Facebook Brings Chefs Closer TogetherWe dedicate a lot of our time to obsessing over the restaurant industry’s heavy hitters: Gordo, Mario, Fabio. But what about the bright young things who slave away in the shadows of the line? No doubt many of them will be destined for big things, and surely they’re dreaming of the days when they’ll have an empire and a single moniker ending in “o.” So who’s keeping an eye on them? After hours of prowling around Facebook, we can now enthusiastically assert that we are. We combed through the social-networking site, finding dozens of profiles and pulling the most useful for your reference. Who’s the sous-chef with a dislike of olives and fake tits? Which pastry extern is friends with New York’s Sexiest Chef? And why are so many Per Se–ers on the site? Does Thomas Keller make it a staff requirement or something?–Alexandra Vallis
James Beard Hopefuls Lobby on FacebookIt’s time again for Beard nominations, and the whole kerfuffle over Jason Neroni last year isn’t stopping the shameless shilling. A Grub Street reader alerted us to the Facebook group “Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award,” created by a friend of Rich, chef at Sumile Sushi. Rich is in a good spot if the group’s twelve current members are any indicator. Nice of the moderator to invite them all to Sumile! Let’s hope for the sake of propriety that there won’t be any comped green-tea ice cream.
Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award [Facebook]
At the Greenmarket
Concord Grapes Ripen, Summer Corn Lingers On
Thanks to the cool weather, the produce at Union Square looks perky this morning, as hardier lettuces and winter squash replace their delicate summer counterparts. Even late-afternoon visitors will find the stands looking fresh.
What to Look For
Purple-black Concord grapes are a flavor-packed fall phenomenon. Their sweet-tart intensity is easiest to appreciate once the seeds have been separated from the aromatic flesh. Try them in sorbets and gelées, or make them into Concord-grape ketchup (recipe) ($5 per quart at Cheerful Cherry Farm, available Friday and Saturday).
In the Magazine
This Week, Your Cup Runneth OverSay what you want about the Smith & Wollensky Group — that their restaurants (Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats, the Post House, et al) are sometimes hard to tell apart, or that their steaks are less than life-changing. But no one claims that the company doesn’t deliver the goods when it comes to nicely priced wine. The $69 prix-fixe dinner at Cité, for example, comes with a bottomless glass of four different types. And this week, Rob and Robin tell us, all the Wollensky restaurants are offering $10 tastings of ten good wines at lunch. The selections change each day, so the committed oenophile can end up trying 50 different wines over the course of the week. [100 Bottles of Wine on the Wall]
Executive Chef Assaulted at Chinatown BrasserieWe’ve heard of people having it out with management, but this is ridiculous. Around midnight on Wednesday, an exchange of words between three men who had just had an hours-long dinner at Chinatown Brasserie and maître d’ Robert Banat devolved into the trio yelling at Banat and shoving him. Executive chef Tyson Wong Ophaso tells us that when he stepped in to separate the men from his maître d’, the biggest and youngest of the three threw Ophaso on his back. (Ophaso is five foot, six inches, 130 pounds.) Cursing loudly, the man then dragged the hapless chef by his feet onto the sidewalk and proceeded to beat him up, despite the best efforts of Brasserie staff — but no other onlookers — to protect him.
The men fled before police arrived, but one of them left behind his credit-card information, and all three were captured on the restaurant’s cameras. They’ve all been identified, and Ophaso is pressing charges. Meanwhile, what kind of town is this that a chef is beaten by three goons, and no strangers come to his aid? Any man that cooks orange beef like Ophaso deserves the utmost protection against bruisers.