Whether you’ve been keen on his wry personality since the days of Grillin’ & Chillin” or you’re part of the posse that finds the red-haired, red chili-loving chef more irritating than enamoring, you have to admit that Bobby Flay has done extraordinary things for the culinary industry. As a chef, restaurateur, and TV personality, he’s earned himself a legendary status that will live on long after he puts down his spatula, and he’s opened up people’s eyes to the possibilities that can come from following your gut and passion, however unconventional.
That’s why, on July 26, the James Beard Foundation threw a mega-bash in Flay’s honor in Sagaponack, NY, deep in the heart of the Hamptons. Over 1,200 guests attended the event that featured dishes prepared by over 40 reputable chefs, along with hundreds of bottles of Champagne Taittinger, and a silent auction of cookbooks, booze, interesting ingredients, and experiential packages for food lovers that raised over $65,000 for the foundation to support education in culinary arts.
Sure, it was cool that Flay was receiving his due props from one of the world’s most prestigious culinary institutions on our planet, but honestly, I was more concerned with stuffing my face and seeing just how creative the invited chefs were able to get. And I was not disappointed. My stomach was so full by the time I drove back to the city that I could have passed for the first pregnant man in history.
Underneath an enormous white tent that was erected on a lush field on the grounds of Wölffer Estate Vineyards, the chefs and their teams manned serving stations along the perimeter and throughout the center space, doling out unique gourmet treats to flocks of hungry guests. Slices of hoagie stacked with smoked leg of Fossil Farms lamb and slathered with pickled ramp raita (a la Shane McBride of New York’s Balthazar and Schiller’s Liquor Bar) and shots of lettuce-cucumber gazpacho with poached langoustines, pink peppercorns, and cilantro (via Brian Loiacono of db Bistro Moderne) were just the beginning.
The event’s planners made sure that the menu was filled with as many proteins as possible, with everything from amberjack, salmon, scallops, shrimp and tuna, to quail, rabbit, oysters, short ribs and roast suckling pig making appearances. For vegetarians, there were also excellent examples of kitchen whimsy, like mushroom and goat cheese-stuffed zucchini blossoms with romesco sauce from John Mooney of Bell Book and Candle New York and Bidwell, and beet salad with blackberry vinegar and freeze-dried raspberries (from Jean Paul Lourdes of Restaurant Latour in Hamburg, NJ). Since I had to drive all the way back to the city afterward, I decided to skip the bubbly and unlimited Stella Artois, which enabled me to save room to taste literally everything at least once. After making the rounds and adding approximately 10 pounds to my lanky frame, I can confidently tell you this: there were hardly any weak links among the offerings.
Bobby’s Food Network buddy Alex Guarnaschelli contributed a classic crostini with freshly made ricotta and ripe heirloom tomatoes dressed up with ancho chile salt and Flying Pigs Farm bacon, which would have been more amazing under any other circumstances, but was overshadowed by almost everything else. PJ Calapa and Devin Bozkaya of Campagna at the Bedford Post Inn and New York City’s Costata prepared amberjack crudo with pickled cauliflower and Calabrian chilies, which had textural balance and just the right amount of heat to make your face perspire beneath your eyes (it was already sweltering outside anyway, so even the socialites were sweating). If the heat from that dish proved to be too intense, you could easily cool down your palate afterward with a few slurps of watermelon gazpacho with Peekytoe crab, coriander, and yuzu — as long as you made sure to ask chef Stephen Deveraux Greene (of Herons in Cary, NC) to hold the jalapeño.
There was also house-cured gravlax with Black River caviar and aquaponic greens from James Carpenter of Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, NY, and crudo with preserved lemon custard served on purple shiso leaves from Coby Farrow of BLT Prime. Even bacon popcorn made an appearance, providing a smoky-savory contrast to Pecko Zantilaveevan’s shrimp salad with citrus and lemon verbena-infused watermelon (that I hope is on the menu at The Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan). But nothing compared to the suckling pig. My stomach was so full by the time I drove back to the city that I could have passed for the first pregnant man in history.
Jason Hall, of The Fourth, was responsible for producing my favorite dish of the evening: crispy suckling pig presse with stone fruit mostarda and farofa (which is toasted manioc/yuca flour, if you weren’t sure). While he was being interviewed by a TV reporter from a local station, I ran off to a nearby table and devoured my pig piece like a caveman, since knives were not part of the equation and I was served a sizable hunk of meat. This particular pork was the perfect combination of crispy and caramelized on one side and fatty on the other, with the most tender, juicy meat snug in between. The farofa added some crunchy bits to the mix, and the sweet and sharp mostarda cut through the richness and countered the savory aspect of the roast with seasonal fruit flavor.
At some point, there were people congratulating Bobby Flay on stage and giving speeches, but by that point, I had just finished up eating seconds of my two favorite desserts: a parfait of apricot and Valrhona Caraibe chocolate with Rice Krispies and cocoa nib crunch from pastry chef George McKirdy of Astor Bake Shop in Queens, NY, and tarts made from Tristar strawberries and Valrhona Dulcey Blond chocolate with marshmallow and lemon verbena from Stephen Collucci of Colicchio & Sons in New York City. I’m sure some people were interested in the specifics of what was being said about Bobby, but from what I saw, it seemed as though even he couldn’t wait to get off the small, sponsor-adorned stage so he could get his grub on with everyone else.
An evening like this was the perfect excuse to drive hours from the city to one of the most easterly points on Long Island, and the experience was fun and delicious enough to make me want to go again next year. If you missed it and are craving some edible excitement from the James Beard Foundation, they’ve got plenty of events in their pipeline in the meantime, most notably Taste America: “Local Flavor From Coast to Coast,” starting next month in select U.S. cities.
