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Everything posted by AlexForbes

  1. Well, I only ate at MB once, but I was completely wowed by the extremely knowledgeable staff, the beautiful setting and above all the sophistication of preparations and presentatiions, everything ever so light and carefully studied, quite a spectacle. I'd say one of the top 5 meals of my life, really.
  2. Thanks very much for all this! I also managed to find out more through his P.R. people and thought I'd share it here: - he IS part-owner of Mugaritz, as I had suspected, a "silent" partner, as it were - "Desde enero de 2006, Martín Berasategui ofrece un asesoramiento gastronómico al Hotel Condes de Barcelona en el restaurante “Lasarte”." - which means he does not own it. - He officially took over the Bodegon Alejandro in 1981 (and got a Michelin star in 86).
  3. Thanks for the info, Ginger Chef, but what's the hotel restaurant in BArcelona called?
  4. Well, I figured I should come to the experts to find out some missing details in a piece I am writing about the chef. Here's what I haven't yet figured out: - When did his mother Gabriela and aunt Maria let him take over the family-owned El Bodegon Alejandro? Was the Michelin star, awarded in 1986, all his doing? And how rustic, exactly, is the food they serve? - He apparently did a stage at Ducasse's Louis XV in Monaco in 88, and opened his own restaurant, Martin Berasategui, only in 93, twenty years after starting to learn cooking. So is it safe to assume that until 93 he was essentially the one in charge of the Bodegon? When did his mother and aunt retire? - What, exactly, is his involvement in Andoni's Mugaritz restaurant? Is he part-owner, or merely a mentor? - Very little is said or written about his other San Sebastian restaurant, Kursaal, located at the Palacio de Congresos. How come? Pedro et al, can you help? thanks so much!
  5. and here's a press release I got from the local tourism association... Mouvement Solidarité Auberge Hatley Sherbrooke, le 30 mars 2006 – La direction de l’Auberge Hatley, Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est et le CLD de la MRC de Memphrémagog en collaboration avec les hôteliers et les aubergistes de la région mettent sur pied une opération de solidarité pour re-localiser rapidement les employés de l’Auberge Hatley. Tous ces partenaires estiment qu’il est essentiel de s’assurer que les employés de l’Auberge Hatley, qui constituent une ressource d’excellent calibre pour notre industrie touristique, pourront demeurer dans la région. Ainsi, les employés de l’Auberge Hatley sont invités à un «Salon de l’emploi » qui se déroulera le lundi 3 avril prochain à 13 h 30 au Manoir Hovey de North Hatley. À cette occasion, ils pourront rencontrer en privé des employeurs potentiels de la région. Les employeurs du secteur hôtellerie/restauration intéressés à faire du recrutement sont invités à s’inscrire et à transmettre leurs besoins d’effectifs à madame Joyce Émond de Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est au (819) 820-2020 ou par courriel au je@atrce.com. L’INSCRIPTION DES EMPLOYEURS EST OBLIGATOIRE. Sources : Michel Vauclair Aubergiste Auberge Hatley (819) 842-2451
  6. I didn't see anything, because I was skiing at Tremblant... My sister-in-law Hilary and brother-in-law Jeremy and Hovey's sommelier Steven walked over with sandwiches and hot chocolate for the staff, who were all standing around watching the place burn, crying. The crazy thing is everyone could hear the wine bottles popping, as the wine boiled and expanded. The next day, the Auberge's sommelier came to thank them in person, and once again began to cry. Everyone is very emotional.
  7. Oh, and I forgot to say, for those who are fans of the Auberge's great restaurant staff, that some of them had left the inn a couple of months ago to open their own place, called Le Bouchon, in downtown Sherbrooke. The inn's ex-maître d', sommelière and chef (one of them, anyways) are all working there. The place overlooks a river and serves bistro-type food - not as high end as the Auberge. I suspect that more A.H. staffers may join the team in the near future, now that they are out of jobs...
