Raising the Bar: How to Make Better Cocktails at Home with Audrey Saunders

Audrey Saunders of New York City's Pegu Club


We tapped the Pegu Club owner and 2013 JBF Gala mixologist to share her tips for better at-home mixology.


Simple Syrup, Simply Put

When it comes to cocktails, we don’t want to cook simple syrup; that increases its viscosity. There are exceptions, but we generally don’t want heaviness in a cocktail. Fill a bottle halfway with superfine sugar, which is gritless and dissolves instantly. (I like to repurpose 10-ounce glass soda bottles. They’re ideal for home use and a speed pourer fits perfectly into them.) Fill the other half with filtered, room-temperature water. Cap and shake well. The mixture will appear cloudy at first but will quickly settle. Top off with more water. When it’s transparent, it’s ready for use.


Vermouth: Smaller Is Better

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Our Favorite Dishes (and Drinks!) of 2013


Recaps of trends and memes are all well and good, but we like to define a year of eating in more satisfying terms: the food that really delivered. Herewith, our favorite dishes of 2013. And, for the first time ever, we’re including a handful of drinks that wowed us, too.

—Anna Mowry, Senior Editor






Bacalhau with Olives, Chilies, and Mint from Fat Rice in Chicago


Bacalhau with Olives, Chilies, and Mint

Fat Rice, Chicago


At Logan Square’s Fat Rice, owners Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo recast Macanese cuisine as “Euro-Asian comfort food,” cherry-picking the larders of Portugal, India, China, and Southeast Asia to craft a menu that feels at once novel and familiar. Some dishes, like braised sweet-and-sour pork belly with tamarind, pineapple, and... Read more >

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The 2013 JBF Leadership Awards Dinner: A Menu in Three Acts

James Beard Award–winning chef Maria Hines


Are you voting with your fork? We did last night! For our 2013 JBF Leadership Awards, which celebrate visionaries responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world, we asked JBF Award–winning chef Maria Hines to come to New York City and create a menu to honor these inspiring individuals. For the occasion, the esteemed chef of Seattle's Tilth and Golden Beetle created a menu in which each dish represents a different facet of food policy. Read on to see the menu and learn about chef Maria’s inspiration behind each course:


The 2013 JBF Leadership Awards Dinner: A Menu in Three Acts
Created by JBF Award winner Maria Hines


Inspiration: The annual JBF Food Conference has a sustainability focus. When they invited me to be the chef for the corresponding JBF Leadership Awards this year, I... Read more >

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Eating the Big Apple: New York City's Cuisine Is Emerging

Savory black-and-white cookies at Eleven Madison Park (photo by Thomas Krakowiak)


Savory black-and-white cookies iced with Périgord truffle. Smoked sturgeon–wrapped gnocchi fritti cigarettes schmeared with cream cheese and dipped in poppy seeds. Fiery kung pao pastrami. These are signs of a New York City cuisine emerging in the minds and on the menus of chefs around town. It’s a new cuisine based on old flavors, local ingredients, nostalgic resonances, and the culinary culture clash of ethnicities that call New York home.


Feeling the pressure, perhaps, from cutting-edge chefs in Denmark who are foraging their wilderness for a true taste of terroir and cooks in Charleston who have heirloom grains growing in their backyards, some New York chefs appear to be on the search for an authentic cuisine they can call their own. “We were drinking Manhattans in a Paris hotel bar when Daniel first told me that he wanted to write a book about New York cuisine,” begins Will Guidara’s introduction... Read more >

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12 Dishes We Loved in 2012

Between attending guest-chef dinners at the Beard House and our travels to other cities for various fundraisers and programs, the JBF team collectively feasts on a broad swath of American food every year. After another rush of meals in 2012, we’re confident that this country’s cuisine is more exciting than ever. We wish we could give a shout-out to every dish that wowed us, but we’re going to keep this salute to a tidy, stellar dozen.




