Ask the Chefs: Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff Talk Maple Syrup and More

Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff


Hailing from Canada and the Northeast, this syrup-savvy team is on a mission to prove that maple deserves a grander role in the kitchen than simply as a waffle topper. On March 23, this exceptional culinary crew joins us at the Beard House for an ambitious dinner as they tap the savory and sweet potential of this beloved regional and seasonal ingredient. In anticipation of the event, we spoke to Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff about how maple syrup defines New England, their favorite places to chow down in Boston and New York, and why eating pizza four times a week should be the norm.




What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Bea... Read more >

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On the Menu: Monday, March 21, 2016


Here’s a taste of what’s on tap today at the Beard House.

Norouz: Persian New Year Celebration, 7:00 P.M.
Ali Mesghali, Rumi’s Kitchen, Atlanta

In Persian culture, the start of the new year is marked by Norouz, a 13-day holiday where Iranians across the globe honor the vernal equinox by exchanging gifts and feasting on symbolic foods. For our annual Beard House celebration, we’ve tapped Ali Mesghali, the chef behind Persian hot spot Rumi’s Kitchen in Atlanta. Named for the famous 13th-century poet, Rumi’s Kitchen is lauded for its ambitious, modern cuisine, which Mesghali is ferrying up north exclusively for Beard House diners. Expect traditional ingredients given a seasonal spin, such as Apricot-Braised Koofteh with Shallots and Sour Grape Juice; Sabzi Polo ba Mahi > Black Bass with Herbed Rice a... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Make the Negroni Bianco


We've partnered with Simmer, a new app that allows you to generate step-by-step recipe videos that you can create, watch, and share from your very own kitchen. In the coming weeks and months, we'll continue sharing instructional videos that will teach you how to create tantalizing dishes from JBF Award winners, Beard House chefs, and even Beard himself, all prepared in James Beard's historic New York City kitchen.


The ruby-hued Negroni, which traditionally consists of equal parts gin, red vermouth, and Campari, is one of our all-time fav... Read more >

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Next Week at JBF


Here’s what’s coming up at the James Beard House and around the country:

Monday, March 21, 7:00 P.M.

Norouz: Persian New Year Celebration

Named for the famous 13th-century poet, Rumi’s Kitchen in Atlanta is lauded for its ambitious, modern Persian cuisine. For our annual celebration of Norouz, the culture’s holiday welcoming the new year, we’ve tapped the restaurant’s esteemed chef/owner Ali Mesghali to pay homage to the 3,000-year-old tradition with a delectable spread.


Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 P.M.

American Gastropub

A shining star in the Annapolis food scene, Fox’s Den is a cozy gastropub where Josh Brown’s modern comfort fare is complemented by the innovative beverage program curated by Tommy Burns. Join us as the duo craft a hearty supper brimming with e... Read more >

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What We're Reading This Week


Making homemade bread can be intimidating, but these recipes make it accessible, fun, and rewarding. [MUNCHIES


Local farmers oppose governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour at restaurant chains. [Grub Street]


Let your St. Patrick’s Day celebration continue into the weekend with these Irish Guinness floats. [Bon Appétit


What it takes to produce brighter, tastier, more nutritious eggs. [Modern Farmer


From crabcakes to kimchi to sage and chocolate ice cream, these seven cookbooks are guaranteed to inspir... Read more >

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On the Menu: Friday, March 18, 2016


Here’s a taste of what’s on tap this weekend at the Beard House and around the country.


Friday, March 18
South Bay Elegance, 7:00 P.M.
Peter Armellino
Plumed Horse, Saratoga, CA


An alum of Gramercy Tavern and Gotham Bar & Grill, chef Peter Armellino now helms the kitchen at Northern California’s splurge-worthy Plumed Horse. Tonight the Iron Chef America winner returns to the Big Apple to give Beard House guests a taste of his Michelin-starred food. The menu, Armellino explains, is “a presentation of some of my favorite dishes from the last couple of menus at the Plumed Horse.” Prepare yourself for a luxe feast full of top-shelf ingredients with tongue-in-cheek flare, such as California Caviar CannoliDavenport Abalone with Sea Urchin... Read more >

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In Season: Brussels Sprouts


It’s nearly spring, but that doesn’t mean that farmers’ markets have caught up yet. While you wait patiently for nature’s vernal delights (Fiddleheads! Ramps! Rhubarb!) to pop up, here are some delicious ways to riff on one of our all-time favorite winter vegetables: the humble Brussels sprout. As JBF Award winner and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson put it: “Look, Brussels sprouts get a bad name. Most of the bad rap comes from being forced to eat drastically overcooked, mushy, under-seasoned versions when we were young.” Try your hand at his Southern-inflected shaved Brussels sprout salad, JBF Award winner Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s crispy fried variation with lemon and chile flakes, or any of the other recipes below to open your eyes to the wonderful side of the oft-maligned vegetable. ... Read more >

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How to Make Polenta Like Chef Christian Petroni


With two iterations of Fortina, an imaginative take on Italian fare, in Westchester and Stamford, Connecticut, chef Christian Petroni has a good handle on the nearby NYC foodie scene. On Saturday, March 19, Petroni will showcase his epicurean prowess at a St. Joseph’s Feast Dinner at James Beard House. The event will start off with hors d’oeuvres like burrata balloons with prosciutto and giardiniera and move on to mains like canederli bread dumplings with sardines, raisins, pine nuts, fennel, and garlic before finishing off with tartufo with burrata gelato, wood-roasted almonds, amarena cherries, struffoli, chocolate sauce, and rainbow sprinkles. We spoke with Petroni before the big day to get his scoop on top New York food spots, how to make a quick and delicious polenta, and thoughts on up... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Canederli


WHAT? The love-child of gnocchi and leftover bread. Much of World War I took place along the border of Italy and Austria, in an area known as Trentino-Alto Adige. After the war, most Austrians returned to their German homeland, but some decided to remain, combining their heritage with native Italians to form a blend of cultures resulting in new traditions and dishes. One such specialty is canederli, also known as the “Italian Knödel.” These simple dumplings are commonly referred to as “cucina povera,” or “cuisine of the poor,” because of their cheap ingredients: stale bread, milk, flour, and eggs. The most difficult step when preparing this dish is deciding how long to soak the bread. Too much moisture can result in a fragile ball, but too much flour can yield a stiff texture. When the perfect balance is achieved, the dumplings are flavored with fresh cheese or speck to add a bit of variety, and vegetarians can add chopped spin... Read more >

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Beard House Recipe: Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Brown Butter Caramel

Photo by Jeff Gurwin


Mid-Atlantic beachgoers revere the Delaware coast for its relaxed vibe, beautiful surf, and fresh seafood—perhaps the best of which can be found at SoDel’s empire of coastal-inspired kitchens, which dot the shoreline. At his recent Beard House dinner chef Doug Ruley cooked up a sumptuous spread of his signature “farmer-meets-fisherman” style, but when it came to the dessert course, Ruley revealed a decidedly terrestrial sweet tooth. The grand finale of the evening was this butternut squash cake, which adds a savory tinge of curry powder to the typical seasonal spice assortment of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Doused in a luscious brown butter caramel and served à la mode with apple–walnut ice cream (an optional but thoroughly recommended addition), baking up this over-the-top treat at home will make getting your daily vegetables any... Read more >

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