Just as movie stars vie for an Academy Award and television stars wish for an Emmy, food stars dream of taking home the ultimate prize in the culinary industry: a James Beard Award. Honoring a commitment to excellence, the James Beard Foundation recognizes those restaurants, chefs, and food and spirits professionals who’ve proved they and their businesses offer the quintessential dining experience — something to which their peers can aspire. In New York City last night, nominees from 20 categories, including Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Restaurant, gathered in Avery Fisher Hall with some of the biggest names in the industry, like Food Network’s own Anne Burrell, Ted Allen and Aarón Sánchez, for the chance to earn a coveted Beard medal.
Before the ceremony got under way, nominees, presenters, past winners and Foundation members strutted their stuff on the red carpet, and FN Dish was on hand to chat with them. For these passionate chefs and food people, there’s seemingly no insurmountable kitchen task or meal they couldn’t create flawlessly at home, but, still, given the award-worthy meals coming out of top-notch restaurants, Dish editors were curious: What meals do restaurant chefs prefer not to make themselves, and indulge in only when dining out?
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Restaurant owner. Professional chef. Author. Chopped judge. Chopped All-Stars Champion. Philanthropist.
Marcus Samuelsson’s list of accolades is a long one, and after yesterday’s James Beard Foundation Books, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, it became even more impressive. At New York City’s Gotham Hall surrounded by renown chef superstars, the leaders in food writing and the who’s-who in the culinary industry, including his Chopped peer and event host Ted Allen, Marcus accepted the Writing and Literature award for his latest book, Yes, Chef: A Memoir. He’s now a four-time James Beard Award-winning chef, having been lauded as Rising Star Chef and Best Chef: New York City and for Best International Cookbook in 1999, 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Telling the story of how Marcus moved from his birthplace in Ethiopia to Sweden and later to New York City, Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus’ lowest and highest moments both personally and professionally. The book was published in 2012, just two years after he opened his dream restaurant, Red Rooster, in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, allowing for the crisscrossing of cultures and cuisines in the area. After thanking his wife and family for believing in Yes, Chef, Marcus gave “a special shout out to Harlem” before returning to his table to celebrate.
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Much is made of the importance of eating organic, community-supported, farm-to-table cuisine, but for many chefs across the country, sustainable choices are difficult to make, oftentimes simply because of a lack of information. Chefs Collaborative, however, a nonprofit organization, is committed to educating culinary industry professionals on how to best purchase ingredients, partner with vendors and plan menus in an effort to help them offer the most-wholesome meals possible.
Founded 20 years ago on the basis that food should be “local, sustainable [and] delicious,” Chefs Collaborative celebrates the natural beauty of seasonal selections and believes that food tastes better when it’s intelligently grown and responsibly sourced. This network of more than 12,000 chefs, restaurateurs, culinary experts and business specialists, among them kitchen superstars Michael Anthony and Bill Telepan from Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern and Telepan Restaurants, respectively, has teamed up not to merely tell their peers a right way to buy and prepare their food, but instead to give them the tools and resources to do so efficiently in ways that make sense for them. Part of their mission is to “build a strong membership base of hundreds of members across the country,” and, in doing so, begin a nationwide conversation about making sustainability a key focus for chefs everywhere.
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On Friday, May 3, the James Beard Foundation will have its annual Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards. And this year, Food Network’s own Ted Allen has the honor of hosting the event, one of the biggest in the culinary world. Ted isn’t a stranger to the awards — last year he was the winner for best Media Personality/Host for Chopped, beating out Ina Garten and Sara Moulton. Chopped also won for best Television Program in a Studio or Fixed Location. With all his experience hosting, the JBF awards should be a piece of cake for Ted. But does he have anything to fear?
We caught up with Ted to chat about his hosting responsibilities, his view on the awards ceremony and what he thinks is the next big thing to look out for in the food world.
Read Ted’s interview below
New York City may be known for its myriad of posh bakeries, cupcake hot spots and sought-out dessert destinations, but tomorrow, there will be just one place to go to find the ultimate collection of sweet treats: Grand Central Terminal. Sandra Lee is lending her voice to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and hosting the World’s Largest Bake Sale alongside fellow Food Network chefs Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay, plus Martha Stewart, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and others. In the heart of Manhattan at this 100-year-old landmark, these food superstars will dish out thousands of classic and creative baked goods donated by local chefs, and all proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength as they work to end childhood hunger in America.
Want to pick up a few treats and meet Sandra, Bobby and Guy? Support Share Our Strength’s World’s Largest Bake Sale by stopping by Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City from 10 am until 7 pm tomorrow, May 1. If you’re not in the area or can’t make it to Grand Central tomorrow, read more about the event and find out how you can help the #WorldsLargestBakeSale on Twitter.
During the months of April and May, Alex Guarnaschelli’s schedule will be filled with book signings across the country for her first book, Old-School Comfort Food. Check out her book tour schedule below to see if she’ll be in a city near you.