From September 12 to October 25, a panel of chef all-stars and local celebrity chefs will be teaming up in 10 major cities to bring stellar eating experiences to American food lovers. Stops include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., LA, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle, with each city’s event featuring a walk-around tasting reception catered by local chefs followed by a one-night-only four-course dinner prepared by a collaboration of chefs, including a JBF Taste America all-star and a local celebrity chef.
Check the James Beard Foundation website to learn about Taste America and more upcoming epicurean events, and stay tuned for next year’s Chefs & Champagne, which will undoubtedly be at least as delectable as this year’s.
Sean Brock's African Culinary Adventure
Chef Sean Brock is known for obsessively championing Southern ingredients at his restaurants. Brock's research takes him as far as Senegal, and F&W joined the chef there for a story in our November issue.
Chef Sean Brock is known for obsessively championing Southern ingredients at his restaurants: McCrady&aposs and Husk in Charleston, as well as the new Husk Nashville. Brock&aposs research takes him as far as Senegal, and F&W joined the chef there for a story in our November issue, The Senegalese Roots of Southern Cooking. He shares behind-the-scenes photos from the trip in an online exclusive, Chef Dream Trips: Senegal. The experience was so influential that Brock returned to the country for an upcoming episode of PBS&aposs brilliant series The Mind of a Chef. Narrated by Tony Bourdain, the show examines the process of two of the country&aposs most compelling chefs, Brock, and later this season, April Bloomfield. Watch a Senegal clip above–the full episode airs the week of October 26 (check local PBS listings for the time).
French 77 Pink Champagne Cocktail
I know I’ve been remiss about a new champagne type cocktail for this holiday season. I knew what I wanted to do but time keeps slipping away from me. Still…Finally? This French 77 Pink Champagne Cocktail was worth the wait. Similar to my favorite but with the addition of the liqueur as well as combining pink gin with pink sparkling wine, the result is a beautiful sophisticated cocktail.
I’ve long espoused the French 75 Champagne Cocktail as one of my favorites for a holiday or celebration it has a storied history and is a lovely cocktail but I wanted something different, a bit newer. The French 75 is a combination of gin, lemon juice, and sparkling wine and change little from one listing to another.
But this year I had something new to work with. I received a bottle of Gin Lane 1751 ‘Victoria Pink Gin’ from the distiller and I wanted something new just a bit different. French 77 to the rescue!
While the recipe for a French 75 is pretty standard across the board, I found a huge disparity of ingredients in the French 77. Several authors substituted Elderflower Liqueur for the Gin and others simply added some of the liqueur to the mix. I chose that later route I had to. Making a gin cocktail without the gin wasn’t going to work!
I might call both of these champagne cocktails but in truth I’ll most often use Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine. They are often far more reasonably priced and just as delicious. Same holds true for Spanish Cava or American sparkling wine. Ask your purveryor for recommendations a nice bottle in the range of $10-15 is perfect.
What you’ll need to make this French 77 Pink Champagne Cocktail includes: (complete recipe with instructions are at bottom of post)
- Gin (It is lovely with the Gin Lane 1751 ‘Victoria’ Pink Gin but if you can’t source it, use another good London based gin)
- Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germain is well known but others are available at a much more reasonable price point)
- Orange Bitters
- Fresh Lemons for juice and twist
- Pink Sparkling Wine (I had a Rose and it was lovely)
I added a sugar rim to these because it was pretty but it’s not absolutely necessary. Still if you want to do the same, I recommend the cake decorating crystals from Wilton. They are a much larger grain and bring a lot of sparkle to the presentation.
Now about that gin, what’s with the pink color? Surprisingly several distillers make a version of pink gin although this was my introduction. The tradition of blending gin with bitters was first created by the British Royal Navy to balance out sweet and dry gins…and supposedly to help cure sea sickness.
The distiller has created a well-balanced gin with juniper still at the forefront but with a beautifully harmonious balance of herbal and spiced bitters the bitters being where the color results from.
Not new, Pink gin was popular during the Victorian era. As Gin Lane 1751 honors the legacy of Victoria era gin, it seems obvious that they would have to create their own Pink gin expression. Their “Victoria” Pink gin begins with the distillery’s gin made with eight botanicals: juniper, orris root, seville orange, angelica, sicilian lemon, star anise, cassia bark, and coriander.
Following distillation, herb and spiced bitters are then added to create the final product which is what also gives it that beautiful salmon pink color.
It seems most appropriate if celebrating with a cocktail that includes a libation with such a history that I would find the perfect glass for them. Something simple enough that the Victorians would welcome them as much as any reveler today. How lucky was I that I had on hand these beautiful Tiffany glasses?
With some surprise I got a message several months ago from a new neighbor we had bonded over Facebook (mostly about the crazies we see posting there too often!) She loved the cocktails I shared with the group but alas she no longer indulged. What could she possibly do with the gift of a pair of Tiffany champagne glasses?
Well, give them to me! I felt so blessed. Little did Lisa know that I have a glass obsession. I might only buy two at a time but I’ve done that a LOT of times and my cabinets are bulging with glassware. But I knew there would be a special drink that would be perfect for these special glasses and this was it. I am forever thankful these glasses are really the quintessential champagne glass aren’t they?
Sure the sugar crystals make for some extra sparkle but there is nothing like beautiful cut crystal glasses to elevate the entire cocktail. Thank you Lisa! <3
Anita Lo, a first generation Chinese-American, grew up with her family in Birmingham, Michigan, and fostered an interest in food at a young age. While earning a degree in French language at Columbia University, she studied at Reid Hall—Columbia's French language institute in Paris. She fell in love with the food culture and vowed to return. Back in the United States, Lo accepted her first kitchen job as garde-manger at Bouley, and after a year, she decided to move back to Paris and enroll in Ecole Ritz-Escoffier, a revered culinary institution.
