Interview with JBF Award Nominee Matt Rudofker of NYC’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar

 

After rising through the ranks at Vetri, Daniel, and London’s Fat Duck, Matt Rudofker caught the eye of industry titan David Chang, who has given him executive chef duties at not one, but two anchors of the international Momofuku empire, Má Pêche and Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York City. We chatted with the 2016 Beard Award nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year about the most enticing new dishes on his menus, his favorite local haunts, and a precarious competition in the Ssäm Bar kitchen. 

 

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JBF: Your first cooking gig was at Vetri in your hometown of Philadelphia. Were there any great lessons from that experience that have shaped you as a chef?

 

Matt Rudofker: I learned quite a lot of great lessons there, but the two things that always stuck with me are:... Read more >

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Interview with Rene Ortiz, Laura Sawicki, and Margaret Vera of JBF Award–Nominated Launderette

Photo: Giant Noise

 

Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki had already won over Austinites with their Mexican and Thai-inspired eateries La Condesa and Sway, so it should come as no surprise that their latest venture, Launderette, was a roaring success since its opening last year. With its far-ranging menu featuring “feel-good food” from across the globe, the Launderette team has created a neighborhood joint that extends far beyond East Austin. Read on for our conversation with Ortiz, Sawicki, and co-owner Margaret Vera about the restaurant’s genesis and how the menu reflects their overall philosophy.

 

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JBF: Can you tell us the story behind your restaurant's name?

 

Launderette Team: The property had been a laundromat for 50 years, and we wanted to carry on the tradition of neighbors and friends coming together. “Launderette... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Juice Cocktail by 2016 Beard Award Nominee Cure

 

To honor this year’s Beard Awards, we asked each of our 2016 Outstanding Bar Program semifinalists to create a cocktail inspired by a television show. Neal Bodenheimer, partner at the stylish (and now JBFA-nominated) New Orleans establishment Cure, crafted this “sunrise-style” drink based on the highly publicized trial (and recent television series) The People v. O.J. Simpson. As he explains, the cocktail is irreverent, “because that’s the way we process controversy in New Orleans.” Get the recipe.

 

Learn more about the 2016 ... Read more >

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Interview with Alon Shaya of JBF Award–Nominated Shaya in New Orleans

 

The phrase “New Orleans cuisine” may not conjure images of crispy halloumi with caramelized celery root and pomegranate molasses; shakshuka with chermoula and Jerusalem artichokes; or matzoh ball soup with escarole and slow-cooked duck. Yet one of the most coveted tables in the Crescent City is at Alon Shaya’s eponymous eatery, Shaya, a 2016 JBF Award nominee for Best New Restaurant. Shaya and his team blend the indigenous flavors of Israel with locally sourced ingredients and Louisiana culinary traditions, and their efforts have garnered acclaim from all corners of the industry. We caught up with last year's Best Chef: South award winner to learn about his love affair with wood-roasted cabbage, how Hurricane Katrina changed the course of his life, and his favorite Big Easy eats.

 

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JBF: What does modern Israeli cuisine mean to you?

 

Alon Shaya:... Read more >

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Recipe: Miso Squid from the JBF Award–Nominated "Preserving the Japanese Way" Cookbook

 

No one can deny the popularity of salted, pickled, and fermented foods. Nearly every menu we come across at the Beard House features some form of preserved item—from pickled cranberries to salt herring to preserved Meyer lemon, there’s no doubt that preserved foods are de rigueur​ right now. But this palate-expanding trend has long been an essential method to extend the harvest in kitchens around the globe. In her latest cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, Nancy Singleton Hachisu documents Japan's centuries-old techniques that conserve and preserve foods. Featuring Hachisu’s artful yet... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: What’s Your Favorite Food-Related Moment in a Television Show?

 

Ever since James Beard appeared on America’s first cooking show, food has been one of the most popular subjects in broadcasting. In anticipation of our celebration of the role of cuisine on television, we asked some of the chefs cooking at this year's James Beard Awards to tell us their favorite food-themed moment in the medium. 

 

JBF Award Winners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooking an omelet on his gastrobike in A Cook on the Wild Side.

 

JBF Award Winner Aaron Franklin
Franklin Barbecue, Austin
The brontosaurus ribs on the car in the Flintstones intro.

 

JBF Award Winner Jessica Largey
... Read more >

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Interview with Ashley Christensen of Best New Restaurant Nominee Death & Taxes

 

Ashley Christensen made a name for herself as one of North Carolina’s notable tastemakers when she first opened Raleigh's Poole’s Diner in 2007, and hasn't stopped since. Known for her comfort food classics using locally sourced ingredients, the 2014 JBF Award winner for Best Chef: Southeast has another hit on her hands with her year-old hot spot, Death & Taxes. Nominated for a 2016 JBF Award for Best New Restaurant, Death & Taxes wholly dedicates itself to its enormous two-ton wood-burning grill, serving tempting dishes like ember-killed salad with country ham and poussin with coal-roasted carrots. We caught up with Christensen to find out where her flame-loving tendencies originated, where that quirky name came from, and why collaboration is so important.

 ... Read more >

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Awards Watch: The Golden Age of Food TV Is Now

 

If you spend your time among food and television journalists, as I do, you may think that food television is over. It isn’t.

 

If you don’t happen to be one of the millions of people who love Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, then change the channel. There’s awesome food content elsewhere. Or turn off the big box and watch a food video on your phone. Have you not seen the gorgeously lush storytelling of Chef’s Table on Netflix? The complex kitchen grit of The Mind of a Chef on PBS? Or the irresistible fluff of Tastemade’s Snapchat channel, where I recently lingered on a clip showing how to make salted caramel brownies? There are so many diverse sources and platforms for distribution, and it's ever-growing.

 

“Having a bad day?” Snapchat host Dzung Duong beckons in a voice gentler than a golf commentator. “Well, I’ve got the ultimate comfort dessert for you.” Yes, please.... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Alex Bois of Philadelphia's High Street on Market

 

Armed with a degree in biochemistry, Alex Bois left college determined to make his mark brewing beer, but a bout of Hepatitis E changed his life forever, redirecting his fermentation fervor away from hops and towards the humble loaf of bread. New York City and Philadelphia diners have been the lucky recipients of this happy accident, as Bois has won their hearts crust by crust with his wares at High Street Hospitality Group’s eateries. Read on to see what the 2016 JBF Award nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year learned from his JBF Award–winning mentor Jim Lahey, what the French have gotten right about bread, and the best way to get a customer to try a new loaf.  

 

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JBF: Your mentor Jim Lahey is being inducted into the Who’s Who of Food &
Beverage in America this year. How has his philosophy on bread baking informed yours? What was the greatest lesson you took from your time at Sullivan
... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Transfusion Cocktail by 2016 Beard Award Semifinalist Canon

 

To honor this year’s Beard Awards, we asked each of our 2016 Outstanding Bar Program semifinalists to create a cocktail inspired by a television show. This inventive drink from the Seattle beloved watering hole Canon takes its inspiration from The Walking Dead, because everyone knows that the only chance to beat zombie infection is to swap out your blood for booze. Get the recipe.

 

Learn more about the 2016 James Beard Awards.

 

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