Teamsters Say That Reports of Top Chef Threats Are ‘Fiction at Best’

Don't mess with Padma. (Or Emeril, or Morimoto for that matter.)Photo: David Moir/Bravo

Yesterday, a corroborated report from an anonymous Top Chef crew member alleged that members of the local Teamsters union who had been shut out of filming the show's upcoming Boston season attacked Padma Lakshmi and production personnel. The incidents reportedly involved sexist, racist, and homophobic slurs, a death threat, and the slashing of no fewer than 14 tires on crew vehicles. There has been no official statement from Bravo, but political candidates backed by Teamsters Local 25 are already putting daylight between themselves and the group, while the union itself has called the report "fiction at best."

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Jack Nicholson Dines With the Baldwins at Nick & Toni’s; Rihanna Drinks at the Bowery Hotel

Living the life.Photo: Splash News/Corbis

This week around New York, Katie Holmes stopped for lunch at Delicatessen, Jessica Alba dined at the LCL: Bar & Kitchen, and Anne Hathaway danced at the Roof at the Viceroy. And out east in the Hamptons, Joe Biden ate at the same restaurant, 75 Main, twice in one day, while power players Jack Nicholson, Hilaria and Alec Baldwin, and Lorne Michaels shared a prime table at Nick & Toni's. Read it all, straight ahead.

Who ordered the Musket Room's tasting menu? »

Josh Lucas Starts Each Day With CafĂ© Grumpy’s Biscuits, Feasts at Hometown Bar-B-Que

"I had sake, which turned out to be a mistake. I had mixed many liquors that day."Photo: Melissa Hom

Actor Josh Lucas is a big fan of Julie Reiner, the subject of last week's Grub Diet, and her cocktails: He visited the Jazz Age Lawn Party twice this past weekend. Lucas is also a regular at CafĂ© Grumpy, where he stops for jalapeño biscuits almost every morning, before filming The Mysteries of Laura, his new show for NBC. When Lucas isn't on set, or spending time with his 2-year-old son, he runs the gourmet drinks garnish company Filthy Food — and he's so committed to the cause that he carries blue-cheese-stuffed olives with him at all times. This, and more, in this week's Grub Diet.

"It turned out to have one of the best steaks I've had in the city." »


Mouth’s New Collection, Momofuku Chefs Look Back

• Mouth launched its second batch of treats in collaboration with Food & Wine — check out the collection here. [Grub Street]

• In honor of Momofuku Noodle Bar's tenth anniversary, alums revealed their favorite dishes. [First We Feast]

• Sean Brock talks fried chicken. [Tasting Table]

Is This ‘Stupendous’ Butter Knife a Work of Genius or Just Plain Dumb?

So basically like a hot knife through butter, but ridged instead of hot.Photo: The Stupendous Splendiferous ButterUp/Kickstarter

A Sydney-based trio of "avid butter enthusiasts" has come up with this knife, which renders cold, hard butter into dainty and pliable curls, and the group's Kickstarter seems to indicate that this is something people need in their lives. (Maybe blame Time magazine.)

The video, straight ahead. »

Pizza Pop-up Margot’s Will Open As a Full-Time Restaurant

The pizza student has become the pizza master.

Here's some pretty exciting news that Adam Kuban prolific food writer and the brains and brawn behind the beloved Margot's Pizza pop-up, won't be heading west after all to spearhead the Portland outpost of Greenpoint fave Paulie Gee's. Instead, he's "actually staying in NYC to open a bar pie place." Kuban clarifies to Eater that the brick-and-mortar Margot's is in its earliest developmental stages and he's not established a "definite timeline yet," but he's about to begin the hunt for a space. That's reason enough for pie fanatics to start getting excited. [Ben Leventhal via Eater NY]

A Sneak Peek of the Food at Marta, Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer’s Forthcoming Restaurant

Potato-and-rapini croquettes; fairytale eggplant, chili vinaigrette; fritto misto.Photo: Alice Gao

In the next few weeks, Danny Meyer will open a wood-fired pizzeria inside the Martha Washington hotel (owned by the Chelsea Hotel Group — formerly known as King & Grove). Maialino chef Nick Anderer's menu includes super-thin pizzas, as well as Roman-inspired dishes cooked "all brace" — over open embers. Here are two photos of the (gorgeous) food — enjoy this as a little appetizer before Marta opens in late August, or, at the latest, early September.