  8. Not only do I live in North Hatley, but my husband's family owns the neighbouring inn, the Manoir Hovey. Needless to say, we're all in shock. Next Monday, Hovey is hosting a meet and greet where local business owners (restaurants, B&Bs, etc) will have the chance to chat with the Auberge's staff and hopefully hire most of them (everyone was left jobless, of course). Here's an article that ran in the local paper, The Record, not available online: SHERBROOKE - An Eastern Townships landmark was completely destroyed on Monday when the posh five-star Hatley Inn in North Hatley was engulfed in flames. One of Quebec's finest and most exclusive inns, the three-storey Colonial-style gray-and-white clapboard manor that sat atop a hill with a magnificent view of Lake Massawippi was once a discreet getaway for a number of celebrities, including including French President Jacques Chirac and his first lady who sojourned there in 2003. Built in 1903 as a private residence, the 25-room hotel was decorated with fine antiques, and was renowned for its multiple award-winning country dining room and famed wine cellar with more than 1,100 vintages. The formal dining room was one of three restaurants in Canada to have the prestigious title of Relais Gourmand. Innkeeper Michel Vauclair said there were no guests at the inn when the fire broke out in a third floor room. The inn has been closed from Sunday to Thursday for renovations and there were fewer than 20 people in the building when the fire broke out around 1 p.m. "The evacuation ran smoothly," Vauclair told reporters at the scene. "About three minutes after the fire was declared, everybody was out. The firemen arrived minutes after our initial call." Vauclair said the fire spread quickly through the centre part of the building -- the oldest part. He noted that while the building had a sprinkler system, the fire spread above the sprinklers through the attic. "When the firemen arrived, flames were coming out of the roof," he said, adding that the fire was caused by a plumber who lost control of a welding torch. North Hatley fire chief Randall Kent said old buildings like the inn have lots of air pockets between walls and ceilings, allowing fire to feed on oxygen and spread quickly. "And when the roof opened up, the oxygen fed it. It took off and we couldn't stop it." Kent said the call came in to the 911 emergency call centre at 1:09 p.m. The fire department got the call at 1:15 and firefighters were at the scene by 1:20. By then the fire had been burning for a while and the flames were spreading rapidly, Kent said. "Apparently they tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher and that wasted valuable time," Kent said. "Every minute that goes by is a valuable minute." A few hours later, as flames engulfed the whole building and a growing plume black smoke spewed out over the village and Lake Massawippi, the loss was clear. Vauclair learned at 2:30 p.m. that firefighters had given up trying to save the historic inn. "They're pulling out," the devastated innkeeper said. "They're going to go on the defensive. Basically it's a loss." "It breaks my heart." Fire chief Kent said the fire had become too dangerous for his men. "There was too much smoke and too much water," he said, noting one firefighter had to be taken to the hospital after his eyes were hurt by the flames. The fire department called in reinforcement soon after arriving. A team from Magog arrived with 15 firefighters and a ladder. Waterville sent a dozen men and a pumper truck that sucked water out of the Massawippi to help douse the flames. The Ayer's Cliff fire department arrived with reinforcements around 4:30 shortly after the wing that housed the restaurant burst into flames. Hatley Inn is part of the prestigious Relais et Chateaux international chain of luxury hotels. It was bought out two years ago by Le Groupe Germain which runs successful boutique hotels in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto. "This is one of the jewels in the chain," said Christiane Germain, co-owner of the group. "This hurts. It really hurts." The old wooden building was the oldest and possibly the most beautiful in the chain. "It's absolutely irreplaceable," she said, noting that aside from the heritage building, the place has a soul that is now gone. "The good side is that no one was hurt. For us that's very important." Germain said it's too early to say if they will rebuild. "We've been in business quite a while and this kind of thing happened before and we did rebuild," she added. "But it would never be the same." "It's too early to say what the next step will be," Vauclair said, noting that they will regroup employees and try and keep morale up. "Once the smoke settles, we will evaluate the extent of the damage and what our options are." While the owners, managers and staff took stock of the fire and the impact on their lives, people in the community were also feeling the loss. "This is a real loss for the auberge and for the town too," said fire chief Kent, as his team tried to douse the stubborn flames. Dozens of onlookers looked on in horror as the flames spread and parts of the building toppled. Mayor Stephan Dore, who was heading back from lunch when he heard about the fire, thought it was just a small blaze. "But when I got to the town hall they told me all of the media and fire trucks were there, I realized it was major." While owners and managers could not immediately evaluate the value of the loss, Mayor Dore said the property and buildings were evaluated at around $2 million. That does not include antiques and furnishings, not to mention one of the best wine cellars in the province with a collection worth more than $1 million. Damages could total some $5 million.