She received her degree, graduating first in her class with honors, while interning under Guy Savoy and Michel Rostang. Back in New York, Lo worked her way through all the stations at David Waltuck’s Chanterelle. She developed her culinary style during her time at Mirezi, where she earned a two-star review from Ruth Reichl at The New York Times.
In 2000, Lo opened Annisa (which means ''women'' in Arabic), an intimate, upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village serving Contemporary American cuisine. It was an instant hit, earning a two-star review from The New York Times. Food & Wine magazine named her one of ten “Best New Chefs in America” in 2001, and the Village Voice proclaimed Lo as “Best New Restaurant Chef” that same year.
In 2005, Anita Lo co-founded Rickshaw, a dumpling bar with several locations in New York City and also appeared on the first season of Iron Chef America, defeating her competitor Mario Batali.
In 2008, she opened Bar Q, an Asian barbecue restaurant in Greenwich Village. The following year, in June 2009, after nearly ten years in business, Annisa suffered an unfortunate blow—a fire destroyed the restaurant entirely.
Lo decided to take some time to travel as plans for rebuilding Annisa got underway. She scoured the globe for inspiration. Meanwhile, Lo appeared on the first season of Top Chef Masters where she battled her contemporaries on weekly challenges that tested their culinary prowess. She finished fourth out of 24 chefs.
In April 2010, after a complete renovation of the original Barrow Street location, Lo reopened Annisa. She kept many of the same elements—clean design, welcoming atmosphere, small menu and a few signature dishes—but shook it up with new additions to the menu inspired by her recent travels that ranged from culinary trips to Senegal and Russia to a fishing trip to Alaska. Annisa was reviewed again by The New York Times and received two stars.
In October 2011, Lo released her first cookbook, "Cooking Without Borders," which highlights her passion for bringing multicultural flavors to her American kitchen. Her recipes celebrate the best flavors and ingredients from around the world at a time when access to international ingredients is greater than ever before. Interspersed are stories from Lo’s life, memories of her travels and tips on cooking.
In February 2014, critic Pete Wells re-reviewed Annisa in The New York Times, bestowing the restaurant with a prestigious three stars. In the review, he calls her food “remarkable” and “impressive,” and the restaurant “graceful and unfussy.”
In 2015, Anita Lo was the first female guest chef to cook for a State Dinner at the White House, under the Obama administration. She prepared a 4-course meal for the visiting Chinese president, Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.
In May 2017, after 17 years of business, and holding a Michelin star for nine consecutive years, Lo closed Annisa to pursue her next great adventure. And in the meantime, her second book, "Solo: Easy Sophisticated Recipes For a Party of One," will be published in the Fall of 2018.
2014 Chefs and Champagne Menu was a Culinary Adventure - Recipes
Free-formed, crispy crust pizza with varying toppings of the time. Ask your server for details. Pizzas take approx. 20 mins to prepare.
“What Will It Be” Soup
Cup – $4 Bowl – $7
Having fun with the Soup du Jour. Ask your server, if they haven’t told you already what the soup of the day is.
Tzatziki and Pita
Simple grilled pita served with house-made Tzatziki.
Fresh lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrots served with your choice of dressing.
Garlic Hummus & Veggies
Garlicky house hummus served with fresh vegetables.
Meat & Cheese Plate
Locally-sourced select charcuterie from Ebner’s Meats and a variety of cheese curds from TMK Dairy & Creamery.
Gluten-free crackers – add $2
Fruit & Cheese Plate
Assorted fruit and cheese curds from TMK Dairy & Creamery.
Gluten-free crackers – add $2
Love the jelly, why not get a jar or two for home or an easy gift!
To change it up a little for our regular and first-time guests, our Kitchen team will be coming up with some creative specials. If you haven’t already heard about this week’s special, check out our Facebook page or ask your server when you arrive. A limited amount will be prepared each day!
Uncharted: Gordon Ramsay
Following in the tradition of food anthropology on television, the new series Uncharted features celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, best known for his shows Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. Ramsay, who is highly respected in the food business, has a reputation as a harsh critic – a consummate perfectionist with a no-holds-barred style of brutal honesty. Uncharted shows Ramsay in a kinder and gentler light – as an adventuresome traveler visiting cultures to learn about their culinary traditions, rather than impart his own professional expertise. This reversal of roles, with the instructor as the student, makes for compelling television. National Geographic provides a description of the show which summarizes its essence: “Chef Gordon Ramsay embarks on anthropology-through-cuisine expeditions to explore the people, places and flavors the world has to offer”.
The first season of the show features six episodes, each focused on a particular geographic region, and highlights each region’s cultural and culinary heritage through local cuisine. These cultures are also featured in a special promotion issue of National Geographic Magazine which includes cultural summaries, stunning photographs, recommended day trips, and delicious looking recipes. Here we will examine each of the six episodes of Uncharted to demonstrate how eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology can provide a richer and deeper understanding of the cultural traditions highlighted.
This viewpoint of Montefrio, Granada in Andalusia, Spain was selected as 1 of the 10 Best Views in the World by National Geographic in 2015.
EPISODE 1: PERU
In the first episode of Uncharted, Ramsay visits the Sacred Valley of Peru, 11,000-feet above sea level. This region was the heart of the Inca Empire more than 5,000 years ago: “While many things have changed, the altitude of this region and the biodiversity of its ecosystem have remained the same, allowing farmers today to follow in the ways of the Incas” (Robinson 2019a).
