Interview with Ludo Lefebvre of Best New Restaurant Nominee Petit Trois

Petit Trois is a 2015 Best New Restaurant Nominee

 

It's tempting to refer to Ludo Lefebvre's ​Petit Trois as the little sister to his Trois Mec, but this Hollywood spot is a fully formed homage to Parisian bistro culture, from the space's feel-good, lively ambiance to the kitchen's technically precise omelette. Read on for Lefebvre's insights on his 2015 Best New Restaurant nominee. 

 

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JBF: What made you want to open this restaurant? Had you been wanting to do a bistro? It’s a familiar concept—what details did you particularly care about getting right?

 

LL: I really wanted to do a restaurant with classic French food. I miss that a lot, as well as the ambiance. I wanted a little bistro where you know everybody and where you feel like you're in Paris, where life is happening, where there's magic, where there's good energy. No tables, just counters. The food is... Read more >

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Interview with Rajat Parr, Nominated for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

 

Vintner and sommelier Rajat Parr can point to the exact vineyard and vintage of wine that changed his life, setting him on the path toward his nomination for this year's James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. We spoke with him about that seminal sip and his current adventures in winemaking.

 

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JBF: You've had a multi-faceted career in wine: the wine director for a restaurant group, part owner in a wine bar, and winemaker. How do you balance it all?

 

Rajat Parr: I am a full-time winemaker now. We have two vineyards: Domaine de la Cote in Santa Barbara and Seven Springs in Oregon. I oversee the wine programs within the Mina Group, but do not work on daily operations. The same is for [the San Francisco wine bar and restaurant] RN74. We have a great team that makes sure the restaurants are successful. I live in Santa Barbara now. It's quite a change, but after working in restaurants for 18 years, it's a good change.

 ... Read more >

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Interview with Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

Photo c/o Spoon and Stable

 

After JBF Award winner Gavin Kaysen left his post at Café Boulud to return to his roots in Minneapolis, the long-missed-local received a hero’s welcome, and Twin Cities residents are now flocking to Kayen's Spoon and Stable, a 2015 Best New Restaurant nominee. We spoke with him about his homecoming, his penchant for pilfering flatware, and his vision of Heartland cuisine.

 

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JBF: Your restaurant is called Spoon and Stable. What’s the story behind the name?

 

Gavin Kaysen: The building we took over was a horse stable that was built in 1906, so the stable part comes from that. The spoon part comes from something I’ve been doing for years, which is "collecting" spoons from places all over the world. They come from places that have inspired me, perhaps while eating dinner, or working there. We now sell spoons at... Read more >

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Interview with Markus Glocker of Bâtard, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

Photo c/o Bâtard

 

Using what New York Times food critic Pete Wells called "a sniper's accuracy at the stove," Austrian-born chef Markus Glocker crafts show-stopping prix fixe menus for a range of budgets at Tribeca’s elegant Bâtard. To learn more about the white-hot nominee for Best New Restaurant, we spoke with Glocker about his European pedigree, culinary style, and ultimate springtime dessert.

 

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JBF: How would you describe your culinary style?

 

MG: I’d describe my culinary style as simplicity refined. I try and send a clear, focused message through flavor.

 

JBF: How has your background influenced your food at Bâtard?

 

MG: When you work for influential chefs like Charlie Trotter, you can’t deny the influence that they have on your cooking. That being said, after learning these techniques from great chefs before... Read more >

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Interview with Ted Lemon, Nominated for Outstanding Wine, Beer, Spirits Professional

 

Ted Lemon, founder of Littorai Wines, has worked at wineries the world over, running a Burgundy estate (as the first American to do so) and consulting in New Zealand. His breadth of experience and passion for ethically growing and sourcing his ingredients make him a strong nominee for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. We spoke to him about the naming of his vineyard, the impact of the California drought, and more.

 

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JBF: Among your 2015 releases, what are you most excited about?

 

Ted Lemon: All of the vineyard-designated 2013 Pinot Noirs. They have muscle, grip, and a sense of place. Pretty is not the descriptor I would use.

 

JBF: Littorai means “coasts” in Latin. What’s the story behind this name?

