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Everything posted by Andrew&Karen

  1. <<But I wouldn't mind hearing what, in Mr. Bruni's view, is the difference between two and three stars, or between one and two - a standard I don't recall any recent reviewer explaining. It would be a most interesting discussion, and also a quite valuable one.>> When Ruth Reichl was the TIMES' critic, we asked her about her definitions, which we wrote about in our book DINING OUT: Secrets of America's Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurateurs. There are general TIMES guidelines for each starred category (0 to 4), but they are applied through the individual critic's lens. (We'd be happy to post her comments, if there's interest.) We're with the majority, we think, in being much-relieved -- excited, even -- by Bruni's passion both for food and the restaurant experience in his debut review. However, we're just as disappointed by what we thought to be a couple of glaring oversights: namely, the space and attention devoted to BABBO's desserts and wine. (To be fair, these areas have also been overlooked by other recent TIMES critics, and not just Bruni.) First, only ONE 51-word paragraph (of this 31-paragraph article) was devoted to the work of pastry chef Gina DePalma, who for the past two years has been one of five finalists for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef nationally. Six years between TIMES reviews seems to be a long time to wait for the mere acknowledgment that your desserts are "almost always wonderful." Second, only two paragraphs (a grand total of 54 words) were devoted to BABBO's extraordinary wine program overseen by Joe Bastianich and David Lynch -- 22 of those words being about the "unusually deep dimple" of the wine decanter. Come on....Just last month BABBO won the 2004 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service. Wouldn't it make sense to mention some of the things that set apart BABBO's wine program, not to mention DePalma's desserts, as so extraordinary? We hope to see these areas given more attention, when warranted, in future reviews -- just as we hope to see the passion and promise conveyed in this review to continue. Just as it has been the TIMES' policy to refrain from reviewing a restaurant until making three or more visits to it, we should refrain from passing judgment on a single column. However, even the TIMES came up with its "Diner's Journal" feature as a means of expressing early enthusiasm for promising restaurants. We'd like to chime in with our early enthusiasm for Frank Bruni's promise as the TIMES' new critic. Welcome to New York, Frank. Karen & Andrew http://www.becomingachef.com
  2. We were in Vancouver last week on our book tour for THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF (locals can keep an eye out for a piece by Mia Stainsby in the Vancouver Sun in the coming week or two), and ended up eating not once but twice at Vikram Vij's RANGOLI. On our first visit, we especially loved the lamb and pork curries...and on our second, we were sent the crabcakes to try, which were delicious. But mainly we went to try the Indian coffee, which Vikram was disappointed we'd missed on our first visit. Andrew was told that the beans are imported then roasted to order by the same company that custom-roasts the beans for Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. Our second visit also gave us opportunity to see the Bollywood films which air in the bathroom stalls...which Vikram pointed out are positioned as only viewable from a certain (i.e. "seated") angle! We were delighted to learn that Vikram is one of several prominent Indian chefs being featured at a Monday, June 7th dinner at TABLA in our home town of New York City -- a special event celebrating "New Indian Cooking in America" featuring Madhur Jaffrey, Thomas John, Jehangir Mehta, Suvir Saran, VV and of course Floyd Cardoz, executive chef of TABLA. We wouldn't dream of missing it! Karen & Andrew Our visit to Vancouver, etc.
