Alain Ducasse married his longtime girlfriend over the weekend before 150 guests at Hotel du Palais in Biarritz. [NYP]
Raymond Sokolov admires the food stunts of Anne Burrell at Centro Vinoteca and Annita Lo of Annisa. [WSJ]
The Four Seasons raises its Thanksgiving dinner price to $125 a head, but the most expensive turkey in town is the $10,000 tables at Café Gray. [NYS]
The Food Network dumps Mario Batali, and he dumps Iron Chef America in return. [NYP]
Da Silvano‘s media connections won’t keep rat spottings out of the news as Inside Edition will air footage of the vermin tonight alongside similarly damning video of both Peter Luger and Blue Ribbon. [Eater]
"Nobody at the Bryant Park tents has to starve, sleep or stay sober" during fashion week thanks to sponsorships including Eleni’s cookies, Nespresso, and most importantly the entire Spanish wine region of Rioja. [NYDN]
Forget Openings. Forget Openings. Forget reviews. Forget the Short List (more or less). The summer and its indolent desolation is over at last. The restaurant world prepares for its yearly rebirth, and its nocturnal flower is set to blossom. Fall Preview is here. And any New Yorker not currently in an intensive care unit should hasten to read every word.
In a list of the world’s best restaurants to dine alone, the Modern Bar Room is right up there with London restaurant Itsu, where the former Russian spy is thought to have been poisoned with radium. [Forbes]
Related: No, Just Me [NYM]
"Page Six" figures out almost a year after the Times that Alain Ducasse is opening a space in the St. Regis Hotel. Ah, August. [NYP]
Two researchers spent a year compiling a book of New York gourmet shops; two favorites were Yonah Schimmel and Christopher Norman Chocolates. [NYDN]
The owner of Pearl Oyster Bar sues the owner of Ed’s Lobster Bar for intellectual-property theft, accusing her former sous-chef of having stolen everything from the paint job to the Caesar salad dressing. [NYT]
Alain Ducasse has taken over Brasserie LCB and is looking to convert it into a bistro along the lines of Benoit, his casual place in Paris. [NYT]
It might not be such a good idea to hire a Top Chef. [NYO]
Never you been to Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant in Forest Hills? That’s because there isn’t one. But Danny Brown’s db wine bar and restaurant sounds close enough to db bistro moderne that the great chef’s copyright is threatened. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Travelers at JFK airport won’t have to get by on chili dogs much longer – a Todd English eatery, a wine bar, an oyster bar, and more high-end venues are on the way. [NYP]
Seamus Mullen is more at home with the elevated cooking at Suba than the rustic style at Boqueria: “It was like getting back to basics that I never really had.” [Restaurant Girl]
Staffers at Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22 found out the place was closing yesterday via a cell-phone call telling them they were now out of a job. Nice. [NYP]
Katz’s may be threatened by condo development, but pastrami still has secure fortresses in the outer boroughs. [Gothamist]
Related: Mother of Mercy! Is This the End of Katz’s? [Grub Street]
Astoria: Sai’s Organics health-food store will open a new location that incorporates a wellness center, and they’re hiring. [Joey in Astoria]
Bensonhurst: Do Carluccio’s heroes have a right to be famous? Has anyone heard of them? [Brooklyn Record]
East Village: A sake retailer is moving in on East 9th Street. [Down by the Hipster]
Flatiron: Charlie Palmer shuts down Kitchen 22. [Eater]
Fort Greene: Pequeña chef and co-owner Johannes Sanzin, who also partners in Olea and Maggie Brown, is developing a space on Fulton and Clinton Avenue for an unknown restaurant. [VV]
Midtown West: Our Insatiable Critic’s new blog breaks news that Alain Ducasse cohorts claim to have secured the low-rent space of Department of Health–shuttered Brasserie LCB. [Bite]
Upper East Side: There’s apparently something sacred about staring at bodega workers just trying to have dinner in peace. [The Upper East Side Informer]
Williamsburg: An Austro-Hungarian biergarten — huge, with a restaurant — is in progress on North 3rd Street! [A Test of Will]
Alain Ducasse speaks out on his restaurants, his rivalry with Joël Robuchon, and the challenge of running a global empire. But his most pointed remarks are about molecular gastronomy: “I prefer to be able to identify what I’m eating.” [Bloomberg]
BLT Market, Laurent Tourondel’s entry into the Haute Barnyard sweepstakes, has been pushed back to August. [RG]
“Hipster chef” Sam Mason’s new Internet TV show gets love in the Daily News, which swooningly describes him as “witty, goateed and extremely good-looking.” But you already knew that. [NYDN]
Related: The Launch
An inside look at what restaurants’ produce suppliers go through and the razor's edge their business turns on. [NYT]
Nina Lalli believes that we were wrong to defend Rachael Ray, who, she says, just throws fatty food at the masses, with no care for their well-being. [VV]
Joël Robuchon has confirmed that he’s going to open a restaurant in Chicago; now it looks like Alain Ducasse will be doing the same. If, as some speculate, Ducasse never reopens here, we may actually end up behind Chicago in something. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Usually, an outfit with a name like Culinary Insiders is bound to be just the opposite. And yet a group calling itself exactly that has some of the city’s most promising restaurant events scheduled, starting with a behind-the-scenes tour of Peter Luger on Sunday the 21st. Also upcoming*: a truffle party at Alain Ducasse, a trip to Stone Barns with Dan Barber, and in February, a Chinese New Year extravaganza at 66. And though membership may have its privileges, accredited Insiders get only $25 off the $150 Luger tour ticket. And, yes, that does come with a steak meal.
