For so many chefs it is no longer just about “the final plating”. Understanding where the ingredients come from, how they were grown and raised, how to ensure its sustainability for future generations is just as important. For Alex Atala, considered by many to be the ambassador for Brazilian ingredients, it is one of his primary focuses and a part of what drives him to create. During my interview with Chef Atala we touch on his appreciation for cooking, the trials of opening his now world famous restaurant, and his personal food memory.
For so many these days its all about the limelight. Its about getting paid, getting respect, and being superstars. Easily forgotten is the idea that the culinary industry is first and foremost a service industry; an outpouring of familial hospitality extended to strangers, with food as the focal point.
Many who make the choice to do this, day in and day out, do so out of the respect they have for the food, and a desire to carry on what others who influenced them had done before. Having the opportunity to speak with Chef Marc Orfaly of The Beehive in Boston was a reminder that there are people who cook for the right reasons.
During our conversation we talked about some of Marc’s early experiences in the food industry, his suggestion to those interested in getting in to the culinary industry, and his personal food memory.
Living a bit north of Boston is a blessing and a curse. I love the access to great restaurants, but sometimes it can be tough finding something of that quality a little closer to home. Finally, though, there are some great spots popping up north of the city including a great Italian restaurant called Evviva Cucina. At the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chef Anthony De Palma, who made his bones in all manner of great kitchens (working alongside the likes of Jim Dodge, Chris Douglas, Gordon Hammersly, Chris Slesinger, and Jody Adams), and his skill and passion come across in the great food at Evviva.
Want to start an enormous war of words amongst food nerds anywhere? Declare a restaurant “the best”, sit back with your fernet, and watch the forks fly. All things told, though, there are restaurants across the globe that do stand out for cuisine, hospitality, and overall dining experience. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna) strives to highlight such restaurants.
This year’s list thrust Eleven Madison Park in NYC to the forefront of American gastronomy (again), ranking the Daniel Humm and Will Guidara restaurant #4 in the world (highest in the U.S., a bump up from the #5 ranking in 2013). Anyone who knows the work and effort required to run a successful restaurant, let alone one of this stature, understands just how important the entire team there is. An integral part of the EMP team? Chef de Cuisine Chris Flint.
A winding road is one that many chefs tread. Schooling, stages, back breaking days on the line, many with a dream of opening and owning their own restaurant. The road for Chef Katie Button was most certainly winding, and supremely fascinating, considering that she start off earning a degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell and a masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. Katie made her way through the kitchens of Jean George in NYC and Jose Andres’s Bazaar in L.A. before working for a time at elBulli in Spain. She opened her first restaurant, Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina. I recently had the chance to speak with Katie. She told me a bit more about her path to working in a kitchen, her excitement about being a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Award Rising Star Chef of the Year, and her favorite food memory.
When sitting down to dinner at Bondir in Concord Massachusetts, one word came immediately to mind: comfortable. I’d never eaten there before, nor had I visited Bondir Cambridge, yet I felt instantly at ease. There’s something special in that kind of dining experience. That experience is thanks in large part to chef/owner Jason Bond. I spoke with Jason about his passion for food, how he got in to cooking, and his personal food memories.
Over the past several weeks I’ve had the chance to get to know more about Josh Lewin, Executive Chef of Beacon Hill Bistro located in the Beacon Hill Hotel. It started off like most of my interactions, with me exploring the opportunity to speak with a chef about their career. It spilled on to Twitter (back and forth about za’atar and foraging). Then, unexpectedly, it found its way to the table, eating together at a lunch pop-up held by Future Chefs Boston. The easy take away: Josh is a cool cat!
It’s hard to take an interest in the culinary world and not be aware of the food empire known as Momofuku. Originally opened in New York City by David Change in 2004, Momofuku is now a dozen restaurants strong, with outposts in Australia and Toronto. But, conquering the world is hard work, and requires the effort of more than one man – enter the exceptional team the Chang has built, which includes the executive chef of Momofuku Toronto, Sam Gelman.