  3. We suspect other fellow eGulleteers might also find Molly O'Neill's new article "Food Porn" in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue of the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW of interest: http://www.cjr.org/issues/2003/5/foodporn-oneill.asp (Credit goes to Jenifer Lang for mentioning it to Karen at dinner the other night at Le Cirque.) Karen & Andrew
  4. We hear your point, and agree that it's worth being curious and sometimes even concerned about the forces that drive chefs to do what they do. And we share your concerns about cooks who are aiming to cook at a level that they themselves have never experienced. When researching CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, we became convinced that dining out is a vital aspect of any chef's culinary education. The opening paragraphs of CHEF'S NIGHT OUT read: "What does it take to become a great chef in America today? Certainly education -- either as an apprentice or, more than ever before, in professional cooking schools -- and experience in the kitchen are important. A profound understanding of ingredients, and the flavors and techniques that will best enhance their taste, is vital -- along with a commitment to excellence at every step of the way. "But leading professional chefs across America agree that the most important aspect of a professional chef's development is eating out. What most of the general public do for sustenance, and many restaurant lovers do for entertainment, is the lifeblood of an ambitious chef's professional development. "'I am a huge advocate of chefs learning to cook by eating in good restaurants,' says Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (Chicago). 'I recommend that constantly. The first thing that anyone who's serious about becoming a chef should do is save up every penny they've got and eat at the best restaurants in the country. And not just once -- they need to go regularly.' "Bob Kinkead, chef-owner of Kinkead's (Washington, DC), agrees. 'I have always been of the opinion that I learn a lot more by dining in restaurants than by working in them,' says Kinkead. 'That's how I saw the big picture of what a restaurateur aims to achieve....'" We'll look forward to checking out your links. [Oh, and FYI, there's an entire chapter of THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF up on Amazon.com as of today, we think.] Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  5. Thanks for the tip -- we'll hope to keep you posted! Cheers, Karen & Andrew P.S. We keep the world posted on our upcoming book tour at http://www.becomingachef.com/news_and_events.php
  6. Hi Nick, We shudder at the thought!! ; ) Karen & Andrew
  7. We'd heard of Community Coffee when researching our last book CHEF'S NIGHT OUT: From Four-Star Restaurants to Neighborhood Favorites -- 100 Top Chefs Tell You Where (and How!) to Enjoy America's Best. Among the sections on chefs' favorite spots in each of 28 different markets, Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's in New Orleans (a self-described "coffee junkie") mentioned that his favorite coffee is Community Coffee: "Coffee with chicory is so much a part of our culture in New Orleans. Sometimes I remember to bring it with me when I travel, but when I don't -- boy, do I miss it! New Orleans coffee is full-flavored, and has a dark, roasted richness to it that I have not seen anywhere else. The chicory gives it a bitter flavor, but in a pleasant way. Community Coffee is the brand I drink which has a bunch of cafes called CC's. Another place is P&J's. Both are at the top of my list." Since CHEF'S NIGHT OUT was essentially a travel guide (as well as a guide to chefs' #1 source of learning: dining out!) published in 2001 -- just as the economy tanked so people were already traveling less and then 9/11 stopped them from traveling altogether -- it didn't have the audience of our previous books. (We were also told by readers that its $29.95 cover price didn't help matters!) But it's even a great read for armchair readers. We've never tasted Community Coffee ourselves, nor visited many of the wonderful restaurants (at all price points) that leading chefs told us were their favorites, but it's been incredibly instructive to learn how chefs think about food and restaurants. In addition, each of the 100 chefs featured also tells what they hope diners will get out of dining in their restaurants -- which, too, was eye-opening for us. In any case, thanks for chiming in about the deckled pages of CULINARY ARTISTRY -- we appreciate the feedback. It's great to know for other books we're planning along these lines (now who was asking about our next project??). ; ) And if you get to taste those blueberry muffins, let us know if they don't live up to Karen's enthusiastic recommendation and more! ; ) Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  8. Hi ExtraMSG, If you had forced yourself to eat a Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Burger King yesterday (as we both did, to be able to address another question in eGullet.com's Q&A), perhaps you wouldn't feel that great ingredients were so prevalent! We took it as proof positive that there's still a long way to go to raise the level of quality in American food -- not at the level of haute cuisine, but at the level at which most Americans eat on a daily basis. That's one of the reasons we're supportive of the fact that the Chipotle Grill chain is serving Niman Ranch pork. It makes quality accessible not only to those dining at a high-end restaurant, but to office workers grabbing a $6.50 burrito for lunch or dinner. It's also an example of the fact that mass production doesn't have to equal generic. It's really a matter of values -- values of the producers, values of the retailers, and values of the consumers. Niman Ranch stands for something. Chipotle Grill stands for something. And every consumer votes with their wallet as to what they stand for (to paraphrase Chapter 10 of BECOMING A CHEF). Our collective decisions are what will determine the quality of food in America in the long run. Best wishes, Karen & Andrew P.S. Oh, and as for branded ingredients on menus -- did you know that certain producers offer discounts if their names are featured as such on menus? Given that that's the case, it doesn't seem to be going away any time soon....