 

TL: In 1993, [my wife] Heidi and I did not have the money to afford a trademark, so we needed something that was sufficiently obscure that no one would trademark it... Read more >

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Interview with Eli Kaimeh of Per Se, Nominated for Outstanding Restaurant

 

Although Per Se debuted a decade after a certain acclaimed sibling restaurant in California, this fine-dining temple, perched high in New York City's Time Warner building, has enjoyed its own abundant successes. The three-Michelin-starred property is an oasis on every level, beckoning epicureans from all corners of the globe with its unparalleled luxuries and cuisine. Below, we caught up with chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh to get the inside scoop on the Outstanding Restaurant nominee’s tasting menus, the team's pioneering work with vegetables, and their take on gluten-free substitutions. 

 

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JBF: While some of Per Se’s signature dishes (such as oysters and pearls) remain, we know that the world-renowned menu is constantly evolving. Can you tell us about a dish or two that’s currently on the menu that really captures the restaurant’s point of... Read more >

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Interview with Stuart Brioza of the Progress, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

 

San Francisco power duo Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are no stranger to the James Beard Awards: in 2013, the pair took home our Best New Restaurant medallion for State Bird Provisions, and now, just two years later, they’re nominated in the same category for their newest concept, the Progress, located just next door. Read on for Stuart Brioza's insights on the restaurant's unique shared-plates format, its organic environs, and where he plans to chow down in Chicago.

 

JBF: We’ve been asking all of the chefs behind our Best New Restaurant nominees to tell us the stories behind the restaurants’ names. Can you share yours?

 

Stuart Brioza: ​The Progress was actually the name of the theater that our restaurant’s building was originally built as in 1911.

 ... Read more >

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Interview with April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, Nominated for Outstanding Restaurant

April Bloomfield

 

For ten years, the Spotted Pig has assuredly upheld an egalitarian ethos while also basking in enviable cultural cachet—no easy feat in one of the world’s most fickle and fastidious dining cities. Now that the restaurant has earned its first Outstanding Restaurant nomination, we discussed the Pig's enduring appeal, its under-the-radar best dishes, and more with executive chef April Bloomfield.

 

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JBF: Congrats on your nomination! All of our Outstanding Restaurant nominees have been operating for at least ten years. We’d love to hear your thoughts on why the Pig has been successful for an entire decade, and why New Yorkers continue to love to dine there.

 

AB: Thank you so much! We are thrilled to be nominated. It is such an honor to be recognized for this restaurant that means so much to me. I think people like the Pig because it offers a welcoming, comfy space where you can get delicious, consistent... Read more >

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Interview with Beverly Kim and Jon Clark of Best New Restaurant Nominee Parachute

Beverly Kim and Jon Clark of Parachute

 

At Parachute, a 40 seater in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood, husband-and-wife team Jon Clark and Beverly Kim present a unique vision of Korean-American cuisine, borrowing flavors from France, China, Morocco, and elsewhere. Read on to learn more about the duo and their Best New Restaurant–nominated venture.

 

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JBF: Your website describes the cuisine as globally inspired Korean-American. What inspires you when you’re developing your dishes and menu?

 

JC + BK: There are several different inspirations to our dishes. The product themselves inspire us to create dishes that highlight the seasons. We're also inspired by our food memories.

 

JBF: What’s the story behind the restaurant’s name? 

 

JC + BK: To us, Parachute is a personal story of turning negatives to positives. It also represents having an open mind, being free flowing, and safety. ... Read more >

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Interview with David Chang of Outstanding Restaurant Nominee Momofuku Noodle Bar

 

When David Chang opened his first restaurant in 2004, he lit a ramen-noodle fuse that set off a New York sensation and a launching pad for an international empire. Now that Momofuku Noodle Bar is an Outstanding Restaurant nominee, we caught up with the culinary icon—a winner of nearly every Beard Award (and non-Beard Award) out there and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People—to discuss why he considers himself a “normavore,” the inspiration behind Momofuku’s cult-favorite culinary lab, and the unsung heroes of his business.

 

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JBF: You won the Rising Star Chef award while you were at Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2007, Outstanding Chef in 2013, and now the restaurant itself is up for Outstanding Restaurant this year. Can you tell us anything about Noodle Bar’s evolution during this time?

 

... Read more >

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