While you’re there, have Alex sign a copy of Old-School Comfort Food:
Monday, April 8: New York City
Event: 4:30-7:30 p.m., Kraft Kulinary Event at Columbia University
Wednesday, April 10: Bridgewater, N.J.
Event: 2:30-4:30 p.m., Costco (signing)
Click here for Alex’s entire book tour schedule
Food Network chef Anne Burrell got a thumb’s up from First Lady Michelle Obama Monday at the White House’s Easter Egg Roll, which drew 30,000 people to the South Lawn for fun that went far beyond eggs. “A little love in your food makes everything taste better,” Anne told Mrs. Obama, prepping pasta with broccoli rabe pesto and sausage as a family-friendly all-in-one-meal idea for visitors. “Kids, you would eat this at home, right?” the First Lady asked, getting a big “yes” in reply. Mrs. Obama said the dish — a nourishing mix of protein, veggies, good fat from olive oil and pistachios — tasted cheesy enough to be kid-friendly but sophisticated enough for date night. Watch the video here and get the recipe over on the Let’s Move blog.
“It’s the perfect ratio of pasta to sauce,” Anne said. “When you finish the pasta you should have just enough sauce left to take the last of your bread and get that little bit, wipe it up so your plate’s clean. Then you can put your plate right back in the cupboard because you’re part of the clean-plate club.” Anne was on stage in the Play With Your Food area along with White House chef Cristeta Comerford, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses (pictured above) and other food-famous folks including Al Roker and Ina Garten; there, visitors followed up egg-rolling by peeking into the garden that supplies the First Family with fresh vegetables year-round, eating jelly beans and learning how long it takes to work them off (30 seconds each) and trying out tennis and basketball on the White House courts. The eat-well-move-more activities were in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to reduce the rates of childhood obesity in the United States.
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Batter up! The 2013 Major League Baseball season opens tonight with the Texas Rangers at the Houston Astros. Long before the seats get filled, though, the concession stands will be busy getting ready for crowds that will consume countless hot dogs, hamburgers, and even macaroni and cheese. If you find yourself in stadiums in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota, San Diego, St. Louis or Texas this season, you’ll want to check out Food Network’s stands.
New home-run offerings include Red Hot Burgers, mac and cheese carts, tacos, quesadilla carts and sandwich stands.
Back this season in Cincinnati and St. Louis are the custom hot dog bars: Satisfy your craving for all-American classic ballpark fare with a quarter-pound hot dog served on a potato roll. And it doesn’t stop there. Top your dog with the basics: barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish and sauerkraut. Plus, choose from Food Network favorites: bacon chunks, fried onions, corn chips, griddled onions and peppers, shredded cheddar, smoky baked beans and a smoky-sweet jalapeno relish.
Headed to the park this season? Check out Food Network’s menus for the following stadiums.
Click here for the menu
While you may have mastered the art of preparing dinner for your immediate family, have you learned the secrets to entertaining a crowd of partygoers at home? Shopping and cooking for, as well as serving, a meal at a big-bash party invites questions and challenges that you may not face when planning everyday eats and drinks: What are some go-to dishes that will please a diverse group of guests? How much food is needed to feed everyone? What’s the best way to serve multiple courses?
No one can answer these questions better than restaurant chefs, those who’ve made a career out of cooking for large groups of people and who know the ins and outs of preparing to host a crowd. Elizabeth Karmel, owner and executive chef of Hill Country, Elizabeth Falkner, owner and executive chef at Krescendo and a two-time competitor on The Next Iron Chef, and Hedy Goldsmith, executive pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, Fla., showed off their exemplary party-throwing skills in New York City last weekend at the fifth annual Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market, supporting the James Beard Foundation‘s Scholarship for Fulton Youth of the Future and Wellness in the Schools. Together with more than a dozen of their chef colleagues, these ladies cooked a six-course feast for nearly 300 people that included such deliciously inspired bites as caponata with creamy burrata, pasta with sweet onions, tender jumbo prawns and pear crostata.
FN Dish was on hand not only to see the orchestra that’s needed to successfully pull off an event of that magnitude but also to find out from Chefs Karmel, Falkner and Goldsmith how home cooks can utilize similar tricks and techniques when entertaining on a smaller scale.
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How many times have you searched for the ultimate recipe only to find one that’s nearly what you’re looking for but features perhaps a single ingredient or flavor that you simply can’t bare? When that happens, do you scrap the recipe altogether, vowing to find one that’s perfect, or do you settle for the undesired taste because the rest of the recipe fits the bill? We caught up with Iron Chef Michael Symon at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and he told us that instead of an all-or-nothing approach to recipes, look at them as detailed suggestions you can use to build the dish that best suits your tastes.
“Let your palate be your guide,” Iron Chef Symon said. He was reminded of a time that his father suffered through a batch of salsa that, while it was made according to its recipe’s instructions, boasted cilantro, an herb his father doesn’t like. Looking back on the moment now, Iron Chef Symon recalled that it would have been perfectly acceptable for his father to swap in other “soft, leafy herbs” for the cilantro so as to keep with his preferences and ultimately allow him to enjoy the dish.
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