  9. Hi ExtraMSG, You're right -- some of America's leading chefs don't always respect the "Tradition" of the cuisines that serve as their reference points in cooking. But "Traditional" (what we refer to as the North point on the Culinary Compass we describe in our excerpt from THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF which appears elsewhere on eGullet.com) doesn't always equal "delicious." If you go to many Thai restaurants in Thailand, you'll get overcooked food -- because that's what's "traditional." But at Vong, Jean-Georges Vongerichten treats his ingredients with great care and cooks them with a different sensibility in mind. Likewise, Rick Bayless has told us that Mexican natives will eat at Frontera Grill or Topolobampo and tell him that a particular mole is never served in Mexico with anything but a particular meat -- yet Bayless will argue that, while not "traditional," the mole is a delicious accompaniment to other meats, such as in the combination featured on his menu! You might especially enjoy reading the excerpt from THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF on eGullet.com for more on this topic. Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  10. If we can find a host for a stop in Portland, we'd love to include it on our itinerary! We haven't had the pleasure of visiting in a few years, since our aforementioned visit to Powell's Books for Cooks. Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  11. Hi ExtraMSG, You're of course referring to the fact that our publisher left the pages uncut of our first three books, for more of a "rustic," "artsy" look. Thanks for the feedback that this hasn't allowed the book to be as user-friendly as it should be, as we hadn't heard it before. We do believe form should follow function, so it's helpful to know! And we're especially delighted to know that this inconvenience hasn't prevented you from finding CULINARY ARTISTRY "a great book"! We appreciate the kind words! Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  12. Oops....No wonder you never discovered those muffins in Lambertsville (NJ) -- I think I'd meant to write Carversville (PA), which is across the bridge and a bit further down River Road, as I'm sure you know. (It gets a bit confusing out there because these tiny towns in Bucks County are so close together.) We have friends who've had a house on Fleecydale Road in Carversville, from which you hang a right onto River Road and go less than a quarter mile or so to the General Store, which also serves wonderful deli sandwiches and has a selection of gifts, cards, and local travel and New Age books -- in addition to the single best blueberry muffins I've ever tasted in my life! Most blueberry muffins have 10-20% fruit, tops. I swear, these muffins are at least 40-50% fruit -- they're absolutely loaded with big juicy blueberries, with just enough batter to hold the blueberries together. I honestly can't eat any other blueberry muffins after having tasted them, because they've spoiled me for life. Community Coffee? Have you spent much time in New Orleans, and/or did you find a great mail order source? Cheers, Karen
  13. Dear Andrea, It would be in the hope of assuring a lifetime supply of pork products (if the two of them in fact hit it off, that is)! ; ) Best wishes, Karen & Andrew
  14. We have been surprised to find so many CULINARY ARTISTRY fans here on eGullet.com -- but perhaps we shouldn't have been. We've found readers of our books to be of a certain ilk in general, but when it comes to their favorite of our books, it's been a case of "Tell me what you read, and I will tell you who you are" (to paraphrase Brillat-Savarin). CULINARY ARTISTRY fans definitely tend to be among the most intelligent, literate and passionate of our readers. (It's not a book for beginners; it takes a certain amount of "having been around the block a few times" to "get" it.) And we've been very pleasantly surprised to find eGullet participants as sharing those characteristics in spades. Happy to hear that Nach's got a copy of THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF in the window at Kitchen Arts & Letters! By the way, another great feature of the book is that at the end of every chapter, Nach shares his recommendations as to the best places to turn to read more about each cuisine. His picks, and his descriptions of why he recommends them, are worth the price of the book alone! As for our next project....Gee, are you sure you don't mean to rush us?? We just got the two books that are coming out next month to the printer last month -- and we haven't even had time for a vacation yet before we head into book tour starting in a couple of weeks! Speaking of upcoming travels, we'll provide a link here later to some of our upcoming book tour stops (on our Web site under "News & Events") -- we'd love to get to meet some of our fellow eGulleteers while we're on the road! Best wishes, Karen & Andrew http://www.newamericanchef.com
