Outstanding Chef Dan Barber's speech: "I remember telling my father, I want to be a chef. He said, why? I said, I love food. He said, I love books, but I don't read for a living...As the economy collapsed, most industries died down to the lowest common denominator. But fine dining didn't become less fine and I credit managers, and mostly chefs, who refuse to lower that bar and love food and continue serving good food."
I've never had octopus carpaccio until this night. Only now do I know what I've been missing! Thinly sliced octopus with an incredible olive oil. None of the chewy texture many people hate about octopus.
Also, Debbie Gold's cured bone marrow on mustard croutons with parsley and ramps---you know the taste of pork belly? Imagine that with the texture of an olive-oil grilled crouton. Add a quick shot of mustard.
Drew Nierporent, who won Outstanding Restaurateur, said as he thanked his presenters that he's gained 50 lbs with each restaurant. His speech: "I know you're hungry. Rocco behind me is eating his ear. Hold on a second, I'm twittering. Don't you hate that?!?" He said he knew he'd win because he stepped in dog shit last night. What?!?
It's 9pm. The awards aren't done, but presenters, recipients, and guests alike are storming the stands. I feel sorry for the chefs attempting to put finishing garnishes on the food before it's whisked off their table.
"I couldn't bet on it. Actually, last week, I was at the Kentucky Derby, and you know how I won my money? I put $2 on every horse in the 11th race, and I won $140."
"There once was a day when seeing a woman in the kitchen was as unusual as an African-American in the kitchen."
--Mary Sue Milliken
Editors' Note: The above quotation contains an error. Mary Sue Milliken actually stated, "There once was a day when seeing a woman in the kitchen was as unusual as an African-American in the White House."
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic winner Jose Garces's favorite Philadelphia restaurant is Osteria, the other fabulous restaurant that opened during my senior year of school in the city of Brotherly Love. Mark Vetri, who first opened his self-titled restaurant, Vetri, is in a class of his own. Both Amada and Vetri are musts if you want to spend a little more than a couple bucks on the ubiquitous cheesesteak.
Hank's oyster bar and commonwealth gastropub preparing swiss chard and baby carrot stuffed pickled trout rolls.
"We're going to cook, dine, and eat our way out of these tough times." Host Susan Ungaro, president of JBF, said those words, and I wish Obama were at the JBF Awards tonight to hear that advice. Though cooking, and especially baking, can be frustrating, and bordering on failure, at times (I'm specifically thinking of the frequent fire alarms of my childhood signaling the fact that my mom was preparing dinner and the acrid smell of smoke during mealtime), cooking can also help solve a number of our nation's problems, from promoting good nutrition to staunch the rising cost of health care to breaking our nation's cycle of consumption by spending more time cooking at home.