  9. Just got back from 3 days wining and dining in Montreal (especially loved Club Chasse et Peche and Garçon), and can't wait to see if my impressions correspond to those in the Gourmet issue, and to read Lesley's highly-praised piece, but sadly.... can't get my hands on a copy! I live 1 hr. from Montreal, and even at our local magazine shop, in nearby Sherbrooke, the magazine has sold out. Who would ever guess Sherbrooke had so many foodies! So if anyone knows where I can get a copy, pls. let me know. Thanks!
  10. Me again. I just wanted to clarify that I had a wonderful time at the MF, and posted that hyperlink of that blog only to allow those who didn't go to the event to be exposed to different points of view. It did help, of course, to be there on official assignment, having access to great seats, a fully-equipped press room (which chefs like Keller used as well, to check their email), the chef's room, where participating chefs had lunch and mingled, a bus to take us journalists to and fro our hotel, the new and ultramodern Puerta America, etc. etc. etc. But above all, it was an amazing opportunity to chat with and interview some of the chefs I most admire. And as for the blogger's complaint that food was served too late in the afternoon, I agree, which is why I hung out at Joselito's stand, munching on some of the world's best jamón.
  11. For those wanting to read more about the Madrid Fusión, I stumbled upon a food blog written by a Panamanian chef, half in Spanish, half in English, with a scathing review of her experience there (and lots of great photos). I had a very different experience than hers, but anyways, for those of you interested, here's the link http://elenahernandez.blogspot.com (sorry, couldn't figure out the hyperlink feature). scroll down a lot and you'll find her post Madrid Fusion 2006 - The Spanish Inhospitality , among others.
  12. Pedro and Bux, I couldn't agree more. Having now read the full article (and yes, I do understand Spanish although my first language is Portuguese), it is quite clear that Fonalleras is praising Ferran's madness. I'll make my point by quoting yet another passage of the article: "Don't look at (Ferran's) madness with a smile of commiseration, with the commonplace dismissal of (his) gastronomy as a mere prank or malabaristic play on words. (...) His is the madness of someone who is sensible enough to state that " the time to theorize has come. To taste well one must read". Pedro, sorry if I translated a bit freely... So, once again: Ferran does indeed have the last laugh.
  13. Exactly, Pedro. I was at that same presentation, and agree that there's much still to be studied and explored in the domain of canning, and other types of food processing. Andres even wanted to share with the audience his awe of Cheez Whiz! But I don't want to open this can of worms... I'll have to run for cover!
  14. Touché, Vserna. But from your comment above I am led to believe that all canned things improve with time, and yet I am pretty sure that, as with wine, the rising curve reaches a peak and then starts to descend. Please enlighten me: after how many years of aging does a sardine start to develop rancid flavours? And how does a sardine age differently than, say, oysters? And must they be kept at wine-cellar-like conditions, or is a hot kitchen pantry just as well? What if you inject different gases into the tin to tweak the aging process? Are you sure the French know all there is to know about this? Are you sure Ferran won't surprise you with a new take on this (and other) subjects? About the Madrid Fusion: qualified press and a few hand-picked chefs attend for free. Others must pay an entrance fee of 650E, plus 10E for each seminar.
  15. Harold Mc Gee and José Andres, in their joint presentation at the MF, reminded us that many techniques now used in restaurants like El Bulli and WD-50 were first developed by the food industry, and Ferran, when commenting on his own manifesto, said that the contributions from the food industry have been invaluable to him as a chef. The whipped cream syphon being one of many examples cited by McGee and Andres. The next frontier is trying to determine how food ages in cans - which ones taste better after a certain time, which ones don't. So yes, they are experimenting with processed foods, but that's not a bad thing! Ferran and his peers are trying to find answers to questions never before asked (as far as I know), such as whether a canned sardine in tomato sauce will taste better after 5 yrs, improving with age as a good red wine would.