High-altitude foraging and agriculture are the main themes of this episode, and Ramsay discovers ancient subsistence methods dating back to the Inca Empire. Ramsay scales a towering cliff face in the Peruvian Andes in search of a rare herb and cooks in a huatia, an earthen oven. Ramsay also meets Manuel Choqque Bravo, a fourth generation potato farmer in the Andean highlands of Chincero, who studied agricultural engineering at the Universidad San Antonio Abad in Cusco. Robinson highlights the importance of potatoes in Peruvian history, culture, and cuisine:
More than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes grow in these highlands, and Andeans were the first people to cultivate them. ‘Mad potato scientist’ Manuel Choqque works on cross-pollinating high-altitude potato strains once used by the Incas. The most spectacular versions are deep purple and red on the inside, and their hue deepens with altitude, to protect them from the intense ultraviolet light at high elevations (Robinson 2019a).
In addition to cultivating colorful and delicious potatoes sought after by world-class chefs, Bravo is something of Andean microbrewer, using ingredients from the natural environment to make beer out of fermented corn known as Chicha de jora: “The first known usage of this drink was long ago during the government of Inca Tupac Yupanqui” (Robinson 2019b).
More in depth information about the cultural and archaeological heritage of Peru can be found in eHRAF World Cultures by browsing the culture collection Inka (SE13) or in eHRAF Archaeology by browsing the tradition Inka (SE80). The economic organization of the Inka State by John Victor Murra provides a description of potatoes as a major crop:
While potatoes, in their hundreds of varieties, were the main high-altitude crop, other tubers like oca, mashua, ulluco, were and are still widely grown. They can also be preserved in chuñu form by freezing and drying. Only one grain crop, quinoa, is usually associated with the puna tubers. Its grains and leaves were used for food and a drink. One of the varieties was archaeologically found in quite early strata (Murra 1980: 7).
EPISODE 2: NEW ZEALAND
Māori in contemporary New Zealand.
In the second episode of Uncharted, Ramsay visits New Zealand, a land with a multicultural heritage drawing from Polynesian, Asian, and European influences. The indigenous Māori people were hunters and gatherers who harvested food from the ocean, rivers, mountains, and forests and “contemporary New Zealand cuisine also draws heavily on Māori food.”
The ancestors of the Māori people and their modern descendants have had a spiritual relationship with nature, especially the forest from which they foraged the ingredients for food and medicine. Robinson describes how the forest has been considered sacred by the Māori and how they have viewed their abundant natural resources as gifts from Mother Earth:
Medical practitioners passed their knowledge down through the generations, and modern Māori healers still use the concepts and practices they learned from their predecessors. Thoughtful foraging practice, whether for kai (food) or Rongoā Māori (herbal medicine), is to prioritize great respect for the forest, for the Māori people, the bush and the native plants are also ancestors. From pikopiko fern tips to wood ear fungus to heart-shaped kawakawa leaves, they’re all generous resources from Papatūānuku—the Mother Earth figure in Māori tradition (Robinson 2019b).
The indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand can be further studied by browsing the culture collection Maori (OZ04) in eHRAF World Cultures. In the New growth from old: the Whanau in the modern world, Joan Metge offers a broader analysis of the Mother Earth figure Papatūānuku which provides insights into Māori gender relations:
Respect for women is underpinned by reference to the sacred stories of the making of the world. Though a casual hearing or reading of these gives the impression that males are the central characters, the doers of deeds, deeper study reveals that females also play key roles, often as custodians of knowledge who advise, direct and protect the males. Women are identified metaphorically with Papatuanuku, the primal mother, sharing her status and functions as bearer, nurturer and protector of succeeding generations (Metge 1995: 95).
EPISODE 3: MOROCCO
Berber man in contemporary Morocco.
The third episode of Uncharted focuses on the ancient traditions and food culture of the indigenous Amazigh (Berber) people in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Local mushroom hunter Abdullah leads Ramsay into the forest on a foraging expedition to find a diverse selection of wild mushrooms:
Abdullah and his crew show Ramsay how to incorporate the basket of morel, porcini, and chanterelle mushrooms into medfouna, a stuffed bread they refer to as Berber pizza. The word medfouna means “buried,” referring to the delectable blend of ingredients and spices hidden within the bread crust. Cooked in the outdoors over a campfire, it seems an added luxury to incorporate these expensive mushrooms in everyday cuisine, but the forests of Morocco conceal a wide variety of edible, wild mushrooms (Robinson 2019c).
As Ramsay and his guides enjoy the delicious “Berber pizza” with its luxurious rare mushrooms, the chef proclaims, “That was one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. Put a slice of that on my menu back home in London, you would have to charge in excess of one hundred pounds….The shock for me is that for the boys, it’s a staple, they eat it every day…Now, I want to be a Berber.”
More information about this rich cultural heritage can be found by browsing Berbers of Morocco (MX03) in eHRAF World Cultures. In the Tribes of the Riff by Carelton Coon there is section titled “Agriculture and the Gathering of Wild Plants” in which the author lists mushrooms – or iuasrin – among the items which are foraged by the indigenous people of Morocco:
There are certain wild products growing on mountains, in valleys, in springs, and on refuse heaps, which are of food value and are collected and eaten, either from choice or as emergency rations in time of famine, although no attempt is made to cultivate them (Coon 1931: 44).