Radicchio, quinoa, dried cherries, almonds. »

Saveur Editor-in-Chief James Oseland Is Leaving the Magazine [Updated]

Oseland's is starting a new magazine.Photo: Melissa Hom

An internal memo circulated to staffers at Saveur today revealed that editor-in-chief James Oseland will leave the magazine after next Friday, Capital reports. The site says that Oseland made the decision "after he learned last week that Bonnier Corp. would bring in an editorial director to reboot the 20-year-old brand and oversee its presence across all platforms." Meanwhile, Oseland confirms the news to Eater and says he will start a "new brand with Rodale's magazine division."

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Buvette’s Jody Williams and I Sodi’s Rita Sodi to Join Forces at Via Carota Next Month

Rita Sodi and Jody Williams.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

“If I find myself running a 75-seat ‘restaurant,’ I will have done a disservice to this community,” says Jody Williams, chef-owner of Buvette and sworn enemy of most established restaurant conventions, from phone numbers and reservations to impenetrable hostess stands and tyrannical menus. Williams, who has exported her casual, all-day, wine-and-small-plates, don’t-call-it-a-restaurant gastrothèque concept from the West Village to Paris, with Tokyo and Stockholm in her sights, loves the idea of eating and drinking what she wants, when she wants. She also loves cooking — especially in the company of her partner, Rita Sodi, whose classic Italian food at the nearby Tuscan restaurant I Sodi Williams fell in love with, even before falling in love with Sodi herself.

"We love artichokes, we love frying, we’ll be making focaccias ..." »

Here’s a Look at the New Dishes Debuting at Berg’n, Opening Wednesday

Ramen Burger's ramen fries with spicy mayo, and cinnamon-sugar ramen churros.Photo: Melissa Hom

Brooklyn Flea co-founders Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby will officially open their much-anticipated food-and-beer hall this coming Wednesday, August 27, in Crown Heights. Berg'n, housed inside a single-story, 9,000-square-foot former garage, includes four Smorgasburg veteran vendors (Ramen Burger, Asia Dog, Pizza Moto, and Mighty Quinn's), a 40-foot antique bar with local brews, and a coffee bar stacked with Brooklyn-­made Parlor beans, Dough doughnuts, and Blue Marble ice cream. The menus are filled with old favorites, of course, but there are also some exciting, brand-spanking-new dishes — two different fried-chicken sandwiches, balsamic-boiled peanuts, and square pies. Take a look, straight ahead.

Asia Dog's fried-banana spring roll. »

Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef Crew Were Allegedly Threatened While Filming Show’s Boston Season

The host on a presumably better day.Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo

While season 12's new promo is busy teasing fun, Thanksgiving-themed camaraderie, some crew members have spilled details alleging there was a much less peaceable vibe back in June while the show filmed. An anonymous behind-the-scenes worker claims a group of Teamsters who had gathered to picket Bravo's refusal to hire union workers allegedly went nuts and threatened just the whole cast and crew. One source even tells Deadline that when Padma Lakshmi arrived that day to shoot at suburban Boston's Steel & Rye, she was met with shouts like "We're gonna bash that pretty face in, you f--king whore!"

More slurs and slashed tires. »

The New Tasting Menu at Huertas Is Only $55

How about some vegetable escabeche?

Beginning next Tuesday, August 26, Jonah Miller will start serving a five-course, $55 tasting menu at Huertas, the Basque-influenced East Village restaurant that opened in April with more refrescos and pintxos than you can shake a skewer at. A selection of the Northern Spanish bar snacks starts off each tasting menu, followed by three savory courses and a dessert of cheese course. The lineup will change often, but next week Miller's dishes might include raw albacore with fennel and salmon roe, and duck breast with duck heart and carrots. Vegetarian options are also available, and the menu is $85 with beverage pairings, which includes fortified wines and ciders. [Related]

Yet Another Restaurant Doesn’t See a Problem With Discounts for Churchgoing Customers

A sign from the heavens?Photo: Bailey's/Facebook

Central Arkansas churchgoers craving a budget-friendly Sunday buffet should beat it to Bailey's Pizza while there's still a 10 percent church-bulletin discount for the taking. Based on this sign, we're going to guess that the savings amounts to a couple of bucks, tops, but still: Steven Rose, the owner of the month-old pizzeria in the town of Searcy doesn't see the potential issues that might stem from mixing organized religion and check averages (even though these things never end well), but a nonprofit that looks out for these kinds of things did, and they pointed them out.

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Original Twinkies Factory Will Close After 84 Years

He's still smiling, and that's what matters.

