Contractual Cravings

candy

 

What is it about celebrities and their eating habits that make such great tabloid fodder? Media empires have been built around the ridiculous rumors that abound about everyone from old-school crooners to pop princesses—but we couldn’t care less about who has had a nip or a tuck; we’re more interested in what they allegedly like to tuck into while in the greenroom.

 

Jumbo shrimp is an understandable enough request, and has supposedly turned up on the riders of Old Blue Eyes (in addition to an almost-full bar and some Life Savers) and the Beach Boys, who like their crustaceans with sides of fruit, alfalfa sprouts, and peanut M&Ms.

 

Members of Aerosmith reportedly have more internationally inspired cravings, including chicken tikka with yogurt and mint dip. At the other end of the spectrum, Britney Spears is said to request McDonald’s cheeseburgers (sans buns), and some say Axl Rose likes to pair... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony

 

An enduring staple of New York City’s dining landscape, Gramercy Tavern has held court with its masterful cuisine, warm atmosphere, and unparalleled hospitality. Below, the restaurant’s esteemed chef Michael Anthony, a 2014 Outstanding Chef Award nominee, fills us in on his earliest food memory, the springtime ingredients he stocks up on at the greenmarket, and his favorite local haunts.

 

JBF: How would you describe your culinary style?

 

Michael Anthony: I’d describe my culinary style as regional, contemporary American with vibrant seasonal flavors.

 

JBF: What item on the current Gramercy Tavern menu are you most proud of?

 

MA: I’m really proud of our spring onion flatbread with duck... Read more >

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Interview with Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole

Anna Mowry interviews Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole, a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program

 

At San Francisco’s Bar Agricole, ingredients are only used at peak condition and spirit producers are closely vetted. Even the bitters in the bar’s version of an Old Fashioned had to earn the team’s stamp of intensely discerning approval. We talked with Eric Johnson, bar manager and co-owner of this Outstanding Bar Program nominee, about his new spinoff, favorite watering holes, and more.  

 

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JBF: How would you sum up Bar Agricole's approach to making drinks to someone who has never had one there? 

 

EJ: We are an ingredient-driven bar that uses traditional recipes as our inspiration. We look for spirits that have a sense of place and tradition in how they are made, without added flavors or colors to make them more appealing to the heavily commercial spirits market. A... Read more >

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Awards Watch: Our Esteemed Hosts

 

Here's a look at the headliners who will be manning the podiums at the Beard Award ceremonies on May 2 and May 5. Don't forget: you can watch a live stream of Monday's ceremony here

 

Ted Allen is host of the 2014 James Beard Awards

Master of Ceremonies and JBF Award Winner Ted Allen

Host of Food Network's Chopped and America's Best Cook

 

James Beard Award winner Ted Allen is host of the hit series Chopped on Food Network, as well as a frequent contributor to the network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate series. He was a judge on the first four seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and was the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking Bravo... Read more >

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Mix Masters: How Three ’90s Icons Cooked Up a Funky Fresh Blend of Food and Music

Cibo Matto

 

2 Chainz couldn’t make it to the listening party at the Bon Appétit kitchen—he was delayed by a nine-hour stand-off with police in Oklahoma. Disappointed fans would have to wait to hear the rapper’s latest album and peruse the accompanying cookbook, #MealTime, featuring his favorite tour bus recipes. Those who needed a little something to tide them over could turn to Action Bronson, the culinary school grad and former chef, who made his bones with rhymes like “I’m on the art and the food scene. F*** rap, laying back eatin’ poutine.”

 

You don’t have to be a hip-hop head to notice the worlds of music and food getting hot and heavy lately. You may have read in Saveur about rockers trading their studded leather for chef’s coats. Or perhaps you’ve enjoyed a lick of “cinnamon and lesbians,” a soft-serve collaboration between Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar and indie vet Stephen Malkmus. (Think of it as hipster... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee David Posey

 

Now nearly 17 years old, Blackbird isn’t just one of Chicago’s most dependable fine restaurants; it’s still striving and innovating under the confident vision of chef de cuisine David Posey. A repeat nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year, chef Posey tells us what to order on the current menu, his favorite new Windy City spots, and more.

 

 

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JBF: Dana Cree, Blackbird’s pastry chef, is also a nominated for a Beard Award this year. How do you two work together? Does she have total autonomy over the dessert program? What do you like about her desserts?

 

DP: Dana and I work and collaborate very well together. We bounce ideas off one another, share inspiration, and test dishes on each other. Both Dana and I, for the most part, have complete autonomy over our menus. However, executive chef Paul Kahan has the final say. I like seeing the evolution of her pastries from inception to the final plated... Read more >

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A Soundtrack to Savor

2014 JBF Award nominee Matt Jennings gives us his ideal playlist

 

A JBF Award nominee and self-professed music geek, Matt Jennings gave us his ideal playlist for a day in his life as chef of Farmstead, Inc., an acclaimed farm- and artisan-driven restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

Morning

City and Colour: The Hurry and the Harm (2013)

“Dallas Green, the former singer for the now defunct post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, has completely come into his own with this release. He croons. He swoons. His falsetto spreads like butter over low-reverb toast. A perfect wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee album.”

 

Daytime Prep

Sparta: Wiretap Scars (2002)

“During prep, it’s important that the crew keeps moving and pushing hard right up to service. I’m a hardcore and punk fan, and this album has the kind of driving sound that keeps you on track and... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Suzanne Goin

Anna Mowry interviews Suzanne Goin, a nominee for the James Beard Foundation's 2014 Outstanding award

 

On the family tree of California restaurant empires, Suzanne Goin’s branch is sturdy, and still forming rings. Over the past decade and a half, along with business partner and fellow Beard nominee, Caroline Styne, she has built one of the most respected and acclaimed restaurant groups in Los Angeles. She also authored Sunday Suppers at Lucques, an essential title for many home cooks, and, last year, The A.O.C. Cookbook. In the following interview, Goin gets us up to speed on her latest venture and her last great meal.

 

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JBF: In February you and master baker Nathan Dakdouk opened ... Read more >

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How to Follow the 2014 Beard Awards

The 2014 James Beard Awards

 

Not joining us for the ceremonies at Lincoln Center this year? Not to worry! There are plenty of ways for you to get your fill of the Beards online.

 

Our Twitter page will be fired up for this Friday's Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards dinner at New York City's Gotham Hall, as well as for Monday night's gala at David H. Koch Theater. Winners will be tweeted as they are announced on stage. As always, you can use hashtag #jbfa to participate in Awards-related tweeting.

 

Also on Monday, we'll be streaming the ceremony live at jamesbeard.org/awards. And... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Jessica Largey of Manresa

 

Epicureans from around the country travel to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to get a taste of Manresa, where chef de cuisine Jessica Largey executes thoughtful, inventive, and elegant fare that’s steeped in the rich terroir of Northern California. Below, the 2014 nominee for our Rising Star Chef of the Year Award fills us in on her ideal kitchen playlist, earliest food memory, and thoughts on gender politics in the restaurant industry.

 

JBF: How would you describe your culinary style? 

 

Jessica Largey: I’d say that I have a naturalist approach, which is definitely something I’ve developed while at Manresa. I like using techniques that are purposeful and preserve the integrity of the product.  

 

JBF: What’s... Read more >

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