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 >
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 >
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 >
At the Miami hotspot Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s whimsical yet sophisticated treats have earned an ardent following. We called up the Outstanding Pastry Chef award nominee to learn about her debut cookbook, the unexpected star of her repertoire, and how a Philly cheesesteak changed her life.
JBF: We’ve read that you like to draw on local fruits and herbs in your desserts, and that you use unexpected techniques like smoking. What are your favorite combinations?
HG: Smoked bittersweet chocolate with pickled mulberries; I was blown away at how great the flavors were together. I actually just served this dessert recently. Mulberry season is so short, so I try to jam-pack them with different flavors before they’re gone.
JBF: What’s your favorite dessert that you’ve made for Michael’s Genuine... Read more >
After years of cooking faithful renderings of authentic Italian cuisine at Il Buco, chef Ignacio Mattos crossed the East River and introduced Brooklyn to his "modern primitive" aesthetic at Isa. Now that the restaurant is up for a Best New Restaurant award, we caught up with Mattos to talk about his plating philosophy and cooking in Brooklyn.
JBF: Smoke and wood play a big role in Isa, from the food to the décor. What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever smoked?
IM: One time I smoked some butter, but I can’t remember what it was for. At Isa we have smoked pretty much everything.
JBF: Many of Isa’s desserts are rooted in vegetal and other unexpected flavors. What’s the thought process behind creating a dessert?
IM: Pam Yung, our very talented pastry chef, has a very refined and elegant... Read more >
At San Francisco's AQ, which is nominated for a Best New Restaurant award, chef Mark Liberman merges Northern California's hyper-seasonal style with a rigorous but discreet use of modernist techniques. We got in touch with him to discuss his cooking philosophy, the best dish on the current AQ menu, and his favorite American foods.
JBF: AQ is very devoted to seasonal cooking. Are there particular ingredients at the markets that you can’t wait to get your hands on each year?
ML: Right now we’re heading into spring; we’re at the strange seasonal place where it isn’t quite spring yet, but it isn’t winter anymore. I’m looking forward to cooking with purple artichokes and young fava beans.
JBF: AQ is clearly a disciple of the California philosophy of cooking, but you’ve also cooked in very technique-driven restaurants, like Daniel and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. How do you find a balance between the two? What guides you?
ML: I think it’s... Read more >
A Vermont-raised chef may not be the likeliest candidate to serve the most sought-after tapas in New York City, but ever since Seamus Mullen and his slow-grilled turbot scored a rave from the Times, it’s been nearly impossible to score a seat at his restaurant, Tertulia. If you have eaten there, you know why it’s nominated for a Best New Restaurant award. Read on to see what Mullen told us about the lessons he learned while cooking in Spain, the challenges of cooking authentic Spanish cuisine in America, and where he likes to nosh on his days off.
When the Washington, D.C.-based eatery Fiola opened its doors in 2011, it was immediately met with rave reviews for its seasonally driven Italian cuisine—and now it's nominated for our Best New Restaurant award. We got in touch with chef/owner and JBF Award Winner Fabio Trabocchi to discuss what inspired him to become a chef, his favorite spring dish, and what he considers to be the best resource on authentic Italian cuisine.
JBF: What’s the significance of the name Fiola?
FT: It’s a word from an Italian dialect from the Le Marche region of Italy, which is where I’m from. It’s comparable to "sweetheart" in English.
JBF: What’s your favorite dish on the menu right now and why?
FT: Anything that involves shellfish, seafood, and spring vegetables. One of my favorite... Read more >
Among Chicago’s strong showing in the JBF Award nominations, Grant Achatz’s massively popular Next boasts two nods: the restaurant itself is up for Best New Restaurant, while its executive chef, Alinea alum Dave Beran, is nominated for our Rising Star Chef of the Year award. We chatted with chef Beran about Next’s future, inspirational cookbooks, and his favorite meal of the past year.
JBF: We’ve heard that there are Sicily and Kyoto menus in the pipeline for Next. Have you guys done any brainstorming about other periods in history or cuisines that you’d like the tackle this year or beyond?
DB: So far those are the only historical menus planned for 2012. I’ve been interested in a menu pertaining to pre- and post-Imperialist India—sort of a compare and contrast thing. There... Read more >
Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are winding down after a packed 2011, which included a coveted third star from Michelin, a JBF Award for Outstanding Restaurant, a new cookbook, and complete ownership of their restaurant, which was previously run by Danny Meyer. We sat down with them to talk about their inspirational book tour, the reinvention of EMP, and surprisingly ambitious home cooks.
JBF: In the book you talk about taking an annual trip to find inspiration. Where did you go this year?
Will Guidara: We’ve taken a lot of trips this year, but I think the most impactful trip has been our book tour, which included stops in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. We talk about this in the book, but what rings truer every time we go away is the perspective we
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