Cucumber-cured Arctic char with melon, mint, and kasha from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine

Cucumber-Cured Arctic Char with Melon, Mint, and Kasha

Eventide Oyster Co. / Portland, Maine


We had high hopes for this brisk and sunny oyster bar: it’s run by the same people who inherited Hugo’s from JBF Award winner Rob Evans. We weren’t disappointed. Our favorite dish... Read more >

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Ode to the Cookie


Gingerbread. Sugar. The all-American chocolate chip. The holidays are coming and we’ve got cookies on our minds—making them, gifting them, receiving them—and, of course, eating them. We talked to some of our favorite cookie experts to get their secrets, holiday traditions, and morsels of cookie wisdom. 





Christina Tosi

The acclaimed pastry chef at Momofuku Milk Bar and recipient of the 2012 JBF Rising Star Chef Award is known for her whimsical desserts, including her “compost cookies,” which include all manner of delicious junk, such as pretzels and potato chips.


JBF: Where do you find inspiration for your cookie flavor combinations?


CT: Inspiration comes from all over! My grandmother’s recipe box, my mother’s latest food-article clipping, the... Read more >

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The Past on the Plate: Translating Powerful Food Memories into Unforgettable Meals


by Jamie Feldmar


One transformative taste, whether it’s of a perfectly ripe summer tomato or an elaborate chef’s menu, can linger far longer in the mind than it does on the tongue. As anyone who remembers a sacred sandwich from childhood can attest, food memories rarely exist in a vacuum; they are inextricably tied to where you were when you had that unforgettable bite.


Those who make food their career tend to understand the importance of creating lasting food memories—most chefs hope the meals they craft will stay with their diners for years to come. They often draw inspiration from their own food memories, in ways both recognizable and unexpected.


Chris Hastings, 2012 JBF Best Chef: South award winner and owner of Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, spent his childhood summers on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where he was once charged with catching fish, crabs, oysters, clams, and shrimp for his family’s dinner.


“My grandma... Read more >

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Wild Food: Chefs on the Hunt for Native Ingredients


by Jessica Ferri and Alison Tozzi Liu


At one of the most revered restaurants on earth, the chef is almost as well known for the way he procures his ingredients as he is for how he cooks them. At Noma, which has held onto the coveted top slot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the third year in a row, chef René Redzepi doesn’t just serve foods native to his homeland of Denmark—he’s often found plucking local treasures from the soil himself.


In the years since Redzepi and his compatriots struck a culinary nerve by taking locavorism to the next level, many chefs—several Redzepi protégés among them—have helped launch a worldwide foraging trend that has begun to eclipse the modernist, technique-driven focus that dominated restaurant kitchens during the past decade.


On the Job


Though there are certainly chefs who like to go out into local fields and forests to gather ingredients themselves, some restaurants now employ professional foragers... Read more >

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Spirited Artisans


After states lifted Prohibition-era distilling bans a few years ago, craft spirit producers started to crop up in cities all over America. Jamie Feldmar reports on the comeback of the urban distillery.




Move over inner-city farmers, rooftop beekeepers, and backyard chickens. It’s time to meet the latest urban industry: moonshine.


Well, not exactly; it’s legal. In recent years, a growing number of craft spirit producers have been building aboveboard distilleries in city centers, eschewing wide-open spaces in exchange for the opportunity to connect directly with their customers. Inspired by the do-it-yourself philosophy of the local-food movement, they’re injecting that same spirit into, well, spirits.


During Prohibition (1920–1933), moonshiners illicitly distilled corn mash into low-grade liquor with a smell and taste so strong it’s a wonder anyone wanted to smuggle it at all. After the repeal it became... Read more >

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Eating to the Extreme: How Broadening Your Culinary Horizons Can Help Improve Our Food System

Andrew Zimmern

This piece, written by JBF Award winner and television host Andrew Zimmern, originally appeared in the February/March 2012 issue of JBF Notes, the James Beard Foundation's member newsletter. Don't miss out on future articles; become a member today!


Extreme cuisine. Oddities. Fear Factor food. These are terms I hear almost everywhere I go. They are whispered in the corners of rooms by squeamish skeptics who make me out to be some kind of culinary pervert.

Long before my show Bizarre Foods was ever conceptualized, I was excited about jungle markets and the amazing foods I found there. I had traveled a lot as a young child and knew that a tiny, whole-roasted piglet I encountered abroad tasted way better than the dry... Read more >

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