  15. P.S. The discussion got us both curious to try the Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Burger King, which Rick Bayless is endorsing. The sandwiches we were served at our local Burger King (on 47th Street, between Third and Lexington Aves. in Manhattan) this afternoon looked nothing like the sandwich pictured in a recent issue of ADWEEK, which depicts the chicken breast as topped with lots of vegetables. Instead, ours was topped with lots of strikingly vinegary and salty red sauce -- and a few onions and peppers. For $5.49, the value combo included a sandwich, a salad with Caesar-style dressing, and a bottle of water. The sandwich was not overly large, which was refreshing given the oversized sandwiches we've come to be used to in NYC/America. The bread had great texture -- soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. On the other hand, it had absolutely zero flavor. The chicken breast itself was surprisingly moist -- so much so that it did not appear to be grilled at all (which is emphasized in the sandwich's advertising), but rather grill-marked and poached (or, more likely, microwaved!). The tomato sauce with onions and peppers definitely struck us both as more Italian than Southwest. Was it delicious? No. Would we order it again? If we were traveling on an expressway and Burger King were our only option for sustenance, maybe -- but probably not. (We'd like to think we'd both hold out for something with some real character and flavor!) Given the bottles of Rick Bayless's wonderful salsas that are a constant in our refrigerator, we both imagined how infinitely better the sandwich would have tasted if they got rid of the Italian red sauce and topped it with Bayless's salsa instead! Now THAT would be a development to get excited about! Burger King executives, are you listening?!? Karen & Andrew http://www.newamericanchef.com
  16. Hi Robert, Many thanks for your post. As we went off on this topic a bit in August (8/10/03) on the subject of The New York Times Magazine cover story on Ferran Adria of El Bulli, perhaps you might wish to search eGullet.com for that posting so as not to bore others who might have already read it! (Andrew and Karen's post on the article is here -- JD) It's an interesting topic about which we could write a book -- or at least a few chapters! We'd love to see more discussion on this on eGullet.com. What are your thoughts, and your perspective? Andrew & Karen http://www.newamericanchef.com
  17. Thanks for your kind comments, and your question. It's funny -- you're right that we have long considered our primary audience for our books to be professional chefs. However, we were just as surprised as anyone else when our publisher did some marketing research on who was actually buying our books (based on a bind-in postcard that appeared in the back of the first edition of BECOMING A CHEF and CULINARY ARTISTRY) -- and they learned that buyers of those books were in fact equally divided between chef wannabes and passionate enthusiasts such as yourself who were simply interested in the subject! That helps to answer your question about how home cooks (and other food and restaurant enthusiasts, which is how Karen really sees herself -- she probably cooks less than anyone else in the world who knows as much about food as she does!) and how they've changed in the past decade or two: They tend to know more about food than ever! Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco has commented to us how tough it is these days to stay one step ahead of the customer in order to be able to delight and dazzle them as a chef -- customers tend to be reading, watching cooking shows, taking cooking classes, visiting the Greenmarkets, traveling, etc. so much that sometimes his customers will be the ones telling him about a new ingredient or technique they've seen or read about or heard about! With customers' knowledge on the rise, the pressure on chefs to innovate is greater than ever -- to provide the best ingredients, the newest techniques, the most innovative flavor combinations. Coupled with the unprecedented availability of ingredients from around the world, innovation hasn't always been a good thing. (Just witness all the so-called "fusion" efforts condemned as "confusion"!) The ingredients' availability in markets and on grocery store shelves has managed to outpace our knowledge of how to work with all of them effectively. Enter THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF: We interviewed a few dozen of the smartest and most insightful culinary experts on the planet on each of 10 popular cuisines that are influencing the way we cook and eat in America today. We wanted to help inform cooks who might be intimidated to pick up one of Rick Bayless's or Alain Ducasse's or Lynne Rossetto Kasper's treatises on Mexican, French or Italian cooking to learn from those experts themselves: What is the gist of Mexican, French or Italian cooking? If you're just starting out cooking one of these cuisines, or trying to work with ingredients that are indigenous to any of them, what MUST you know? THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF never pretends to be a comprehensive exploration of any of the 10 featured cuisines (which also include Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Moroccan). Rather, we just hope to interest some of those home cooks and/or chefs to master some of the basics before they make some big mistakes (e.g. such as glopping melted cheese and sour cream on some poor defenseless enchilada and calling it "Mexican" food). Too, we especially hope to interest people who are just starting their explorations of exotic cuisines to fall in love with them as we have, and spur them on to WANT to pick up the great tomes of Bayless, Ducasse, and Kasper -- not to mention Batali, Sahni, Simonds, Vongerichten, Wolfert and the literally dozens of other culinary experts featured in the book's pages. Mastering the ingredients and techniques of other cuisines is a challenge that is shared by professional cooks and home cooks alike in the new Millennium -- and we hope that THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF is able to play even a small role in helping readers get their arms around what could otherwise be a daunting topic! Best wishes, Andrew & Karen