EPISODE 4: HAWAII
Over the past few years, the Hawaiian dish known as “poke” has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity. The traditional dish in the islands of Hawaii relies on three main ingredients – cubed raw fish, seaweed, and chopped kukui nut (also known as candlenut) – with additional seasonings such as sea salt, sesame oil, chili pepper, and soy sauce added for flavor. Hawaiian poke has been described as “sushi in a bowl” or as a “sushi salad” and it has become as trendy as Japanese sushi. However, much like so-called “Hawaiian pizza” (the pineapple and ham topped pizza sensation invented by a Greek Canadian in 1962), the poke of today’s wildly popular mainland chain restaurants may be lacking in cultural authenticity.
In search of the “real deal” when it comes to Hawaii’s cultural and culinary heritage, the fourth episode of Uncharted journeys along the Hana Coast to discover how the people of the multicultural island blend local ingredients with diverse ethnic traditions to produce food worthy of aloha – the Hawaiian word for love, peace, and affection:
Representing far more than Spam and poke bowls, the cuisine of the Hawaiian Islands has relied on migrants to develop the taste of the culture. The migration that brought Polynesians and later groups to the archipelago has helped diversify Hawaiian cuisine…Modern Hawaiian cuisine blends flavors from the Pacific and beyond (Robinson 2019d).
Hawaiians (OV05) are a cultural group featured in eHRAF World Cultures. In her study of six urban Hawaiian households, Karen Ito interacted with household members and observed how ceremonies and prayers are practiced to restore the set of positive emotions associated with the word aloha, a central feature of Hawaiian culture which extends to all aspects of life, including food and hospitality:
Someone of aloha reaches out to others, is expansive and inclusive, a giver of largess and empathy…An often stated sign of someone who is “real Hawaiian-style” is one who immediately calls out to you as you approach the house saying, “Come! Come eat.”…Junie describes her brothers as being “Hawaiian-style” in their musical preference (popular, modern Hawaiian music), lifestyle (defined in terms of food: “you know, raw fish and poi and stuffs like that”), and hospitality (Ito 1999: 82).
EPISODE 5: LAOS
Cast-net fishing on the Mekong River in Laos.
The fifth episode of Uncharted visits the country of Laos, a lesser-known travel destination compared with its more tourist-populated neighbors of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Laotian cuisine is sometimes confused with Thai cuisine, but the different geographies have resulted in divergent food traditions. Laos is landlocked but a river runs through it – the Mekong River, known locally as “the river of life”, stretches through six countries and is one of the longest in the world. Khone Falls, where Ramsay and his Laotian hosts try cast-net fishing, is “considered the widest falls in the world…The great volume of the falls – 2,500,000 gallons per second, is nearly double the volume of Niagara Falls” (Robinson 2019e). While fish is a primary food source for Laotians, they cannot rely solely on the bounty of the Mekong River:
Laotians go to extreme lengths to source their ingredients. Food scarcity in areas where the Mekong River is less generous means that villagers need to seek out their protein resources beyond available river fish. The lush rice paddy fields yield smaller animals—frogs, snails, and ‘toebiters’ (giant water bugs)—and ant larvae from nests in the forest all contribute to the Laotian diet (Robinson 2019e)
Several cultures from Southeast Asia are covered in eHRAF World Cultures including Cambodians (AM04), Central Thai (AO07), Rmeet (AM28), and Vietnamese (AM11). Among the documents pertaining to the cultures of this region is “Rice and Man: agricultural ecology in Southeast Asia” by the late Lucien Hanks, who taught anthropology at Bennington College. Hanks describes the pattern of “shifting cultivation” for Southeast Asian cultures whose main sources of food are fishing and rice and who have a semi-nomadic lifeway lacking in permanent settlement:
There are ‘partial’ shifting cultivators whose main mode of support is fishing or even raising irrigated rice…The Lahu Nyi uplanders of Thailand, Burma, and Laos move their houses every few years to be nearer their fields. Their unconcern for permanency shows in a simple style of house-building, the absence of plan in village settlement, and vague claims of territory in the surroundings (Hanks 1972: 32).
EPISODE 6: ALASKA
Northern lights, or aurora borealis, in Alaska.
The icy panhandle of Southeast Alaska is the setting for the sixth episode of Uncharted, concluding its first season on National Geographic. With its cold, bleak winters this is a region where local cultures have adapted to their harsh environment in order to survive and thrive. The indigenous people of this region known as the Tlingit have faced challenges of their remote terrain and rough climate to find innovative ways for sourcing and preparing food.
Spruce trees at the top of Chimney Rock provide a source of ingredients for Alaskan cuisine. Spruce tips are used in everything from salads to stews, are rich in vitamin C, and contain carotenoids, potassium, and magnesium. Lichen from the same trees, known as “old man’s beard”, is used for making tea with antifungal, and antimicrobial properties:
There’s a small window to pick the fresh shoots in spring, and those that aren’t used immediately can be kept in the freezer for later use. An essential element of foraging spruce tips for Alaska Native cultures is to harvest respectfully, which means thanking the tree for giving up some of its tips and always harvesting in moderation (Robinson 2019f).
Thanking the tree and harvesting in moderation are part of a native Alaskan spiritual tradition with a deep respect for nature. This tradition combines animism with anthropomorphism in the philosophy and religion of the Tlingit. The spiritual dimensions of this native Alaskan culture can be explored in eHRAF World Cultures by searching for Tlingit (NA12). Here is a description of Tlingit spiritualism from “The Tlingit Indians”:
The Tlingit endowed all nature with spirit life…Natural phenomena and inanimate objects all possessed something which made itself felt or became visible under certain conditions. The wind, whirlpool, thunder and lightning, or a glacier, were controlled by spirits. The spirit of a tree was the shadow made visible by sunshine…All living creatures have spirits. It will be remembered that the spirit of the tree cut for a house post or canoe had to be propitiated, as did the nearby trees that might be injured in the felling (Emmons and De Laguna 1991: xxxiv).
