The Bookshelf: Jasmine and Fire

Salma Abdelnour

 

After fleeing a war-torn Lebanon during her childhood and starting a new life in the United States, food and travel writer Salma Abdelnour always dreamed of returning to her homeland. Her poignant book, Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut, chronicles her complicated return to Lebanon and its vibrant food culture. We got in touch with her to learn about her go-to Lebanese restaurants here in New York City, her favorite cuisines around the globe, and what makes Beirut’s food culture so extraordinary.

 

(Join Salma tomorrow at noon for a special installment of our Beard on Books series at the Beard House.)

 

JBF: You wrote that when you returned to Beirut and had to come to grips with so many changes in your life, you found solace in Lebanon’s food culture. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

 

Salma Abdelnour:... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Baker and Author Dorie Greenspan

The James Beard Foundation interviews Dorie Greenspan

 

JBF Award–winning cookbook author (and former JBF editor) Dorie Greenspan has an intimate knowledge of cookies: she recently opened the New York City cookie shop, Beurre & Sel, to rave reviews. We caught up with the baking expert to get the scoop on her new store, her cardinal rule for making cookies, and more.

 

--

 

JBF: What inspired you to open a retail shop?

 

DG: My son, Joshua, was the inspiration behind Beurre & Sel. For a few years he organized pop-up shops for us, but he dreamed of a real home for our cookies. I loved the idea for a bunch of reasons: I get to work with my son; I get to bake like mad with our terrific pastry chef, Marisa Croce; and, when I’m in the shop, I get to meet people who love cookies—and, no surprise, cookie lovers are happy people.

 

JBF: What is your most popular cookie at... Read more >

Comments (0)

Watch Marcus Samuelsson Speak at the JBF Food Conference

 

Just moments ago, JBF Award winner Marcus Samuelsson and journalist Jane Black finished a conversation called, "Trust, A Community Approach." You can watch the footage above, and if you visit our Livestream page, you'll find an archive of all of the panels and talks that have been held so far at this year's JBF Food Conference. Make sure you're following us on Twitter for the rest of the day and use #jbfleads to track the conversation.

Comments (0)

Q & A with Food Journalist Fred Kaufman

Fred Kaufman, author of Bet the Farm, is a panelist at the 2012 JBF Food Conference

 

Visit Fred Kaufman’s website and you’ll find one sentence in the top-right corner: “the food journalist who went looking for a slice of pizza and ended up on Wall Street.” Dig deep into his reporting and you’ll find that Kaufman has exposed unsettling ties between the worlds of food and finance, which he also details in his latest book, Bet the Farm. Before he joins us as one of our moderators at the JBF Food Conference, read on to get a preview of his conference discussion and the revelations in his book.

 

--

 

JBF: Next week you're speaking at our... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Sheila Bowman of Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch

The James Beard Foundation interviews Sheila Bowman of Seafood Watch

 

A leader in setting guidelines for sustainable fishing and consumption practices, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its Seafood Watch program are crucial players in the fight for ocean conservation. Sheila Bowman, the organization’s manager of culinary and strategic initiatives, will join us at our third annual food conference next week. We talked to her about her work, Seafood Watch’s handy app for consumers, and the species of fish that gives her hope. 

 

JBF: What is your role at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch?

 

SB: I work with our culinary audiences: chefs at all levels of the industry, plus food media. I help these people understand the importance of sustainable seafood and how... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Environmentalist Simran Sethi

 

Simran Sethi wants to get personal about climate change. Dubbed the “the environmental messenger” by Vanity Fair, the journalist and educator believes that storytelling plays a crucial role in raising awareness and inspiring action. (She recently gave a TED talk called, How and Why Do We Engage?) In anticipation of her appearance at our annual food conference next week, we got in touch to learn more about her work.

 

JBF: You Twitter bio says that you tell stories and support storytellers. How does this fit into your work as an environmentalist?

 

SS: The core of my work was always journalism, so I’m in the habit engaging people and learning their stories. I’ve found that when someone shares their story, that’s what gets other people—even people who think they have very little... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Dahlia Narvaez of Mozza

Dahlia Narvaez

 

Together with her mentor Nancy Silverton, pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez has crafted some of the most legendary desserts in the city of Los Angeles. We got in touch with the 2012 Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee to look back on how she joined the restaurant industry and find out which sweet on the Mozza menu is her favorite.

 

JBF: As a native of Los Angeles, did any of the food of your childhood inspire what you make now?

 

DH: I actually didn't grow up with a ton of homemade desserts. Dessert just wasn't something my mother made. But she did made good food, getting complex flavors out of simple ingredients.

 

JBF: We read that you once fudged your résumé and talked your way into your first professional kitchen, the Conga Room. Can you tell us a little more about that?

 

DH: That probably was not the smartest thing I've done for my career—after ten minutes on my first day, it was clear... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food

Anna Mowry interviews chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food

 

Now that the original Mission Chinese Food seems destined to endure as one of San Francisco's most popular spots, its chef and Rising Star award nominee, Danny Bowien, is about to introduce New Yorkers to his progressive Chinese-American cooking at a soon-to-open Lower East Side outpost. We phoned Bowien to talk about what he's putting on his new menu, his favorite Chinese restaurants in the city, and more.

 

JBF: We read the recent Bon Appétit piece about your trip to Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan province. Did you find any dishes there that you’re now adapting for your menu?

 

DB: There will be six or seven new dishes on our New York menu, and those things are definitely based on a lot of the flavor profiles that we... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery

The James Beard Foundation interviews paste chef and JBF Award nominee Joanne Chang

 

At her three Flour Bakery locations, Joanne Chang gives Boston-area dwellers their sugar fix with her menu of wholesome, like-you're-a-kid-again cookies, tarts, cakes, and other baked goods. Chang took a break from her packed schedule to answer our questions about her favorite pastry, where she likes to eat in Beantown, and the childhood treat she misses most. 

 

JBF: What’s your favorite item on the menu at Flour right now?

 

JC: We just introduced our kouign-amann, which is my favorite pastry ever.

 

JBF: Your sticky buns famously won in an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Any other baked goods in your arsenal that you would confidently take into battle?

 

JC: Many things: our banana bread, our midnight chocolate cake, our carrot cake, pop tarts, blueberry... Read more >

Comments (0)

Q & A with Thomas McNaughton of flour + water

The James Beard Foundation interviews Thomas McNaughton of flour + water

 

A repeat nominee for our Rising Star award, chef Thomas McNaughton channels an Old-World commitment to top-notch product and time-honored techniques at San Francisco's flour + water. Read on see what he has to say about nose-to-tail cooking and the East Coast food he craves.

 

JBF: We’ve read that you attribute some of your success to eight grandmothers at a pasta factory in Bologna, Italy. Can you tell us more about that?

 

TM: It was inspirational to see Old-World techniques and cuisine executed on a daily basis, and it was an honor to be in the presence of people who execute the craft they have been dedicated to for the past 40 years. For me that was the definition of finding refinement in simplicity.

 

JBF: You snagged your first restaurant job at age 14, working as a dishwasher. Did you already... Read more >

Comments (0)

Pages