  16. I know Ferran is passionate about products from his terroir, even if he doesn't state that clearly on his manifesto (especially the seafood). OTOH, I've got him on tape saying that he recently had some cherries from Chile, in Barcelona, which were some of the best he'd ever had, and "so what if they're not in season?" He believes you can use products from all over the world, as long as you subject them to your own way of cooking, to your own traditions.
  17. Hi famous food replicator... (a printer that prints using edible paper and ink and the resulting print out tastes sort of like whatever the image on it is showing), among other things.
  18. Ferran and Charlie Trotter watching Homaru Cantu's presentation.
  19. Speaking of Wylie and Ferranism, another chef has officially joined "the movement", with a Wylie alum in tow. On Jan. 16, NY magazine published: "Alex Ureña has been working in New York kitchens almost since he arrived from the Dominican Republic at age 15. He started out washing dishes at the River Café before graduating to pastry and garde-manger, spent nine years with David Bouley, opened Blue Hill with Dan Barber, and became executive chef at Marseille and Suba. Between gigs, he ricocheted around France and Spain, soaking up experience from masters like Roger Vergé and Ferran Adrià. Stimulated by Spain’s gastronomic revolution and its pervasive effect on the culinary avant-garde, Ureña officially joins their ranks this month with his modern Spanish restaurant, the kind of place that assumes a certain foodie familiarity with phrases like mustard paper and chorizo emulsion. Like-minded pastry chef Caryn Stabinsky, a WD-50 alum, bakes her own bread and takes a playful approach to dessert—one of them, called "Breakfast," involves wheat toast cake, Bulgarian feta, maple caramel, and rosemary oil."
  20. Speaking of winelovers, ANTOINE KREYDENWEISS from the Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, in Andlau, will host a tasting dinner at Toqué ! on Feb. 21. The following night, he drives out to the Townships to lead another tasting dinner at Manoir Hovey, in North Hatley, for which no price has been set yet. It's sort of an Off-festival thing (as in Off-Broadway). It'll be quite small, 28 people max., to keep it intimate. BTW, the whole lineup for the Festival is online, on this page of their official website
  21. Hi again, I have been very busy transcribing everything I've got on my digital recorder to my hard drive, and I was seriously considering posting Ferran's live comments to each point of his manifesto, which might answer some of the questions raised in this forum. Yes, it's true the translation was too loud and often faulty, so I am very glad I recorded Ferran himself, and not the English translator. I will have to wait 2 weeks to post all this, as this is something I'm working on for Brazil's equivalent of Gourmet magazine, called Gula (www.gula.com.br) and it wouldn't be fair to them to spill the beans here first (plus, I've got to translate all of it). Answering your question about what else was interesting at the MF, I will also describe, for the same publication, all the kooky tools and machines which were presented (a machine which steams from the inside out, a huge distilling machine, Homaru's flavour replicator, etc etc). I will post pics of these when I have some free time! A.
  22. Needless to say, everyone has hanging to his every word, including chefs Keller, Cantu and many others. Before his manifesto, he played a video of an Italian couple dining at El Bulli, focusing on their emotions, and not on the food, showing them chewing, laughing, sipping, etc. If I knew how, I'd post a couple of my pics...
  23. Yes, and Ferran is the first to admit this, and makes it clear that his manifesto is a starting point, not at all set in stone. He wanted to trigger precisely the discussion we are now having.
  24. "The brevity of the manifesto compared to the books cannot be minimized in its importance in today's world. The books are there to back up the manifesto with evidence that the manifesto is not mere rhetoric, but what the restaurant is actually doing." Docsconz, I couldn't agree more with all you've said above. Furthermore, Ferran's books, justly, cost a fortune, and therefore are available to a lucky few. This manifesto, however, is something many more people can read, especially now that I translated it into English and posted it here (he wants word to spread), and that is exactly what he is trying to do: lay claim to this movement, which, like it or not, is gaining in strength every month, and every time a new chef opens a restaurant somewhere serving Ferranist cuisine.
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