  18. Hi Michael, Great questions/comments/observations -- thanks for posting them! We're happy to know how helpful you've found both BECOMING A CHEF and CULINARY ARTISTRY to your career development -- and hope you'll enjoy THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF just as much! In the new edition of BECOMING A CHEF coming out next month, we interviewed several additional bakers and/or pastry chefs (including Gina DePalma of Babbo, Marcel Desaulniers of The Trellis, Emily Luchetti of Farallon and Amy Scherber of Amy's Bread) to get their take on the field. Emily seemed to share your concern that pastry too often used to go overlooked ("pastry was an after-thought") -- but also observed how that seems to be changing, with more books and TV shows featuring pastry chefs (e.g. from Gale Gand to Jacques Torres). She also said that pastry has become so important in its own right in restaurants that it's unlikely that anyone today would be promoted from line cook to pastry chef (as she was at STARS)! Andrew helped Lydia Shire open Biba in Boston in 1990, and credits her with respecting desserts as much as savory food -- so much so that she was one of the first chefs to lead the charge in pricing desserts like appetizers. Virtually no one else was charging $7+ for desserts at that time -- certainly not in Boston! Lord knows the extraordinary desserts of pastry chef Rick Katz (ex-Spago and Stars) were worth it!! The new edition of BECOMING A CHEF goes into some of your questions about the distinctions between personalities that tend to gravitate toward the line versus pastry. In a nutshell, the former ("savory" cooks) tend to love the action and the adrenaline and teamwork of cooking during "dinner rush," while the latter ("sweet" cooks or bakers) tend to prefer having a little more control, precision, and independence. In Myers-Briggs terms, Karen would stereotype line cooks as more ESTP and pastry cooks/bakers as more INFJ -- but she admits that's a pretty broad generalization. (Gina DePalma of Babbo characterizes the differences as, "Pastry is much more thoughtful and, to some, more tedious than blasting out prep for service!" In the new book, we also differentiate between bread bakers and pastry chef. As bread baker extraordinaire Amy Scherber describes it, "Bread baking is technical, but pastry is more exact." She also jokes that the stereotypes she saw in France were that the pastry chefs were "sugar hounds," while the bread bakers were "Mr. (or Ms.) Natural." ; ) Best, Karen & Andrew
  19. Nothing makes a native Michigander like Karen prouder than to return "home" to Detroit to enjoy dinner at one of the best restaurants in the United States: TRIBUTE! Takashi and Michael are an impressive team indeed -- and with Mickey added to the mix, it's an unbeatable combination! ; ) Karen & Andrew
  20. Hi Judy! How nice to "bump into" you here on eGullet.com! Karen has lovely memories of our conversation over lunch together at Higgins in Portland. (Any of you here on eGullet.com who love books as much as you love food would be well-served to tap Judy's expertise.) Thanks for your very kind words about our books. We hope it didn't sound like a "spoiled brat" comment if we in fact said such an unthinkable thing at some point in our lives. "Too much foie gras?" Today it sounds almost as unimaginable as "too many perfectly-ripe peaches" (we jest, referencing the list we just compiled of our Desert Island ingredients)! How has what we eat (or don't eat) been affected by our research? Well, a decade ago, we considered ourselves very adventurous eaters and would have said that we eat "everything." However, while researching our book DINING OUT, we asked leading restaurant critics across the United States about the strangest things they'd ever eaten, and their lists included: worms fried in lard braised goat penis Japanese mountain potato cured grasshoppers sea slugs snake bile wine stingray burritos testicles of a bull that had fallen in the ring to the matador etc. Believe it or not, we've never again been able to bring ourselves to say that we eat "everything"! ; ) Karen & Andrew
  21. It's hard to address your question, which is sort of like being asked, "Are stereotypes true?" Some stereotypes are rooted in fact, others aren't. All we can really share is our experience. Andrew recalls the time a few months ago when he accompanied our photographer Mike Donnelly to cooking schools to capture shots of culinary students for the new edition of our book BECOMING A CHEF that's coming out next month. He was pleased to find that virtually all of the students he met were serious and earnest and asking good questions. He's been in enough restaurant kitchens to know when someone's head is "not in the game," and didn't run across any of that. It could be that the cost of culinary schools are helping to screen out people who are less dedicated. We're not sure what you mean by your question about older chefs' enjoying their "new aristocratic status" -- do tell! Karen & Andrew
