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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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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Reflections on a Delicious Legacy: JBF Celebrates 25 years of Shining a Spotlight on Chefs

Adapted excerpt from the introduction to The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs

This article is excerpted and adapted from the introduction to The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs, which is being published this spring. Preorder your copy today from our Amazon store.

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Looking back on the past 25 years, it’s hard to believe how much American food and food culture has evolved. When the James Beard Foundation was founded in November 1986 by Peter Kump, Julia Child, and other friends and colleagues of James Beard, no one could have imagined that there would one day be two 24-hour television networks devoted to food programming. It would have been

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Voting with Your Forks: How We Can All Have a Positive Impact on our Food System



Insufficient access to fresh food. Childhood obesity. Eroded soil. Many of us know that our food system is rife with problems, but aren’t sure how we, as food shoppers, cooks, and eaters, can bring about change.

The key, according to Karen Karp, president of NYC food business consultancy Karp Resources and a partner in planning the recent JBF Food Conference, is to focus on making progress—and remember that we won’t solve these big problems all at once. “Sustainability is a journey, not a destination,” says Karp. “That kind of thinking can really instigate some change.”

Our 2011 Leadership Award recipients and members of our advisory board agree that there is a lot we can all do. Here are their suggestions.

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“Cook. If you don’t cook your food it invariably gets cooked for you. It gets processed and it gets manipulated. And when that happens you eat less nutritiously. And the environment suffers. And

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An Autumnal Cheese Primer

An autumnal cheese primer from chef Matt Jennings and the James Beard Foundation

Sure, fall’s harvest brings tons of great produce, but as JBF Award nominee, chef, and master cheesemonger Matt Jennings explains, it’s also the peak season for cheese.

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You can tell a lot about your cheese from how it tastes, and the flavors of true artisan American cheeses are as varied as the seasons in which they’re created.

It’s a well-known truth in the tight-knit world of professional cheesemongers that autumn in particular brings a bounty of small-production cheeses from farms and producers across the country—each with a distinct flavor profile and a story all its own.

While it can be hard to choose, here are some of our favorite cheeses to purchase and consume in the autumn months.

Vermont Shepherd // Vermont Shepherd Farm, Vermont
Vermont Shepherd, an American raw-milk classic, is created by David Major... Read more >

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