Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Traci Des Jardins

JBF Award winner Traci Des Jardins

 

JBF Award Winner Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

 

What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

Tortilla chips and salsa.

 

Describe the last great meal you ate.

I had a great bite the other night: griddled rice cake with uni in soy butter and watercress. It was divine—texture, flavors, everything.

 

What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

I don’t have favorites—that would be like saying you have a favorite child.

 

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Popcorn with real butter.

 

What’s your earliest food memory?

Eating oatmeal in my high chair.

 

What do you eat for breakfast?

Cottage cheese with coarse salt, pepper, and olive oil.

 

What’s your favorite healthy food?

Lacinato kale.

 

What was your... Read more >

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Food in Film: Gourmets

From food fights to fava beans and a nice Chianti, here are some more memorable food scenes.

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Grant Achatz

 

JBF Award Winner Grant Achatz, The Aviary, Chicago

 

What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

Pizza.

 

What’s your favorite movie, and why

Big Fish. It's a fairy tale and a life lesson.

 

Describe the last great meal you ate.

The French Laundry—need I say more?

 

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Cheese-flavored Pirate's Booty.

 

What’s your earliest food memory?

Making cherry Jell-O.

 

What do you eat for breakfast?

Coffee.

 

What’s your favorite healthy food?

Juices from Peeled, a local juice company.

 

What was your first job in the culinary world?

At my parents’ restaurant.

 

What movie are you ashamed to admit you love?

The Goonies.

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Gabriel Rucker

JBF Award winner Gabriel Rucker

 

JBF Award Winner Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR

 

What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

In-N-Out cheeseburgers.

 

What’s your favorite movie, and why?

The Last of the Mohicans—the beautiful cinematography and the history.

 

Describe the last great meal you ate.

Lunch at our favorite spot: Clark Lewis. Great fresh salads and handmade pastas with the most amazing ragù. I always treat my son with the respect of an adult diner even though he is only one.

 

What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

Right now, scallops with fresh heart of palm.

 

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Sour Patch Kids.

 

What’s your earliest food memory?

Eating sweetbreads at the CIA in Napa. [I had] no idea what they were, but I loved them.

 

What do you... Read more >

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Winner Recap!

 

America’s Classic: Frank Fat’s, Sacramento, CA

 

Outstanding Restaurant Design Award: 75 Seats and Under: Design Firm: Taavo Somer; Designer: Taavo Somer; Project: Isa, Brooklyn, NY

 

Outstanding Restaurant Design Award: 76 Seats and over: Design Firm: Alejandro Barrios Carrero Designs; Designer: Alejandro Barrios Carrero; Project: Juvia, Miami Beach, FL

 

America’s Classic: C.F. Folks, Washington, D.C.

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America's Classic: C. F. Folks

 

1225 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 
Owner: Art Carlson

 

Art Carlson’s weekday-only lunch haunt on Dupont Circle, open since 1981, is a 600-square-foot temple of honest cooking and goodwill. (The name combines the initials of Carlson and his business partner, Peggy Fredricksen.) The vibe is loud and scrappy, and the food is delicious. Art Carlson, the ever-present host, is one of the last of a dying breed: a hands-on owner who schmoozes and teases his customers, often at the same time.

 

The place, with its 11 counter stools, is comfortable in its age. Behind the long Formica counter, racks of cookbooks from Julia Child and fellow titans share space with scribbled postcards, a rattletrap stereo system, a collection of old political campaign buttons, and a jumble of knickknacks including a Presidential Barbie and dusty cans of Alpo and Cheez Whiz.

 

The cooking is in the hands of George Vetsch, a veteran... Read more >

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Aarón Sánchez

JBF Award winner Aarón Sánchez

 

JBF Award Winner Aarón Sánchez, Mestizo, Leawood, KS

 

What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

Fried chicken.

 

What’s your favorite movie, and why?

Rocky, because it’s all about the underdog.

 

Describe the last great meal you ate.

My last great meal was at chef John Besh’s restaurant August in New Orleans. We had just about everything on the menu, but the real standouts were the potato gnocchi, the seafood, and all the meat dishes.

 

What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

The grilled mahi-mahi tacos at Mestizo.

 

What’s your earliest food memory?

Making tortillas with my mom when I was 12.

 

What do you eat for breakfast?

Eggs Benedict. My favorite is with Swiss chard and smoked bacon.

 

What’s your favorite healthy food?... Read more >

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Gala Chef Q & A: Melissa Perello

Melissa Perello

Melissa Perello, Frances, San Francisco

 

What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

Ice cream and doughnuts.

 

Describe the last great meal you ate.

Some memorable dishes of late: tiger salad from Mission Chinese, chicory salad with dates and crispy chicken skin at Rich Table, smoked potatoes with pickled ramp mayo at Bar Tartine,a guinea hen dumpling at State Bird Provisions, yogurt at Manka’s Inverness Lodge, and a Meyer lemon semifreddo that my pastry chef made.

 

What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

I like to think that I dominate in the whole soup category.

 

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Salty buttered popcorn (homemade when possible).

 

What’s your earliest food memory?

My grandmother’s peanut brittle.

 

What do you eat for breakfast?

Does coffee count?

 

What’s your... Read more >

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Winner Recap!

Best Chef: Great Lakes: Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat, Chicago

 

Best Chef: Midwest: Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, MO

 

America’s Classic: Kramarczuck’s

 

Best Chef: Southeast: Joseph Lenn, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

 

Best Chef: Southwest: Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja, Denver

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America's Classic: Frank Fat's

 

806 L Street, Sacramento, CA 
Owners: the Fat Family

 

Frank Fat’s is a political landmark in California, once known as the “Third House” and one of Sacramento’s oldest restaurants. It serves Chinese-American food and is renowned for honey- walnut prawns; Frank’s-style New York steak (grilled, sliced, and smothered in sautéed onions and oyster sauce); Fat’s brandy fried chicken; and banana cream pie.

 

Kevin Hefner, writing about the restaurant’s 70th anniversary in 2009 in Capitol Weekly, said: “The restaurant often was the site of political meetings that, according to some, sometimes accomplished more than those in the Capitol. The most notable of these deals was the “Napkin Deal” of 1987, written on the back of a napkin by the participants that defined a multimillion-dollar pact between the lawyers, insurers, doctors, and business interests over tort reform.”

 

Willie Brown, former assembly Speaker and San Francisco mayor, recalls that it was the place... Read more >

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