Get everything you need
The recipes in Michaud's book are set in a winning narrative (crafted by food writer David Joachim), affecting accounts of his awe and delight at the markets and cafes and haunts he visits.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Eating Italy is a reminder that cookbooks are not just collections of recipes. Sure, when it comes down to it, replicating the warm beef carpaccio with roasted mushrooms that is often a special at Alla Spina is a draw, but diving into Michaud's culinary journey is just as appealing.”
Philadelphia City Paper
Go on a virtual journey with Michaud by delving into his new book, Eating Italy: A Chef's Culinary Adventure. ”
An impressive collection of Italian cookery, Michaud employs the best of Italian fare in his recipes while amorously sharing his poignant journey of the heart that inspired them. Eating Italy illuminates beautifully the enchantments found in its food, landscape, and people.
Joe Bastianich, renowned restaurateur and winemaker
If you cannot go to Italy, go to Philadelphia! Jeff Michaud's cuisine is the real deal. . . and so is he. You can taste his passion, which is why I am a regular customer. This book explains how he got there. I enjoyed the ride, minus the jet lag!”
Marc Summers, Host of Unwrapped and Executive Producer of Restaurant Impossible
Jeff is one of the country's great young chefs. His love and knowledge of not only the food of Italy but also its culture is unmatched. EATING ITALY is his love letter to the country he has so much passion for. Reading this beautiful book with its wonderful pictures and recipes was like being there with him. There is nothing like a trip through Italy, but this book will get you close.”
Michael Symon, Iron Chef and restaurateur
Jeff has created a wonderfully fun and refreshing Italian cookbook which takes you on a journey through his formative years as a cook to the chef he is today. His recipes are updated for the times and are also super-delicious!”
April Bloomfield, Michelin-starred Executive Chef of The Spotted Pig, and author of A Girl and Her Pig
I once had the privilege of a long afternoon lunch outside of Bergamo with Jeff and Claudia, Mark Vetri, and all the aunts and uncles. After an amazing lunch of boar salumi, crispelle, meat grilled on the hearth, and polenta, a nap was in order. Jeff's mother in law covered me with a zebra-print blanket, and I slept and dreamt of the amazing lunch and of Italy's incredible bounty. As I page through eating Italy, I am instantly transformed back to that country house, where my eyes were truly opened to the elegance of true simplicity. In Eating Italy , Jeff has created a roadmap that explores the rustic, creative, and simple elegance that is Italy!”
Paul Kahan, Owner and Executive Chef of Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star and Publican Quality Meats
We devoured Eating Italy ! Jeff Michaud's storyhow a restless, New Hampshire-born sous-chef launched himself on a tour of Northern Italian towns as a stagier to butchers and brilliant Michelin-starred chefs and ended up meeting the love of his life-- has the triumphant, lyrical spirit of Frances Mayes. And Michaud's recipes for robust, simple, refined dishes, like Pheasant Lasagne and Grilled Sardines with Celery Salad, pack the avuncular, precise instructional force of the greats: Hazan, Bastianich, and Batali. Lovers of Italy and cooking will find this volume totally irresistible.”
Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
A great restaurant just doesn't pop up. It is built on the gastronomic history of its chef. In EATING ITALY, Jeff Michaud takes us along on his culinary awakening journey, and the result is a vivid tour of Italy's gems with brilliant recipes born from his wonderful eating adventures.”
Nancy Silverton, Los Angeles restaurateur and author of The Mozza Cookbook
About the Author
Jeff Michaud is chef and co-owner at Osteria Restaurant, Amis Restaurant, and Alla Spina, all in Philadelphia, and a partner of the Vetri Restaurant Group. He is also a member of the Vetri Foundation for Children board of directors. In 2008, The James Beard Foundation nominated Osteria for Best New Restaurant and in 2010, Jeff won the James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Claudia and their daughter Gaia.
Food writer David Joachim has authored, edited or collaborated on more than thirty-five cookbooks, including multiple IACP award winners, James Beard award winners, and New York Times bestsellers. His A Man A Can A Plan series of books has sold more than one million copies. He lives near Philadelphia.
One part Southern soul, one part Asian spice, and one part New York attitude, Chef Edward Lee is a Korean-American who grew up in Brooklyn, trained in NYC kitchens, and has spent the better part of a decade honing his vision at 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville, KY.
Lee’s adventure to Southern-cuisine eminence began in 2001 on a road trip to Louisville during the Kentucky Derby. He discovered a local gem of a restaurant called 610 Magnolia and spent the evenings cooking in the kitchen. He fell in love with his surroundings and within a year, he moved his life from NYC to Louisville, and into the dialogue of the blossoming New Southern food scene that would take shape around a handful of young and forward thinking chefs.
Lee’s culinary style draws inspiration from his Asian heritage, his New York training, and his embrace of the American South, coupled with the best ingredients from local farms. Lee’s innovative cuisine has twice earned him a finalist nomination for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He has been featured in Esquire, Bon Appétit, GQ, Gourmet among many other publications won on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” was a favorite on “Top Chef: Texas, Season 9” and has appeared on shows ranging from Cooking Channel’s “Foodography,” Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” to CBS’s “The Talk.” He will be the featured chef in Season 3 of THE MIND OF A CHEF to air on PBS in fall, 2014.
Lee’s career extends to writing credits as well, with articles published in Gastronomica, Esquire, Organic Gardening and many other journals. Lee’s self-authored cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, (Artisan Books, May 2013) chronicles his unconventional journey from the kitchens of Brooklyn to becoming a lauded Southern chef.
