passing one of the world’s most grueling exams. 

Only 230 people across the globe have passed the test in its 40 + year history, but this accomplishment allows a person entry into one of the world’s most exclusive clubs, where membership can lead to some of the most desirable jobs in the food and wine industry. 

Produced by Left/Right productions, and based on the fascinating documentary "Somm," this one-hour, six-part docu-series will chronicle six aspiring Master Sommeliers preparing for, and finally attempting to pass, this ultimate test. 

 UNCORKED premieres Tuesday, November 10 at 10/9c only on Esquire Network.

UNCORKED is produced by Left/Right with Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman serving as Executive Producers. The directors of the documentary “Somm,” Jason Wise, and Christina Wise, and Peter Goldwyn also serve as Executive Producers.  

Ferran.AdriaThe Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) at Miami Dade College (MDC) will welcome world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià alongside an all-star lineup of international chefs for the Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress Monday, September 21.

 

The event will kick off with other chefs conducting a private demonstration with 50 MCI students at noonfollowed by the Congress at 7 p.m. This is a private event but some tickets have been made available while supply lasts at http://www.giltcity.com/miami/estrelladammgastronomycongresswithferranadriamiamiseptember2015

 

The Congress will include a live cooking demonstration as restaurant insiders learn the latest culinary trends and techniques from other influential chefs from Spain.  Adrià, rose to fame as the head chef of elBulli, a three-star Michelin restaurant that has been rated No. 1 among the world’s best restaurants for a record five times by Restaurant Magazine. His avant-garde, deconstructionist cuisine changed culinary history. He is the world’s most awarded chef and winner of “Chef of the Decade” in 2010.

 

Joining Adrià at the Congress to explore the topic of “The Changing Face of Modern Gastronomy” is Fran Agudo, head chef at Michelin star rated Tickets Bar in Barcelona, which was voted 42nd in the ‘World’s Best Restaurants of 2015’; and David Gil, creative pastry chef for Albert Adrià’s restaurants in Barcelona.

 

Additionally, Adrià along with Lluís Garcia, director of the elBulli foundation and former elBulli restaurant director, will provide a presentation focused on the future of “the restaurant” as a concept, as well as the evolution of elBulli into the elBullifoundation, which is a creative think tank for the culinary world with the mantra of "eat knowledge to nurture creativity”. Adrià and Garcia will also provide details about their work with the Heart Ibiza and the Cirque du Soleil projects.

 

Adrià also consults as a Brand Ambassador to the Barcelona-based brewery and event presenter Estrella Damm, which will donate a $5,000 scholarship to MCI during the student demonstration at Noon.

 

Guests at the Gastronomy Congress will receive complimentary passed tapas, Estrella Damm beer and a copy of Albert Adrià’s latest recipe book,Tapas: The TICKETS Cuisine.

 

MDC’s Miami Culinary institute has been a regular stop for the world’s top chefs, from the Roca brothers and Juan Mari Arzak to Lidia Bastianich and Scott Conant and many others.

WHAT:           Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress

 

WHEN:           Monday, September 21

                        Student Demonstration: Noon

                        Welcome Reception/Registration: 6pm

                        Start of the Gastronomy Congress: 7pm

WHERE:        Student Demonstration: MDC Wolfson Campus, Building 9, 3rdFloor

                        Room 9301, 415 NE 2ndAve

                        Reception/Gastronomy Congress: MDC Chapman Conference Center,

                        Building 3, Room 3210, 2nd Floor, 245 NE 4th Street

 

This is a private event but some tickets have been made available while supply lasts at http://www.giltcity.com/miami/estrelladammgastronomycongresswithferranadriamiamiseptember2015

Saturday September 26,  11am- 630pm. Matter Of Taste Miami , Vip Preview: 12 Noon- 1pm , Walk-Around Tasting: 1pm-6pm    Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is bringing its inaugural Matter of Tastet our to Miami, with 150 iconic wines of South America and Spain, rated 90+ points by The Wine Advocate and handpicked by wine expert, Luis Gutiérrez,    Tickets to the walkabout tasting are specially priced at $50 for eRobertParker.com members (master classes will be priced separately). Non-member tickets are $99 and will include a free one-year, annually renewing membership to eRobertParker.com.    Moore Building, 4040 Ne 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137

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.

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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Wine On Harvest Moon-Spirits, Spells & American Lore, Sat 10/24, with Veronica Litton,Crown Wine & Spirits, Chef Julia Ning, Station 5 Table and Bar  

 
 

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.  

 
 

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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