1. I found Jonathan Waxman’s (Barbuto) distinction between food-criticism and food-journalism to be enlightening:
I think there’s food criticism and then there’s food journalists. I think they’re very different. I think there are the critics that, number one, will always pay for their own meals, always want to remain anonymous, and create a sense of objectivity about their restaurants and reviews. And there was a very strict line about that.
And then there were the people who were real journalists or what we call food media, or food and wine media (because I think wine is an important part of the whole thing), that want to be chummy because they wouldn’t get the information that they needed unless they had street cred and there was a camaraderie that existed like you’re talking about with baseball or tennis. That’s just the way things worked, because the artists trust the journalists. Alice and Ruth are very good friends. I know Ruth is staying at Nancy Silverton’s house for a month. I remember when Colman invited us to go to Spain with Alice Waters and Ruth and Bradley Ogden and Mark Miller and Lydia Shire and all those people. It wasn’t as journalists and chefs; it was kind of like food pioneers, people going and discovering, for them, a new cuisine that we had no clue about because we were just moronic.
2. Daniel Boulud on the origin of black-tie sea scallops:
New Year’s Eve the following year, I wanted to do something special for New Year’s Eve and that’s where it took its name, Black Tie, because on the menu I put Sea Scallop Black Tie because it was a black-tie night anyway. So, layered scallops, but because they were American scallops coming in the shell rather than the French scallop which was a little more flabby, a little more soft, a little more watery, they had a natural sort of collagen so the scallops sticked at each other. We could slice them, put things in between and reconstitute the scallops and they would hold up perfectly together. And so I did the scallop like that wrapped in the spinach leaf, so the spinach is not on the plate but it’s around the scallop, and wrapped that in a very thin dough of puff pastry where it was all about cooking the dough at, you know, 375 degrees or 425 even, and wrapping the scallop in the puff pastry with a band around and two disks on top and on the bottom. This dish became an instant classic right there because suddenly, it was like, boom, nothing could change anymore.
3. Kenji Lopez-Alt replaces the duck in cassoulet with chicken (I’ve got to try this):
So why chicken? Well, duck happens to be very common and inexpensive in medieval Southern France. In modern urban America, not so much. You could go out and buy duck legs to use for this recipe, but chicken is cheap, widely available, and easy to work with. And you want to know something else? With so much flavor packed into the cooking liquid—sausages, salted pork, cloves—you actually don’t miss the duckiness of the traditional dish.
Here’s another thing: Most of the distinguishing flavor in a particular type of meat comes from the fat. Cook a beef steak in lamb fat and it’ll taste like a lamb chop. Seriously.
So instead of just using duck, what if I were to incorporate a bit of store-bought duck fat?
4. Oliver Roellinger has a grand vision for chefs.
5. Opionated about Dining in China
6. Guardian Profile on Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, 3* in Modena)
7. Ruth Reichl waxes rhapsodic on almost every blogpost, but this is a good example of her style – a winebar in Paris.
8. A really good rating of Yamtcha by Gastromondiale.