Interview with Oustanding Chef Award Nominee Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri is a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Oustanding Chef


When Marc Vetri opened his eponymous restaurant on Philadelphia’s Spruce Street 15 years ago, he served spicy penne with tomatoes and capers, a daily risotto, and other dishes that might seem light years away from what we see on current modern Italian menus. But today's bucatini-and-budino world remains undeniably linked to his emphasis on quality over quantity. We spoke to the Outstanding Chef award nominee, whose seventh restaurant will open this year, for details about his forthcoming pasta book and his new obsession with wheat.




JBF: You celebrated Vetri's 15th anniversary last year. How has your experience with Vetri influenced how you open new concepts and maintain them?


MV: Vetri is its own thing. It can’t be reproduced in another restaurant. It’s way too personal, so I try to not compare any new project to it. It... Read more >

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Awards Watch: The 2014 Gala Reception Menu

The 2014 James Beard Awards


This year the James Beard Awards theme is “Sounds of the City,” and it celebrates the enduring relationship between music and food. After the medals are handed out, the gala reception at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, a special song, or an impactful musician. Here's what's on the menu:


Jonathan Benno
Lincoln Ristorante, NYC
Dish: Muffaletta
Musical Inspiration: New Orleans Jazz


Dante Boccuzzi
Dante, Cleveland
Dish: The “Beet” of a Different Drum > Beet-Tinted Hamachi and Lemon–Caper Rémoulade
Musical Inspiration: Hard Rock


Jean-Paul Bourgeois and Jeffrey Held
Blue Smoke, NYC
Presented by Delta Air Lines®
Dish: Smoked Black Pepper Sausage with Pimento Cheese and... Read more >

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Interview with the Violet Hour’s Toby Maloney

The Violet Hour


The Violet Hour beckons discerning clientele with many luxuries: a romantic, serene space with floor-to-ceiling curtains, high-backed blue leather chairs, flickering candles and chandeliers; fine-tuned volume levels and elbow room; and an eclectic selection of artisanal cocktails made with painstaking precision. Below, partner/mixologist Toby Maloney tell us how the 2014 Outstanding Bar Program nominee is influenced by its Chicago environs, the poetic inspiration behind its name, and his favorite spring cocktail.


JBF: How would you describe the Violet Hour’s mixology style? 


Toby Maloney: We’ve been described as minimalist, traditionalist, and culinary-focused. I think we are an amalgamation of all of them.


JBF: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee Katie Button


After jumping ship from academia, Katie Button has shot up the culinary ranks at warp speed. With a coveted stage at the late el Bulli under her apron strings, she now showcases her technical prowess and knack for innovation at Cúrate and the new Nightbell, her two family-owned and operated establishments in Asheville, North Carolina. We spoke with Button about her favorite dishes from her menus, her forthcoming cookbook, and why she never wants to stop learning.




JBF: You just opened a new bar called Nightbell. Can you talk about what you're doing there? What’s the menu like? What's the story behind the name?


KB: The idea was to create a cocktail bar that offered the whole package: delicious bites, surprising desserts, and well-crafted cocktails. And we didn't stop there: we also handpicked a great variety of large-format, 22-ounce beers, and we offer... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee David Kinch

David Kinch of Manresa


Critically acclaimed for his inventive, Michelin-starred California cuisine at Manresa, David Kinch has followed his 2010 Best Chef: Pacific win with three straight Outstanding Chef semifinalist nods. Here, the 2014 JBF Award nominee tells us about his new cookbook, a recent food-filled jaunt to Japan, and where he finds his inspiration to continue evolving as a chef.


JBF: What’s your favorite item on the current Manresa menu?


David Kinch: Our menu changes before you can get really comfortable with any particular item. However, at the moment, we have these tiny, sweet carrots served in an Asian-style beef broth with toasted buckwheat and breadcrumbs that I’m very fond of.


JBF: Can you tell us about... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Sean Brock

Sean Brock is a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Oustanding Chef


For the second year in a row, the well-rounded Sean Brock, whose obsessions stretch from fine-tuning burgers and fried chicken to resurrecting heirloom seeds and studying Senegalese cookery, is nominated for the JBF Award for Outstanding Chef. Below, Brock tells us about his sprawling cookbook, an upcoming Charleston concept, and much more.




JBF: Let's start with a subject that's near and dear to your heart: burgers. You do such an admired one at Husk. What are some other chef-driven burgers that have you have tried and really loved?


SB: For me, burgers are an enormous passion. But anything that's an icon like that is going to result in some really bad versions of it. For every ten bad ones, there's a half-good one. People try to do too much to it. You have to keep it simple. So, my favorite burgers? The one at... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island


Tucked away in an archipelago off the coast of Washington lies the elegant Willows Inn on Lummi Island, where chef Blaine Wetzel helms the nationally renowned kitchen. Here, the four-time nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year tell us about his formative culinary experiences, how he draws inspiration from the Pacific Northwest’s terroir, and the ubiquitous food trend he hopes will disappear.


JBF: How would you describe your culinary style? 


Blaine Wetzel: My culinary style is determined by geography. The Pacific Northwest offers an abundance of beautiful ingredients that shape the way we cook. Whether it’s wild salmon, our garden's cherry blossoms, or the first nettles of the season, we just try to showcase that particular item. 


JBF: The tagline for your... Read more >

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Interview with the Bar at the NoMad Hotel’s Leo Robitschek

Leo Robitschek of the Bar at the NoMad Hotel 

Step into the Bar at the NoMad Hotel, and you’ll be instantly transported to a time when New York City hotel bars were the pinnacle of glamour and mastery of craft. The 24-foot-long mahogany bar, leather chairs, and towering shelves of backlit Art Deco–era tomes evoke a timeless elegance, while proprietary cocktails are prepared using modern techniques and seasonal ingredients. Below, the Outstanding Bar Program Award nominee’s beverage director Leo Robitschek tells us about his ultimate food and drink pairing, how the impressive beverage menu is curated, and his favorite local haunts. 


JBF: How does the NoMad bar program differ from your first venture at Eleven Madison Park?


Leo Robitschek:​ The NoMad was our chance to take what we did at EMP... Read more >

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Interview with Maxwell Britten of Maison Premiere

Maxwell Britten of Maison Premiere


With its rigorous cocktail program, romantic environs, and dapper staff, Outstanding Bar Award nominee Maison Premiere is an oasis of Old World style in Brooklyn’s Pabst Blue Ribbon country. Below, beverage director Maxwell Britten tells us about his favorite drink on the current menu, the first recipe he mastered as a young barkeep, and how to make a great mint julep for your Kentucky Derby bash.   




JBF: How would you sum up the Maison Premiere philosophy?


MB: I think the overall goal is to have a transporting experience for our guests. We try to do this through both visuals and the menu. As you walk in the door, the first thing you see is the horseshoe bar. You see the absinthe fountain made of green marble, and the pristinely dressed bartenders with suspenders and slicked-back hair. And then there's the menu, which is like an archive... Read more >

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Awards Watch: 2014 Journalism Nominees

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Journalism Nominees


Want to check out our 2014 Journalism Award nominees, but don't know where to start? We've done the hard work for you and compiled links to all of the stories that are up for medals. Now have at it!


The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held in New York City in May. The Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards ceremony will take place at Gotham Hall on Friday, May 2, with the James Beard Awards Gala to follow on Monday, May 5, at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Tickets to the main gala are now on sale, while the Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards ceremony is by invitation only.




Cooking, Recipes, or Instruction


Scott Mowbray and Ann Taylor Pittman
Cooking Light
... Read more >

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