In addition to 610 Magnolia, Lee operates a special events dining room called The Wine Studio, which features cooking classes, wine tastings and guest chef dinners. MilkWood is Chef Lee’s newest venture. Located in the basement of the locally revered Actor’s Theater in downtown Louisville, MilkWood interprets the traditions of Southern comfort food with an Asian pantry. The menu features small plates and smoked meats, all personalized and creative versions of familiar classics in addition to an array of bourbon cocktails.
When he is not in his kitchen, Lee spends the rest of his time on his numerous collaborations. His signature blend with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend is a luxury small batch bourbon he developed with Master Blender Trey Zoeller. He is also working with a Korean company to launch an organic fermented Korean hot sauce in spring of 2015.
Lee approaches his professional and culinary life with candor, humor, and—most importantly—the same spirit of adventure that was the original impetus for his success.
Ikarus invites the world’s best chefs (Vol. 5, 2018)
Expectional Recipes and international chefs in portrait
Photos: Helge Kirchberger
Price: 59,95 Euro
Pages: 320 pages
Dimensions: 24,9 x 33,5 cm
ISBN: 978-3-7105-0033-6 (E)
Ikarus invites the world’s best chefs (Vol. 5, 2018)
Since we like to cook — and we hope you do, too — we took the time to sit with some big names in the business to peruse the pages of their cookbooks.
> After you watch these exclusive interviews, be sure to check out our Must-Read Cookbooks for classic recipes.
1. Home Cooking | Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Originally Published: 2011
Even if you don’t have the chance to dine at chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s NYC restaurant Jean-Georges, which has been on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. since the inception of the list, you can still eat Jean-Georges’s cuisine, in the comfort of your own home, with his “casual” cookbook.
Home Cooking with Jean-Georges contains recipes for each meal of the day, including cocktails such as a ginger margarita. There are many photos throughout that help you prepare what Jean-Georges calls “my favorite simple recipes.”
During one of his sojourns to Jean-Georges Beverly Hills at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, one of GAYOT’s 2017 Best New Restaurants in the U.S., we got to sit down with him to discuss his book. Watch the video above — it’s surely the best way to discover it all.
2. The Power of Pasta | Bruno Serato
Publisher: Select Books
Originally Published: 2017
A Man on a Mission
Let’s make a long story short… Back in 1987, Bruno Serato, who hails from Verona, Italy, arrived in California. With $200 in his pocket, his first job was as a dishwasher. He eventually worked his way up through the ranks and became the chef/owner of the Anaheim White House, a 1909 historical landmark located in the city of Anaheim in Orange County, CA.
In 2017, he published his third book, The Power of Pasta: A Celebrity Chef’s Mission to Feed America’s Hungry Children, with a supporting quote from legendary actress Sophia Loren. Two thirds of the book is about his life and the charity he created, Caterina’s Club, which helps provide nutritious meals for underprivileged children. (For his community work, he was honored as one of the 2011 Top 10 CNN Heroes.) The rest of the tome features 43 recipes from his Italian restaurant.
The best way to discover the book is to watch our exclusive video interview with the philanthropic chef.
3. Knife | Chef John Tesar
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Originally Published: 2017
Chef John Tesar’s Knife restaurant is one of GAYOT’s Top 10 Steakhouses in America, so it might surprise you to learn that Tesar received classical French training for seafood!
Later in life, he developed a passion for meat. After a year and a half of traveling the country, going from one steakhouse to another, he felt he was ready to open his own steakhouse in Houston.
His book, Knife, bears the tagline “Texas steakhouse meals at home” on its cover. It’s clear: vegetarians and vegans, move it along (or be satisfied with a few dishes in the chapter on “Salads, Starters & Sides”).
Indulge your carnivorous side throughout the 246 pages, containing 60 recipes and more about beef. Watch our exclusive interview with chef Tesar to learn more about the book.
4. Avec Eric | Eric Ripert
Originally Published: 2010
When his book was published, we spent time “Avec Eric” in Los Angeles. For those who don’t know, ‘avec’ is French for ‘with,’ and Eric is chef Eric Ripert. He had left his stoves at Le Bernardin restaurant in New York, one of GAYOT.com Top 40 US Restaurants continuously since 2004, so the West Coast could discover his cookbook Avec Eric, based on his TV show Avec Eric.
Besides 100 easy-to-make-at-home recipes, the cookbook is filled with stories taking place in different parts of the U.S. and countries around the globe. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Ripert to learn more about him. And, yes, ladies, he is as charming as he is good-looking.
Chef Eric Ripert’s cookbook, Avec Eric, reads more like an adventure book organized around principles of cooking rather than a traditional cookbook. The book by the famed toque artfully combines kitchen wisdom, cooking philosophy and regional history to achieve a complete discussion of a menu from start to finish.
Now gone Anthony Bourdain sets the tone for what the reader can expect in the foreword: an introspective and insightful exploration of the ingredients and practices that make not only a great dish, but also a great chef. Ripert lays down his philosophy, which rests on a series of complex and well thought-out principles, in the introduction. “Cooking is how I express myself creatively,” he writes and “Cooking is a holistic process.”
Organized around chapters that represent a cooking journey, his recipes reflect particular principles such as “Star Ingredients,” “Artisanal,” “Craftsmanship” and “Tradition.” Ripert takes the time to stress the importance of these ideals through insightful stories. Based on his experience as an executive chef, his anecdotes are infused with rich imagery of his world travels, conversations with the providers of the best local ingredients, and the cultural and environmental implications of each local ingredient he uses.
