Enlightened Eaters: Candice Kumai on Clean Eating

Photo by Andrew Lipovsky

 

Despite years of modeling, Candice Kumai never felt sexy until she made the decision to revamp her diet and her lifestyle. Kumai switched to “clean eating,” and hasn’t looked back since, finding satisfaction and success as a chef, wellness journalist, and cookbook author. The Top Chef  alum detailed her experiences at our recent Enlightened Eaters event, which focused on her newest cookbook, Clean Green Eats. We spoke with Kumai about the importance of family, her inspiration to eat and cook better, and whole-food diet tips for the home cook.

 

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JBF: When did you start to focus on clean eating? 

 

Candice Kumai: My mom always scolded me for eating too many processed foods as a teen, and I never really got it until I started to eat clean in my mid-20s. It was the tremendous... Read more >

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Derek Wagner: Local Seafood Champion

 

The phrase “farm-to-table” has become near-ubiquitous, but what about boat-to-table? Derek Wagner, of Nick’s on Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island, has made it a part of his restaurant’s philosophy for nearly a decade, and aims to encourage other chefs to reconnect with regional seafood sources. In anticipation of our upcoming JBF Culinary Lab: Talkin’ Trash Fish, offered in partnership with Chefs Collaborative and led by Wagner, we chatted with the chef about his motivations for reaching out to local fishermen, the state of our nation’s seafood diet, and how both chefs and diners can help to change the landscape.

 

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James Beard Foundation: The notion of farm-to-table, whole-animal use in restaurants has become more mainstream now, but... Read more >

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Jonathon Sawyer, Part Two: Tuna and Trash Fish

Photo by Billy Delfs

 

In part two of our interview with Jonathon Sawyer (read part one here), the tireless activist and JBF Award winner explains why nobody should be eating bluefin tuna, how people can eat more sustainable seafood, and why trash fish is delicious.

 

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JBF: You recently wrote a piece for Esquire where you state that you’ve given up tuna. Do you still cook with it for your restaurants or any other events?

 

Jonathon Sawyer: No, we would never do that. I can say this with a fair amount of confidence, there’s really only ever been tuna in our restaurants once, and it was maybe about three-and-a-half years ago, at Noodle Cat. A chef that was new to the company did a special with some tuna. I think that’s literally the only time it’s ever been in the... Read more >

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Q&A with Patti Jackson of Delaware and Hudson

 

The past comes alive at Williamsburg’s Delaware and Hudson, where chef Patti Jackson introduces modern palates to her signature mix of farmhouse fare and resurrected regional cuisine. Inspired by the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic and the legacy of the past cooks and writers who tamed it, Jackson proudly straddles the line between homage and invention. In anticipation of her appearance at this summer’s Chefs & Champagne®, we chatted with Jackson about returning to the tent, highlights of her current menu, and the signature sandwich of her childhood summer adventures.

 

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JBF: What is the inspiration behind your dish for Chefs & Champagne?

 

PJ: I love bluefish and, given the focus of Delaware and Hudson, New Jersey bluefish is a great local product. Bluefish pâté has been on our menu several times over... Read more >

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Q&A with JBF Award Winner Tony Maws

 

Say the phrase “Boston fine dining,” and it’s hard not to think of Craigie on Main, JBF Award winner Tony Maw’s venerable slow-food mecca that has delighted tourists and Beantown locals for over a decade. Maws has expanded his local footprint with the more casual Kirkland Tap & Trotter, which applies his terroir-focused approach to the local gastropub. In anticipation of his appearance at our upcoming Chefs & Champagne®, we chatted with Maws about memories of family fishing, modern diners’ palates, and his personal gusto for grilling.

 

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JBF: What is the inspiration behind your dish for Chefs & Champagne?

