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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Hanging with Harris at the Beard House

 

If you’ve attended the JBF Gala auction in November in the past few years, you have been entertained by Billy Harris, our annual auctioneer and the host of the web program Hanging with Harris, in which Harris travels around the country and into the kitchens, bars, and restaurants of some of the country’s most talked-about chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs. In a recent five-part series, Harris dropped in at the Beard House to visit a few of our featured chefs as they prepared their one-night-only dinners, and also chatted with visiting William Grant & Sons mixologists, who created cocktails inspired by the chefs’ menus.

 

Charlotte Voisey and Billy Harris mixing up an Asian Pear Fizz

 

In his first episode, Harris joins William Grant’s Charlotte Voisey... 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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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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JBF to Help Create the USA Pavilion at the Next World’s Fair

USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

 

The James Beard Foundation is proud to be one of the partners creating the USA Pavilion at the next world’s fair in Italy in 2015. As President Obama announced to Prime Minister Renzi in Rome yesterday, “With our partners we're going to put together an outstanding USA pavilion that showcases American innovation to improve agriculture and nutrition and the health of people around the globe.”

 

Although food has always been an important part of the 160-year history of world’s fairs—from the introduction of the ice cream cone in 1904 in St. Louis to the unforgettable restaurant at the French Pavilion in 1939 in NYC to the first Belgian waffle served in the U.S. in 1964 in NYC—Expo Milano 2015 represents the first time the theme of the entire event will be food. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” will unite 140-plus countries into action around the challenges and... Read more >

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What’s a Vegetable?

rhubarb

 

Even the most hapless of cooks can take comfort in their ability to distinguish vegetables from fruits. Or can they? Maybe they already know about the tomato, the most famous crossover produce item. But we’re not sure if they’d correctly label eggplant (botanically classified as a fruit), rhubarb (a vegetable), or corn (every individual kernel, a fruit!). Even in this kale-cultivar-fluent era, our basic crisper-drawer taxonomy is still pretty out of whack.

 

What makes a vegetable a vegetable? There’s no hard and fast rule, but fruits are easier to define. The giveaway is seeds: botanists say that seeds are ripened ovules (i.e., eggs), which nest in ovaries that ripen into fruit. Cucumbers, bell peppers, avocados—all fruit.

 

Of course, the field guide should never dictate the fate of flavor. (Salty rhubarb? No thanks.) In the kitchen, good taste always rules.

 

 

About the author: Anna Mowry is senior editor at the James... Read more >

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Valuing Vegetables

The James Beard Foundation reports on the rise of vegetable cookery


No longer sidelined, produce is having its moment.

 

“Pretty disheartening” is how Amanda Cohen described the limp, bland roasted vegetables placed in front of her at some of New York City’s top tables in the early aughts. Though at the time farmers’ markets and Whole Foods were busy making kohlrabi and rainbow chard mainstream, most restaurants had yet to embrace plant-centered cooking.

 

“If someone was a vegetarian,” recalls New York–based food critic Ryan Sutton, who was a waiter during this same period, “you either gave them pasta or the chef put together a couple of side dishes, called it a main course, and charged $18.”

 

Fast-forward directly to 2014 and vegetable menus aren’t just for vegetarians anymore. Among adventurous epicures, cauliflower steaks are as much in demand as aged rib-eyes, and you can blow your paycheck on a vegetable tasting menu at any number of the country’s top... Read more >

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Up Your ’Gram Game

seafood stew

 

When pondering how to live better in 2014, we couldn’t help but think about improving our food photos—so we consulted an expert. Few people in the industry have greater knowledge of successful food photography than Bon Appétit’s creative director, Alex Grossman. The nominee for a 2012 JBF Award in Visual Storytelling (who also happens to have an enviable Instagram account of his own) sat down with us to share his expertise on capturing beautiful food images. Want to improve your skills? Read on! 

 

JBF: Why do you think Instagram has exploded with food photography? 

 

AG: Food revolves around the culture of sharing, so it's perfectly suited for social media. We... Read more >

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Better Weeknight Dinners

shakshuka

 

Just because you worked late doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a satisfying, home-cooked dinner. So put away the cereal bowls and take-out menus: JBF staffers have some quick dinner tips that will have you sitting down to the table in a snap.

 

 

Put an Egg on It

“For Israelis, shakshuka is a breakfast mainstay. For me, it’s a reliably easy and satisfying weeknight dish. You can make a basic version with pantry items: olive oil; a medium onion, chopped; 2 or 3 crushed garlic cloves; a 28-ounce can of peeled whole tomatoes; and eggs. Sauté the onion and garlic in oil, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt, black pepper, and your preferred ground hot pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Use the spoon to make 1 or 2 dimples in the stew. Crack an egg into each dimple.... Read more >

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Edward Behr on How to Eat Better in 2014

Edward Behr on How to Eat Better in 2014

 

In his new cookbook, 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste, noted culinary expert Edward Behr guides readers on how to select, prepare, and most importantly, enjoy, some of the world’s best foods. To help us get the new year started off right, here are Behr’s top ten tips for a delicious 2014. — JBF Editors

 

1. Eat better apples.

Most of the apples in supermarkets have been picked too soon, and even if they were stored well, they’ve spent too long in the distribution pipeline and then sat too long in displays without refrigeration. They’re not at their best. Instead go to a farmers’ market or a store that cares about fruit and offers great varieties with real flavor, such as Ashmead’s Kernel, Duchess of Oldenburg, Esopus Spitzenburg, Newtown Pippin, Wickson Crab, Pink Pearl, and Macoun (the best of the McIntosh family). Any of those are good for eating out of hand and are also excellent for cooking.

 

2. Eat fresher,

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