The instructions are clear to read. He anticipates any problems a reader might experience while preparing a dish such as herb- and salt-crusted lamb loin pan-roasted Arctic char over black olive potatoes and melted cherry tomatoes or roasted capon with mushroom-truffle stuffing. The photos provide not only visual references for the end product, but also document Ripert’s adventures with portraits and landscapes of the people and places he visits. His holistic approach to cooking is reflected in the emphasis placed on the high quality of the ingredients, the dish as part of a larger menu, and the wine pairing that goes with it.
Avec Eric offers a path to not only creating sophisticated meals with appropriate wine pairings, but also to understanding a deeper and more integrated philosophy of cooking. The combination of tradition, environmentally-aware farmers providing top ingredients, and Ripert’s insight as a master chef, make this book a must-have for any cooking enthusiast looking to get more than just a meal out of their kitchen.
5. Bouchon Bakery | Thomas Keller & Sébastien Rouxel
Originally Published: 2012
Thomas Keller is the only chef to have two restaurants with GAYOT.com’s highest rating of 19/20: The French Laundry and Per Se.
We had the pleasure to sit with uber-chef Keller at defunct Bouchon Beverly Hills to talk about his dessert book, Bouchon Bakery. Sébastien Rouxel, the book’s co-author and former executive pastry chef of The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, joined the conversation.
We had not seen the book until the three of us flipped through the 400 pages. If you haven’t had a chance to see Keller’s first recipe book for desserts, watch the exclusive video above to discover it the same way we did. Coming from the masters directly, it is surely the best way to do so. The experience was quite fun, and, of course, a sweet moment to remember!
6. Come Early, Stay Late | Brian Malarkey
Publisher: Chefs Press, Inc.
Originally Published: 2012
The “Top Chef“ who is also a judge/mentor on ABC-TV’s The Taste, has been doing a good job since his original restaurant, Searsucker, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, made GAYOT.com’s 2013 Hot 40 Restaurants in the U.S. The day I dropped by in the middle of the week in low-season, the restaurant was packed.
His restaurants are busy, so if you aren’t able to visit, here’s how to enjoy his dishes in the comfort of your own home. His cookbook “Come Early, Stay Late.”
7. Pinot, Pasta & Parties | Dee Dee & Paul Sorvino
Publisher: Center Street/Hachette
Originally Published: March 2017
When love of food leads you to a cookbook.
Do you picture actor Paul Sorvino? Most of the time he’s the bad guy / gangster in the movie. Well, with his wife, Emmy Award winner Dee Dee, he becomes the good guy in the kitchen. The pair rolled up their sleeves and put together recipes their close circle has been enjoying over the years. A few months later “Pinot, Pasta, and Parties” was ready to print.
This cookbook of easy Italian recipes is divided in ten chapters. Each section has a menu to guide you, as well as many photos, for a full meal whether it’s for a family dinner or a party.
8. The Scarpetta Cookbook | Scott Conant
Publisher: Houghton Milton Harcourt Publishing Company
Originally Published: October 2013
Cooking with Scott Conant.
If you have experienced chef Scott Conant’s cooking at one of his Scarpetta restaurants, chances are that you would like to enjoy some of his dishes in the comfort of your own house.
There are two solutions: you have him come over, but with his busy schedule, it might get very complicated or you simply buy The Scarpetta Cookbook. It features 125 recipes that are easy to make at home so you can enjoy his creative Italian cuisine.
Watch our exclusive video interview with chef Conant, filmed in the beautiful kitchen of the defunct Scarpetta, located in hotel Montage Beverly Hills.
9. In Pursuit of Excellence | Josiah Citrin
Publisher: North Star Media Books
Originally Published: October 2011
After many years of being the chef in his own restaurant, Josiah Citrin of Mélisse in Santa Monica has published his first cookbook: In Pursuit of Excellence. Watch our exclusive video interview with Citrin to learn more about the book from the chef himself.
10. New Taco Classics | Lorena Garcia
Originally Published: 2015
Lorena Garcia’s take on Latin American cuisine is easy to follow and fun to make.
In her signature fun style, chef Lorena Garcia’s “New Taco Classics” offers healthy and colorful takes on the best street foods of Latin American countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Peru and Cuba. The book is organized by sections including The Base (chapters on masa and beans) The Toppings (a dizzying array of sauces) The Fillings (poultry, pork, seafood, meats, veggies) and The Sides (everything from grilled corn and tostones to avocado fries). It’s a tasty way to learn new twists on the taco concept — that is, food prepared within a shell, or vessel.
11. Taming the Feast | Chef Ben Ford
When a party becomes a real feast.
Chef Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station) takes partying to the next level, and he’s become famous for that. Ford prefers the get-together to be a big one. One where you roast a whole pig or serve paella for eighty.
And it seems that he gets a kick out of it even before the cooking starts. In his first book, Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking, he guides you on a complete journey to make your event a success — even the after-party.
Watch our exclusive video interview to discover the book (see the white arrow in the photo gallery above) and get ready for your next gathering with friends and family!
12. Savory Bites: Meals You can Make in Your Cupcake Pan | Hollis Wilder
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Originally Published: 2013
Wild cupcakes that go beyond dessert.
Hollis Wilder is our favorite kind of warrior: the chef is the three-time winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”. If you indulge in her creations like we have, “cupcake” will take on a whole different meaning.
She ingeniously transformed a smoked salmon egg salad into a delicious savory cupcake which helped her win Season 1 in 2009. In 2013, she won Season 8 with her jalapeño popper. She even makes ratatouille cupcakes!
Watch our video interview with her to get an exclusive preview of her book Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan. The cookbook contains ninety nine recipes that will help you achieve savory happiness.
And if you are in Florida, where Wilder hails from, you can visit her two Sweet by Holly stores in Orlando and Jacksonville, where you will find more than 30 different cupcakes… but only sweet ones!