  22. We're delighted by your kind words for our book CULINARY ARTISTRY -- not to mention our author photo, which was taken by Mike Donnelly, the wildly talented photographer who has shot the photographs for our books DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and the newly-revised edition of BECOMING A CHEF. (It's on our Web site's home page in the upper left-hand corner of www.becomingachef.com, so you don't even have to buy the book to get to see it! The photo, by the way, is a rather miraculous one: We HATE having our picture taken, and Mike is so good that he managed to capture this shot in between moments of our being incredibly self-conscious.) Great question -- what 10 ingredients would WE take with us to a desert island?? We've answered this before, but instead of looking up our previous answers, we thought we'd put ourselves in the hot seat (just like we did to the chefs we interviewed for CULINARY ARTISTRY) and give you our spontaneous answers. So, here they are at 8:45 pm on 9-24-03 -- after eight hours of travel today, and five hours of sleep last night!! (In other words, we might be a LITTLE punchy....) ANDREW: 1) chicken 2) corn 3) garlic 4) lemon 5) arugula 6) two pigs, one male & one female 7) white peaches 8) fresh thyme 9) aged Parmesan 10) red wine (California Zinfandel) KAREN (admitting that her first choice would be to land on Andrew's island, because everything sounds so good): 1) perfect peaches and/or mangoes 2) blueberry muffins from the little store on River Road in Lambertsville, PA (Bucks County), which are FULL of wonderful fresh blueberries 3) Epoisses cheese 4) soft-shell crabs 5) Terra chips 6) Quady Elecktra 7) iced tea 8) the tonkatsu special from Katsuhama in Manhattan: fried pork cutlets with grated cabbage and amazing homemade dressing plus the kimchi, rice, miso soup, etc. that come with it 9) Chock full o'Nuts French Roast coffee (as rated the #1 French Roast coffee in the June 2002 issue of COOK'S ILLUSTRATED) 10) Andrew (who I know could cook me something delicious out of anything that might be found on the island and/or in the sea!!) Now, what would YOU take with you to YOUR island?? Cheers, Karen & Andrew
  23. We've been away from the computer since dawn, as we've been working on a menu development project for a corporate client that took us to the Boston area today. When developing new products, we like to come at the "solution" from several angles: What is the current environment? What are the emerging trends? And, most importantly, who is the customer and what do they need/want in this environment -- and what are they likely to want in the future, given the trends? Some solutions are more specific. In Andrew's catering business (Andrew Dornenburg Private Dining), he caters many at-home business and social dinners for clients that draw on his creativity. For example, he's been asked to develop a menu for a going-away dinner for a client's guest of honor who was about to leave New York City for San Francisco. The menu Andrew prepared drew on everything from oysters served with Anchor Steam beer, to the Mission District for chile-rubbed quail paired with a California Zinfandel, to a detour to Berkeley for Meyer Lemon Sorbet, to a finale in Ghirardelli Square for a chocolate souffle! We explore the principles of culinary composition as they relate to composing dishes and composing menus in our book CULINARY ARTISTRY, which you may find of interest. Best wishes, Andrew & Karen
  24. Hi Brad, It's hard to know where to start, because it's not just the chefs I've worked with who have influenced me, although indeed they have -- I've written about the influences of Chris Schlesinger, who gave me my start at the East Coast Grill; Lydia Shire, who opened my eyes to "food without boundaries" and gave us the most delicious wedding ever imaginable (at Biba); Anne Rosenzweig, who helped to refine my approach to food at Arcadia; and others, including sous chefs like Paul O'Connell (who's gone on to make a name for himself in Boston), Susan Regis (who's done likewise), Rebecca Charles (now of Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC), and Tony Bonner (who's Rebecca's lunchtime sous chef at Pearl), etc. Studying with Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs was the single most inspirational episode in my culinary education. For a change, it was great to have the luxury of time to be able to taste and talk about the dishes we made -- and to be outdoors while doing it made us all feel an even stronger connection to the food we were preparing. In addition, Madeleine could talk about the science of cooking as easily as she could the artistry that went into each dish. I recommend Madeleine's book THE MAKING OF A COOK to anyone who's serious about food -- it's a brilliant book by a brilliant woman. Andrew
  25. We had just read that, perhaps in a posting on the Chefs and Cooks on the Internet discussion list (cooks@foodcircle.org, we think) -- but haven't researched the facts of it at all, so we can't comment on that specifically. However, we do think it's great when restaurant chains do things worth lauding -- anything to help improve the quality of food available in this country (or anywhere else) at all price points. For example, a Chipotle Grill, which we've read is partially-owned by McDonald's, just opened in our neighborhood in Manhattan (44th St. & Lexington Ave.). They are a burrito and taco chain that serves Niman Ranch pork and Bell & Evans chicken -- at a $6.50 price point. We think that's great! Karen & Andrew
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