Behind-the-Scenes at Peter Luger [Culinary Insiders]
* Correction, Jan. 5: The Stone Barns and Alain Ducasse events have already taken place.
Not only is the space race still on, but France has pulled ahead of the U.S. You read that right: The European Space Agency recently teamed with Alain Ducasse, a man who knows a thing or two about stars (Michelin having given him nine over the course of his career), and Ducasse has prepared special meals — quails roasted in wine, duck-breast confit with capers, and "Riviera style swordfish" — for inhabitants of the International Space Station, currently hovering 220 miles above the earth. The first one was served Sunday. NASA, meanwhile, has engaged Rachael Ray to design meals like Thai chicken for the Discovery shuttle crew, who will be blasting off on Thursday. We're pretty sure her food will be an improvement on Fruit Roll-Ups and Tang, but it's hard not to feel a pang of national embarrassment reading the Ducasse menu.
Gourmet Meals on Menu for ISS Crew [Aero-News Network]
TV Host Upgrades Astronaut Meals [USA Today]
We were as surprised as all get-out to hear via Eater that Zak Pelaccio and Jeffrey Chodorow are planning to take Fatty Crab national. So we called Pelaccio: "It's simply inaccurate," the chef tells us. "I don't know where Eater gets their info, but it's not from me nor any of my business partners." Fine — we Web types sometimes get the wrong information. But then, Pelaccio delivered a real bit of news: He'll be taking over Alain Ducasse's Spoon (owned by Jeffrey Chodorow) in the Sanderson Hotel in London and launching a Malaysian restaurant as consulting chef. "But that has nothing to do with Fatty Crab or even America," he adds. But it has everything to do with a local guy making good.
EaterWire: Ramsay Lands, Drops Two-Hour Time Limit, Boxer's Loses Their Lease, Fatty Crab Goes National! [Eater]
Given how much hubbub there was over the Michelin ratings, and how bad the guide actually was (as we recently noted here), we're surprised we haven't heard more reactions to Mobil's quasi-scientific restaurant guide, the latest edition of which was just released. "We have created a very objective process of evaluating restaurants," Shane O'Flaherty, Mobil's vice-president of quality assurance and the man in charge of the restaurant ratings, tells us. "From that standpoint, we believe that it's as accurate as you can get, anywhere you go."
Only four New York restaurants received the top rank of five stars in the ratings released last week: Alain Ducasse, Per Se, Masa, and Jean Georges. (Le Bernardin, which won three Michelin stars, is conspicuously absent.) What separates a five-star restaurant from a four? O'Flaherty cited some startlingly specific examples from Mobil's checklist.
Last night's A Taste of New York, a major culinary gala presented by New York Magazine at the Puck Building and benefiting City Harvest, was an orgy of food and mirth. Over 30 of the city's best restaurants, from Alain Ducasse to wd-50, set up tables with a signature dish, and a boisterous crowd of well-heeled foodies circulated around, trying the food and chatting up the chefs.
A friend of Porchetta chef Jason Neroni has alerted us to the fact that, despite having taken over for Wylie Dufresne at 71 Clinton Fresh Foods before starting his new gig, Neroni does not consider Dufresne his mentor. "Because Wylie made such a name for 71 Clinton Fresh Food, I think people tend to compare our styles a lot," Neroni tells us. "But Smith Street isn't the Lower East Side, and I'm in this business to do what I love, and to be myself." The chef credits Alice Waters and Dan Hill for teaching him about ingredients, Floyd Cardoz for teaching him about "multidimensionality," and Alain Ducasse for teaching him to "slow down, combine all the elements, and create a cuisine that I could, for the first time, truly consider to be mine."
A Restaurant Revolution on Smith Street? [Grub Street]
Michelin dropped its ratings bomb today, and it's safe to say that the New York restaurant world is, as usual, reeling. Though not as consequential as a Zagat snub, business-wise, the Michelin ratings are closer to the hearts of top chefs. (French chef Bernard Loiseau was widely believed to have killed himself over a Michelin downgrade.) The book is supposed to be in stores tomorrow (though our local Barnes & Noble says it's not even at the distributor yet). We do, however, know of some surprises. Messrs. Boulud, Bouley, and Takahama are no doubt having lousy afternoons.
• In New Jersey, where a big distributor of foie gras is based, a legislator proposes banning the delicacy. Anthony Bourdain ain't gonna take it: "It's like beating up on Julia Child." [AP]
• "Some day a real rain will come and wash all the trans fats off the streets"? Bloomberg attempts to rope Robert De Niro into the debate. [Newsday]
• Alain Ducasse moves to the former Lespinasse space in the St. Regis hotel and plans decanters modeled after Louis Vuitton trunks. [NYT]
• Ruth Reichl: Coming to a multiplex near you. [NYP]
• The new face of caviar: scannable sturgeons and fish biopsies. [NYT]
• Starbucks rips off the Egg McMuffin. [Dow Jones]
• Greenpoint's Café Grumpy rents its back room out to hipstervangelists. [NYDN]
• Del Posto, Craftsteak, and Buddakan called out as the principal hells of the meatpacking district: "The assholes are eating assholes. The cocks are eating coxcombs." [Gawker]