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the sweet scoop
Wednesday kicks off the 21st annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, and my excitement over heading down to the Big Easy for all the food, fun, and festivities is overwhelming.
It was an absolute honor to be invited to be one of the judges of the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off—a yearly cooking competition where celebrated local chefs create their most delicious signature dish showcasing fresh Louisiana seafood in all its glory. Helping select a winner will surely be a tough task, considering the caliber of chefs competing. So am I ready for the challenge? You bet! I may even pack my elastic waist pants.
Last year, chef Keith Frentz of Lola restaurant won over the judges and was crowned “King of Louisiana Seafood” for his “Friday Lunch Special,” a cornmeal-dusted wild Des Allemands catfish with Camellia red beans and local crawfish succotash, braised collards, and homemade tartar sauce (get the winning recipe here). And on Saturday, one of these talented ten will snag the coveted 2013 title. It’s thrilling to be able to play a role in this year’s Cook-Off excitement — wishing all participating chefs the very best of luck! Really looking forward to meeting you and trying each of your dishes.
Image courtesy of LouisianaTravel.com
From rising food rockstars to acclaimed celebrity chefs, the country’s culinary elite gathered together last night to celebrate the Food & Wine 2012 Best New Chefs. Held at the Liberty Theater in the heart of Times Square, the 24th annual soiree ushered in the latest roster of talented visionaries, as announced by Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin and Publisher Christina Grdovic.
During the Broadway-themed affair, Best New Chef alumni Daniel Boulud (1988), Michael Anthony (2002), Shea Gallante (2005), Gavin Kaysen (2007), Matthew Lightner (2010), George Mendes (2011), and Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais prepared tempting signature dishes, as partygoers mingled with the industry’s finest and eagerly anticipated the winners ceremony.
Every year, the editors at Food & Wine scour the nation to find the most talented chefs with a unique culinary vision. “It is such a delight to honor these incredible chefs, who have made a tremendous impact on the culinary world in a short period of time,” Cowin says.
Now, introducing the 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chefs:
Erik Anderson & Josh Habiger, The Catbird Seat, Nashville, TN
Mario Carbone & Rich Torrisi, Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York, NY
Danny Grant, RIA, Chicago, IL
Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen, New York, NY
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco, CA
Jenn Louis, Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, OR
Cormac Mahoney, Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle, WA
Bryant Ng, The Spice Table, Los Angeles, CA
Karen Nicolas, Equinox, Washington, DC
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA
After the big reveal, guests noshed on Creole-seasoned buttermilk fried chicken drumsticks from DJ Questlove—who rocked the turntables and helped take the event to all-out dance party status. In between savory bites and cutting loose on the dance floor with Dana Cowin and The Harlem James Gang, the crowd sipped Belvedere cocktails and Gallo wines, and got sweet on luscious Godiva chocolate truffles.
Thanks to the entire Food & Wine staff for a truly memorable evening. Wishing many congrats to all the 2012 Best New Chefs!
“It’s all about the meat on meat, baby!” exclaimed Michael Symon as he proudly displayed his second People’s Choice Award trophy during last year’s 2011 SOBEWFF Burger Bash. A year later, his meat mixing mastery has paid off again.
“This year, we ground the bacon right into the burger meat,” said Symon of his winning Porky Burger — a bacon-speckled ground pork patty topped with pulled pork and slaw, with crispy pork cracklings on the side.
One of the most popular events of the Festival, the annual “best between the bun” throwdown hosted by Rachael Ray drew dozens of top name chefs and Food Network personalities from around the country to cook up their best burger creations. Thousands of attendees gathered into a massive Miami beachfront tent to nosh on a whopping amount of burgers and sides, sip Amstel Light and vote for their favorite patty.
There were 32 different burgers in all — more than enough to satisfy even the hungriest carnivores. Josh Capon (Burger & Barrel) put a sweet and savory spin on his with onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles and secret sauce, while Angelo Sosa (Social Eatz) spiced things up with his Korean-inspired bulgogi burger. The Meatball Shop guys impressed during their Bash debut with a chili-flavored cheddar and caramelized onion version, and the Amstel Light-sponsored Fatty ‘Cue patty from Zak Pelaccio was also a favorite—succulent lamb meat with salted chilis and rye barrel aged worcestershire.
Surprisingly, beloved burger joint Shake Shack switched up their classic Shack Burger for an American and applewood smoked bacon-topped beef patty slathered with pepper relish and Shack Sauce. Not surprisingly, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray drew the biggest fan mobs.
Event judges Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, Marc Murphy and Susie Fogelson picked the crispy shallot, bacon and swiss burger from Whisk for the Golden Grill Award, and Guy Fieri snagged the Heinz Best Dressed Award for topping his bacon patty with thick tomato, onion rings and oozy “donkey sauce.” Many congrats to all the participants — this year’s Bash was juicier than ever!