Interview with Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Torrisi Italian Specialties

Torrisi Italian Specialties


After attracting a passionate fan base for its deliciously reconsidered Italian cuisine, Torrisi Italian Specialties is now in the running for tonight’s Best New Restaurant Award. Read on to see what owners Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi had to say about their favorite cookbooks and Chinatown eats.

JBF: Where were you when you heard you were nominated for a James Beard Award?

MC + RT: At work.

JBF: You guys are known for pushing the boundaries of what Italian cuisine can be, but the pastries you serve are pretty traditional. Do you ever think about changing it up?

MC + RT: Up until recently the pastries were made by us, but now we’... Read more >

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Interview with Menton's Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch
Opening a luxe restaurant in a former industrial zone that’s experiencing a gradual rebirth sounds like a hazardous venture, but Boston chef and restaurateur Barbara Lynch beat the odds last year with her latest project, Menton. With chef Colin Lynch (no relation) manning the kitchen, the establishment earned a spot on many 2010 “Best New Restaurant” lists, and it’s up for another accolade at the JBF Awards on May 9. Read on for our interview with Barbara Lynch about Menton's risks and rewards.

JBF: Menton is named after a small French village that’s very close to the Italian border. How is that specific place expressed in the food?

BL: Many of my restaurants are influenced by my sense of nostalgia for places I've been to. Menton is one of them. It’s a beautiful place and very French, but it shares a border with Italy so you can't help but feel that Italian soul.

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Awards Watch: Readers' Choice, Best New Restaurant

Beard Awards: Readers' Choice To get an early start on the upcoming festivities, we're bringing back our Readers' Choice Awards, in which our audience gets to cast votes for their favorite JBF nominees. It's simple: we set up a snazzy poll and you make your pick. Our first category is Best New Restaurant. This year's BNR noms are especially impressive, and likely backed by passionate legions of fans on their home turf, so we're expecting this contest to be pretty intense. So size up the contenders below and vote! We'll close this poll at noon tomorrow, then launch another round in the afternoon. [poll id="12"] Note: these results have absolutely no bearing on who will win a bona fide Beard Award. (You can read about the Awards nomination and voting procedure

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Interview with Benu's Corey Lee

Corey Lee

When Corey Lee opened Benu in San Francisco last summer, critics wondered if the French Laundry alum’s first independent fine-dining foray would survive in a time when diners were embracing more casual concepts. But the popular and breathlessly praised venture has demonstrated that America’s appetite for haute cuisine is as strong as ever. To mark Benu’s nomination for a JBF Best New Restaurant Award, we interviewed chef Lee last week. Check it out below.

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

CL: The benu is the phoenix bird, which stands for renewal and longevity. It’s what we’ve done with our careers through this opening, and what we hope to accomplish with the restaurant.

JBF: What lessons from the French Laundry did you take with you to the new restaurant?

CL: Many

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