The Bookshelf: Marcus Samuelsson's New American Table

New American TableIn spite of yesterday's bleak weather, Beard on Books had a full house for JBF Award Winner Marcus Samuelsson's poignant discussion of his new cookbook, New American Table. An Ethiopian who grew up in Sweden, trained in France, and fearlessly crossed the pond to the States in his early twenties, the chef has a refreshingly unique perspective on American cuisine and a moving affection for its regional cooking traditions. His new book is not only a tribute to our food, but a token of gratitude as well. "I put all of my chips on food when I was young, but my other big decision was to go to the diverse universe of America," Samuelsson remarked. "I wanted to be in a place where people wouldn't focus on my background, and I knew I could find that in New York City." The chef recounted his determination to get to Manhattan (the French chef he worked for told him he couldn't "leave the macaron for th

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Eye Candy: Beard House

Nomi crew The crew from Chicago's Nomi spreads out into the Beard House Greenhouse to plate dozens of foie gras brûlees with toasted brioche, hazelnuts, and herbs. See more images of chef Christophe David's contemporary French dinner here. (Photo by Philip Gross)

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Tastebud: Venerable, Imitable, Spreadable Camembert


Presented to Napoleon III on the inaugural day of the 1855 World’s Fair, Camembert first appeared during the late 19th century in the Norman village of the same name. Bloomy, fruity, and prone to spoilage, Brie-like Camembert stayed a local favorite for decades, until the invention of its signature wooden box and the advent of the railroad could carry the downy wheels to Paris and beyond. So en vogue was the cheese that it became the most copied in the world, prompting the French government to award Normandy-produced Camembert its Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1983.

Aside from inspiring imitations, the cheese has also been an unlikely muse for the arts: a limp, sun-melted wheel of Camembert moved Salvador Dali to paint the famously languid timepieces in his Surrealist masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory. According to the MoMA Highlights catalog, the artist went on to... Read more >

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Jobs We Love: Lior Lev Sercarz

A self-made spice master, Lior Lev Sercarz has rubbed elbows with the world's greatest chefs. Read on to learn more about his special blend of work.

James Beard Foundation: What’s your job description?

Lior Lev Sercarz: I own La Boîte à Epice, a line of unique and, at times, personalized spice blends for chefs all over the country as well as home cooks. I also produce a seasonal biscuit collection called La Boîte à Biscuits.

JBF: How did you get your job?

LLS: It took me 12 years to put the concept together while working around the world for some amazing chefs. One day, three years ago, I just started my own business, creating everything from nothing.

JBF: What past experiences have prepared you for your current position?

LLS: I started cooking 15 years ago for a catering company in Israel. I stayed there for three years, then

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Recipe: Cheese Latkes

cheese latkes Though it may sound like latke blasphemy, according to Mitchell Davis, JBF vice president and resident latke expert, the first latkes may actually have been made from cheese, not potato. This recipe yields sweet, breakfast-like pancakes that bear little resemblance to the usual Hannukah fare. Try them sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or doused in maple syrup.

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America's Classics: Doe's Eat Place

Doe's Eat Place Every one of America’s Classics has a unique story to tell, but together these restaurants represent the country’s rich fabric and illustrate how the closest communities cohere around food. As 2007 award recipient Shug Signa said about her family’s 68-year-old restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi, “People come together, never meet a stranger, and it’s the American way.” This family-owned and -operated restaurant is an icon of the culinary and cultural landscape of the Mississippi Delta. Doe’s Eat Place grew out of a 1940s grocery store that sold homemade hot tamales, eventually transforming itself into a casual steak joint that served both the African-American and white communities in segregated Mississippi. Pivotal during the civil rights era, Doe’s Eat Place has become a symbol of the region’s multiracial culture. Learn more about America's Classics and watch a video about Doe's Eat Place by visiting

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JBF News: JBF Award Winners Saddle Up for the World Equestrian Games

John Besh, Marc Vetri, and freshly enthroned Iron Chef Jose Garces are just a few of the JBF Award–winning toques who will join forces with the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the James Beard Foundation to put on Cookin’ in the Bluegrass, a 16-night dinner series in Lexington, KY. The program, taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Farmhouse restaurant, will also feature local talent and strive to recreate the lavish events held at the historic James Beard House in New York City. Click here to find out more.

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