 

TM: No grand epiphanies, really. I was just thinking that grilling out on a beautiful day... Read more >

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Q&A with JJ Johnson of the Cecil

 

New Yorkers across the five boroughs have been singing the praises of the Cecil’s unique blend of Afro-Asian-American cooking. No small part of that is due to its chef, JJ Johnson, a 2015 semifinalist for JBF’s Rising Star Chef of the Year and 2014 entrant in Forbes's “30 under 30.” After wowing Beard House diners back in January, Johnson returns to the Beard Foundation our 25th-anniversary Chefs & Champagne®​ tasting party in the Hamptons. We spoke to Johnson about finding inspiration through travel, the importance of family, and what technique he thinks deserves a little more love from American chefs and gourmands.

 

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JBF: What is the inspiration behind your dish for Chefs & Champagne?

 

JJ: I was inspired by an amazing... Read more >

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Last Licks with Jacques Torres

 

He may be known around the world as Mr. Chocolate, but JBF Award–winning pastry chef Jacques Torres grew up on ice cream. After selling ice cream sandwiches in his acclaimed stores for years, Torres opened his first shop dedicated to the frozen treat in 2009, and recently transformed a stand in Grand Central Station into the latest iteration of Jacques Torres Ice Cream. JBF assistant editor Maggie Borden sat down with the master chocolatier to get the full scoop.

 

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Maggie Borden: You’re known as Mr. Chocolate, but clearly you have a sweet spot for ice cream. What made you want to open an ice cream shop in the first place?

 

Jacques Torres: I carry ice cream sandwiches in all of my chocolate stores. It’s actually very common for chocolate makers to sell ice cream, because... Read more >

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Q&A with Matt John Wells of Fung Tu

Photo by Todd Carroll

 

You won’t find chicken lo mein or chop suey at Fung Tu, the Chinese-American hot spot earning raves from the New York Times and Eater. Instead, chef Matt John Wells (alongside chef/owner Jonathan Wu) integrate the breadth of the American culinary spirit into the Chinese oeuvre, turning out inspired creations like “china-quiles,” which transforms ma po tofu into the classic Mexican brunch dish. Wells and Wu are bringing their elevated fusion fare to our upcoming Chefs & Champagne®. We sat down with Wells to get his take on his C&C debut, summer favorites, and what he thinks defines a chef’s personal cuisine.

 

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JBF: What is the inspiration behind your dish for Chefs & Champagne?

 

MJW: It was kind of on the fly! We had to... Read more >

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Q&A with Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy

 

Amanda Cohen does not run a vegetarian restaurant. Instead, Dirt Candy, her perennially packed New York City hot spot, is a palace for produce, simultaneously a shrine to and science lab for the myriad possibilities of vegetable-based cooking. Cohen is taking her green thumb to the Hamptons for the 25th anniversary of our Chefs & Champagne® fundraiser, so we chatted with her about moving to “Big Candy,” the public’s appetite for vegetables, and what’s she’s bringing to Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

 

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JBF: What is the inspiration behind your dish for Chefs & Champagne?

 

AC: I’m serving one of Dirt Candy’s most iconic dishes: tomato! It’s tomatoes with smoked feta, tomato cake, and tomato leather. A long time ago, I was developing a tomato dessert, but rapidly realized that I could have a lot more fun making... Read more >

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Trending: July and August at the Beard House

 

Arguably the most compelling part about dining at James Beard’s historic townhouse in New York City’s West Village is experiencing the constantly evolving snapshot of what’s happening in restaurants around the country. Over 250 nights per year, celebrated chefs from coast to coast take the stage in our kitchen, preparing one-night-only menus that showcase their culinary style. 

 

Summer is in full swing because here at the Beard House, menus are bursting with heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, and watermelon in ways we never imagined (watermelon butter, anyone?). In July and August we're featuring the renowned international cuisines of Oaxaca, Lima, Austria, as well as chefs and restaurants closer to home—Indianapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Virginia Beach. We caught up with JBF director of house programming Izabela Wojcik to fill us in on what's trending this month.

 

 ... Read more >

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