Hostess celebrated its post-bankruptcy revival a year ago with a big relaunch and festive new box depicting a triumphant Twinkie the Kid atop a decapitated pastry, but that eight-month hiatus from store shelves may have been more detrimental than anyone thought: The company announced it will shut down its Continental Baking Company plant in Schiller Park, Illinois — where the world's first Twinkies were produced — by October. "Many competitors took over the shelves and are tenaciously defending their business and thus we must be highly efficient and technologically advanced to compete,” says Bill Toler, the company's chief executive, explaining that it's hard out there for a Twinkie.

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Chef and Restaurateur Matt Haley Has Died

Matthew Haley was 53.

Matt Haley, a Delaware-based chef who opened several restaurants and founded or developed nonprofit initiatives outside of his kitchens, died earlier this week after an accident in Leh, India, where he had been traveling for a humanitarian mission. The chef reportedly collided with a truck while driving a motorcycle in a high-altitude region on Monday afternoon. Haley, who was wearing a helmet, was left unconscious, and died on Tuesday while he was being transported to a hospital in New Delhi.

"Matt was really touched by Nepal ..." »


Maison Premiere’s Labor Day Party; The Pines Teams Up With Table on Ten

• Maison Premiere is hosting its fourth-annual Labor Day Party on Monday, September 1. Doors will open at noon, admission is free, and the event will include an assortment of premium oysters and chilled seafood. The full bar will be available throughout the day, and you can expect live music. [Grub Street]

• The Pines is once again joining forces with Table on Ten for a special dinner at the Bloomville restaurant. It's on August 31, and the eight-course meal — with edibles farmed and foraged within 25 miles — costs $75, without pairings. Email for reservations.

• One Fifty One (at 151 Rivington Street, between Clinton and Suffolk) is now in soft-open mode. It's the first New York venture from the Honeycut team in L.A. [Grub Street]

The Restaurateur Who Made Servers Pay Diner’s Credit-Card Fees Had a Sudden Change of Heart

It's on the house.

The St. Paul-based Blue Plate restaurant chain is backtracking on its pretty foul plan to deduct 2-ish percent of servers' tips to pay for customers' credit card merchant fees. The proprietors initially buried news of the policy change at the bottom of a memo that otherwise congratulated workers on their "well-deserved raise," and, not coincidentally, the surcharge was timed to Minnesota's recent and controversial minimum wage hike. Now there's been a sudden change of heart. "We have always listened to our guests and our community," said co-owner David Burley. The restaurant group is not only reabsorbing the fees, it's tossing in a raise to non-tipped employees too: $9.69 an hour, $1.69 more than the state's current minimum wage. All told, a costly management lesson, but perhaps a valuable long-term PR strategy. [Star Tribune, Earlier]

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s Nut Butters Included in Wide-Reaching Recall

Almond butter, too.

A nut-butter producer whose products are shipped out to private-label customers like Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and more has voluntarily recalled the equivalent of 45 production lots of peanut and almond butter, crunchy and creamy. There have been no confirmed cases of salmonella, but producer nSPIRED Natural Foods, Inc. said in a press release yesterday that four illnesses were reported, and the USDA has identified the "potential risk" of leaving certain batches on the market. The full list of affected nut butters is here. Meanwhile, the FDA says the jars have been shipped to Canada, the U.A.E., Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, and "across the United States," so anyone unsure of their nut butter's provenance might want to omit to PB from their PB&Js for a while. [FDA]

Here’s the Full List of Competing Cooks on Top Chef’s New Season

Hey here, pilgrim.

Bravo's Top Chef crew was all over Beantown for season 12, and it looks like besides Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, and Hugh Acheson, Top Chef All Stars champ and noted Fancy Feast connoisseur Richard Blais will join as a recurring judge for the 16 contestants. Expect Fenway Park and Cheers bar cameos, plus guest appearances from actress Emmy Rossum, Jacques Pépin, and Barbara Lynch. The season premieres October 15. Two New Yorkers made the cut; the full release, straight ahead.

Two words: George Wendt »

Yuji Ramen Will Pop Up at Okonomi Beginning Next Week

Wild Alaskan King Salmon and cheese mazemen.Photo: Yuji Ramen/Facebook

Starting next Monday, at Yuji Haraguchi's Williamsburg restaurant Okonomi you'll be able to get a bunch of favorites from Yuji Ramen, like the Wild Alaskan King Salmon and cheesy mazemen you see here, along with plates like local bonito poke that are normally served at the restaurant. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the pop-up is walk-in only. Haraguchi shut both of his noodle counters at Whole Foods down last month, leaving a tsukemen-shaped hole in the city's bustling ramen scene. [Facebook via Eater NY, Related]


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