Interview: Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park

JBF senior editor Anna Mowry interviews Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park
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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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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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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Interview with Rising Star Nominee Sue Zemanick

Sue Zemanick Though she's already packed her knives and left the latest season of Top Chef Masters, we think Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's is doing just fine. After all, the New Orleans star has nabbed a nomination for our Rising Star Chef of the Year Award three years in a row. Read on to discover what she told us about her favorite eats in the Crescent City and more. JBF: Gautreau's is the second restaurant you’ve worked at in New Orleans. What is it about working in that city that appeals to you? SZ: I love the people and culture. Everyone in NOLA loves great food, music, and cocktails, and that’s basically all that we do—eat amazing food, listen to live music, and enjoy delicious drinks. JBF: Have you felt any impact from the oil spill at your restaurant? SZ: Yes. People were afraid to come to New

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee Gabriel Rucker

Anna Mowry interviews James Beard Award–nominated Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and Little Bird in Portland, Oregon

Nominated for the Rising Star of the Year Award for the fourth year in a row, Gabriel Rucker continues to be one of the gutsiest chefs in Portland, Oregon's thriving restaurant scene. Read on to see what he told us about his favorite local eateries and some memorable calamari.

JBF: You opened Little Bird a few months ago. What made you want to open a restaurant that serves more traditional bistro fare?

GR: It’s something that Portland needed, and we wanted to do another restaurant but something different from Le Pigeon. We also wanted to reach a broader crowd and we thought a bistro would do that.

JBF: How’s it going so far?

GR: We made the space about twice as big, hoping that the menu would attract more people. We’re located downtown, across

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Q & A with Rising Star Nominee Christina Tosi

Anna Mowry interviews James Beard Award–nominated Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar

Ever since Momofuku Milk Bar opened over two years ago, pastry chef Christina Tosi has delighted New Yorkers with her clever and nostalgic sweets. We talked to the 2011 Rising Star Chef of the Year Award nominee about her path to Momofuku, her favorite New York eats, and her earliest memory of getting a sugar high.

JBF: How did you come to work for David Chang?

CT: I had just finished as a pastry cook at wd~50. Dave needed some help writing a HACCP plan for sous-vide cooking, and since we had just successfully been approved for our plan at wd~50, Wylie sent me to help out his bud. 
Dave ended up hiring me as his et cetera gal, basically to fill in the holes of his growing crew. I recognized the opportunity to be a part of a one-of-a-kind team, and I love me a good challenge. I was not hired to be a pastry chef, to work pastry, or to make desserts in any capacity.

JBF: When

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The Bookshelf: Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas

Life, on the Line

Grant Achatz, who is just 36, already has a staggering list of accomplishments: one Michelin three-star restaurant and two more venues, Next and Aviary, on the way; a groundbreaking cookbook and a moving memoir; a seemingly hopeless battle with cancer that he miraculously won. When we spoke with the so obviously driven chef and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, at the Institute of Culinary Education on Monday, we couldn’t help but wonder if this Beard Award winner was just getting started. Read on for the interview.

James Beard Foundation: In the book you talk about your activity on eGullet, the online forum for passionate chefs and food lovers, and how its

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