Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza

Elena North-Kelly interviews Nancy Silverton, a nominee for the James Beard Foundation's 2014 Outstanding Chef award

 

After proving her pastry chops at Campanile and La Brea and taking home the JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 1991, Nancy Silverton set out to open her own restaurant in Los Angeles, which bloomed into a celebrated empire and a mecca for serious Italian food lovers. Here, the 2014 Outstanding Chef award nominee tell us about the most spectacular pizza crust she’s ever tasted, her favorite flavor combination, and the moment she knew she wanted to become a chef.

 

JBF: What item on the current Pizzeria Mozza menu are you most proud of?

 

NS: I’d have to say our pizza dough, the quality of the crust. It’s the heart and soul of our pizzeria, and what I believe sets us apart. There’s no secret ingredient, just the subtle nuances of the method that we use to achieve a crust that’s f... Read more >

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Contractual Cravings

candy

 

What is it about celebrities and their eating habits that make such great tabloid fodder? Media empires have been built around the ridiculous rumors that abound about everyone from old-school crooners to pop princesses—but we couldn’t care less about who has had a nip or a tuck; we’re more interested in what they allegedly like to tuck into while in the greenroom.

 

Jumbo shrimp is an understandable enough request, and has supposedly turned up on the riders of Old Blue Eyes (in addition to an almost-full bar and some Life Savers) and the Beach Boys, who like their crustaceans with sides of fruit, alfalfa sprouts, and peanut M&Ms.

 

Members of Aerosmith reportedly have more internationally inspired cravings, including chicken tikka with yogurt and mint dip. At the other end of the spectrum, Britney Spears is said to request McDonald’s cheeseburgers (sans buns), and some say Axl Rose likes to pair hi... Read more >

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On the Menu: Week of May 4

Photo by Ken Goodman

 

Here's what's happening at the Beard House: 

 

Monday, May 5, 6:00 P.M. 
The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards
The “Oscars of the food world” is getting louder! Our 2014 Awards theme, Sounds of the City, will celebrate the enduring relationship between music and food. From Nashville to New Orleans and Austin to Seattle, our lavish gala will highlight chefs from America’s favorite musical cities to create a delicious double bill of music and food. With JBF Award winner Ted Allen as the master of ceremonies and JBFAward winner and culinary icon Mario Batali leading the stellar team of chefs, this year’s event is sure to strike a high note.​

 

Wednesday, May 7, 12:00 noon
Beard... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony

 

An enduring staple of New York City’s dining landscape, Gramercy Tavern has held court with its masterful cuisine, warm atmosphere, and unparalleled hospitality. Below, the restaurant’s esteemed chef Michael Anthony, a 2014 Outstanding Chef Award nominee, fills us in on his earliest food memory, the springtime ingredients he stocks up on at the greenmarket, and his favorite local haunts.

 

JBF: How would you describe your culinary style?

 

Michael Anthony: I’d describe my culinary style as regional, contemporary American with vibrant seasonal flavors.

 

JBF: What item on the current Gramercy Tavern menu are you most proud of?

 

MA: I’m really proud of our spring onion flatbread with duck confi... Read more >

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Interview with Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole

Anna Mowry interviews Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole, a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program

 

At San Francisco’s Bar Agricole, ingredients are only used at peak condition and spirit producers are closely vetted. Even the bitters in the bar’s version of an Old Fashioned had to earn the team’s stamp of intensely discerning approval. We talked with Eric Johnson, bar manager and co-owner of this Outstanding Bar Program nominee, about his new spinoff, favorite watering holes, and more.  

 

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JBF: How would you sum up Bar Agricole's approach to making drinks to someone who has never had one there? 

 

EJ: We are an ingredient-driven bar that uses traditional recipes as our inspiration. We look for spirits that have a sense of place and tradition in how they are made, without added flavors or colors to make them more appealing to the heavily commercial spirits market. A... Read more >

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Daily Digest: May 1, 2014

bee

 

3-D latte art, boozy boba, and other novelties in L.A. teahouses. [LAT]

 

Taco bell demystifies the "other" 12 percent of ingredients in their signature recipe. [LAT

 

Good news Farmville fans: the game has raised millions for charity. [Wired

 

Introducing the #Dinnercam: a restaurant device used to help you snap Instagram worthy food photos. [Time

 

Varroa mites: a possible culprit behind the widespread collapse of bee colonies. [... Read more >

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Awards Watch: Our Esteemed Hosts

 

Here's a look at the headliners who will be manning the podiums at the Beard Award ceremonies on May 2 and May 5. Don't forget: you can watch a live stream of Monday's ceremony here

 

Ted Allen is host of the 2014 James Beard Awards

Master of Ceremonies and JBF Award Winner Ted Allen

Host of Food Network's Chopped and America's Best Cook

 

James Beard Award winner Ted Allen is host of the hit series Chopped on Food Network, as well as a frequent contributor to the network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate series. He was a judge on the first four seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and was the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking Bravo seri... Read more >

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Hanging with Harris at the Beard House

 

If you’ve attended the JBF Gala auction in November in the past few years, you have been entertained by Billy Harris, our annual auctioneer and the host of the web program Hanging with Harris, in which Harris travels around the country and into the kitchens, bars, and restaurants of some of the country’s most talked-about chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs. In a recent five-part series, Harris dropped in at the Beard House to visit a few of our featured chefs as they prepared their one-night-only dinners, and also chatted with visiting William Grant & Sons mixologists, who created cocktails inspired by the chefs’ menus.

 

Charlotte Voisey and Billy Harris mixing up an Asian Pear Fizz

 

In his first episode, Harris joins William Grant’s Charlotte Voisey... Read more >

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Mix Masters: How Three ’90s Icons Cooked Up a Funky Fresh Blend of Food and Music

Cibo Matto

 

2 Chainz couldn’t make it to the listening party at the Bon Appétit kitchen—he was delayed by a nine-hour stand-off with police in Oklahoma. Disappointed fans would have to wait to hear the rapper’s latest album and peruse the accompanying cookbook, #MealTime, featuring his favorite tour bus recipes. Those who needed a little something to tide them over could turn to Action Bronson, the culinary school grad and former chef, who made his bones with rhymes like “I’m on the art and the food scene. F*** rap, laying back eatin’ poutine.”

 

You don’t have to be a hip-hop head to notice the worlds of music and food getting hot and heavy lately. You may have read in Saveur about rockers trading their studded leather for chef’s coats. Or perhaps you’ve enjoyed a lick of “cinnamon and lesbians,” a soft-serve collaboration between Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar and indie vet Stephen Malkmus. (Think of it as hipster C... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee David Posey

 

Now nearly 17 years old, Blackbird isn’t just one of Chicago’s most dependable fine restaurants; it’s still striving and innovating under the confident vision of chef de cuisine David Posey. A repeat nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year, chef Posey tells us what to order on the current menu, his favorite new Windy City spots, and more.

 

 

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JBF: Dana Cree, Blackbird’s pastry chef, is also a nominated for a Beard Award this year. How do you two work together? Does she have total autonomy over the dessert program? What do you like about her desserts?

 

DP: Dana and I work and collaborate very well together. We bounce ideas off one another, share inspiration, and test dishes on each other. Both Dana and I, for the most part, have complete autonomy over our menus. However, executive chef Paul Kahan has the final say. I like seeing the evolution of her pastries from inception to the final plated d... Read more >

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