The American restaurant business is a bubble, and that bubble is bursting. I've arrived at this conclusion after spending a year traveling around the country and talking to chefs, restaurant owners, and other industry folk for this series. In part one, I talked about how the Good Food Revival Movement™ created colonies of similar, hip restaurants in cities all over the country. In the series' second story, I discussed how a shortage of cooks -- driven by a combination of the restaurant bubble, shifts in immigration, and a surge of millennials -- is permanently altering the way a restaurant's back of the house has to operate in order to survive. This, the final story, is simple: I want you to understand why America's Golden Age of Restaurants is coming to an end.
What is a queer kitchen? Is there a recognizable queer style or sensibility that can be expressed through food? These questions and more were at the heart of a recent conversation hosted at the Williams Sonoma flagship store in San Francisco's Union Square during the city's Pride Weekend.
Truffles and Toffee Crisps: cooks on the ‘good’ food they hate – and the ‘bad’ food they love (slTheGrauniad)
When he died this week at the age of 44, Benoit Violier was considered by many to be one of the top chefs in the world, presiding over the three-Michelin-star Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville Crissier near Lausanne, Switzerland. His death is the second suicide of a successful, high-profile young chef this year. [more inside]
He introduced the rest of the world to Cajun foods Chef Prudhomme introduced the world to Cajun foods. Blackened red - fish was his most noted dish. He really will be missed. He had a great personality.
The Fruit Cutting Championships, a 2008 episode of the TV Tokyo variety show TV Champion 2, complete with commercials. Remarkably entertaining despite the language barrier (due to the visual nature of the competition). Event breakdown/explanation after the fold. [more inside]
"If we start from the guts, we go back to our origin. It is the butchers, in the end, that bring our food back to the rusticness of the tribe." Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, guts a pig, and discusses the tradition and art of butchering and the importance of being "responsible carnivores...thankful for the gift." Cecchini is the "Dante-quoting butcher" featured in Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. And here's another video with a similar message, but a different piece of meat, more details about his village as a "tiny little gastronomic republic" and instructions on how to use every piece of the pig "in the best way."
Clarissa Dickson Wright has passed away, aged 66. The surviving half of the BBC cooking show Two Fat Ladies, she "was utterly non-PC and fought for what she believed in, always, with no thought to her own personal cost," her agent said in the announcement. [more inside]
If you become a cultural icon, those who come after in your field will almost certainly be compared to you and your achievements. And if you were the late Julia Child, ground-breaking television chef and champion of French cooking in the United States, you would find your name to be the first half of a lot of comparisons. The Julia Childs, as it were. [more inside]
20 Things Everyone Thinks About the Food World (But Nobody Will Say) "Needless to say, these are complicated topics, and we can’t do them justice in the space of one list. But they are opinions and issues that we find ourselves circling with friends who work in the industry or follow it closely, and we think they’re worthy of discussion."
The Improper Bostonian: "In a town rightfully famous for its trailblazing female chefs, where Julia Child helped introduce American families to fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods, and Lydia Shire fine-tuned the buttery possibilities of French cooking, women have hardly disappeared from the dining scene. They can be found in other kitchens. But where and why are subject to debate, depending on whom you ask."
Black Chefs' Struggle For The Top With the restaurant industry booming and chefs becoming celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs, few blacks are sharing in that success, and as young black men and women enter the profession they are finding few mentors or peers. [more inside]
Why Are There No Great Women Chefs? In 2007 Michelin awarded French chef Anne-Sophie Pic three stars, making her only the fourth woman in her country’s history to receive that honor (ﬁfty years had passed since the last of her sex had garnered that third sparkler).2 The following year, in the United Kingdom, it was considered breaking news when ten female chefs won any Michelin stars at all...[For] the 2009 James Beard Awards gala... “Women in Food” was the chosen motif, but since only sixteen of the evening’s ninety-six nominees were, in fact, women, it seemed like a cruel joke. In the end, only two of those sixteen went home victorious, out of nineteen winners total...[I]n Bravo tv’s Top Chef Masters competition, a paltry three out of twenty-four American “Masters” were women. [via 3 Quarks Daily]
"What it feels like to be at the stove creating dishes for some of the most powerful people on earth." Club de Chefs des Chefs is the elite fraternity of chefs to world leaders - including those who head the private kitchens of the United States President, Prince of Monaco, Queen of England, European Commission, the Kremlin, President of France, Chancellor of Germany and Great Hall of Beijing. Barely 30 members strong, the club meets this week in Italy, for the Club's annual gala dinner and food tour. Lisa Mullins of NPR's The World interviewed a few of them by phone from Rome today (Mark Flanagan of Buckingham Palace refused to reveal the Queen's favorite dish... a kitchen policy, lest she be served it at every public event ever after). Past gatherings have happened in France, Greece, Monaco; and the 2010 meeting takes place in Hong Kong. They wouldn't have you as a member... but don't let that stop your culinary envy.
As I sat there, dazed and sweating, I felt hung-over, bordering on ashamed. ”Dear Lord,” I whispered, “what have I done to myself? I still have an entree coming! Will I survive?
No Reservations marks the second foodie inspired movie out in the past couple months, after the charming Ratatouille. Slate pegs the animated movie as getting things right, with help from the well renowned Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. But at home and in professional kitchens, things aren't always so pristine. Is this foodie culture better for us, or just part of a greater problem?
Julia Child Dies at 91
Alfred A. Knopf said in a statement she died in her sleep on Thursday at her Santa Barbara, California, home.I, for one, am really going to miss her.
Go Ask Alice When She's Ten Feet Tall: Alice Waters's extraordinary influence on the way we shop, cook and eat makes her one of the great American heroes (and European too, check out the Larousse Gastronomique), mostly to those of us who have never been (and will never be) lucky enought to eat at Chez Panisse. [More inside.]
Just Because They're Celebrity Chefs Doesn't Mean They Aren't Damn Fine Cooks: We're all supposed to yawn when it comes to TV Chefs, but that's just as silly as ignoring a writer or an actress because they're famous. Wolfgang Puck's website, for instance, is generously full of the most enticing recipes. On another note, my favourite TV chef, Rick Stein, has online a superb list of UK suppliers. Do you know of any other cuisine auteurs on the Web who are as generous with their savvy? Which chef wouldn't you mind having as your own private cook?