The Cost of Charity, ExplainedA month doesn’t seem to go by without some kind of charity benefit, at which every chef you’ve ever heard gives away his time and food. Besides the warm feeling of do-goodery, what do the chefs get out of it? Michael Ruhlman had a feature on the subject in this week’s Times magazine, and the answers are interesting: Danny Meyer explains charity efficiency (“It may cost me $30,000 or $40,000 to close down a restaurant for a night, but if an organization can pull in a quarter of a million dollars, what a great investment, relative to giving a $200 gift certificate that somebody buys for $225”), and Aaron Sanchez gives a frank reason for doing all these events (“I get to catch up with my friends who are chefs”). Ruhlman cites Wolfgang Puck as the “originator of the chef-driven benefit” back in 1982. As a chef’s profile rises, so does his ability to milk beneficial bucks from not only donors but also potential future customers.
Friends With Benefits [NYT]
In the Magazine
Come Fly With Us in This Week’s IssueWith all New York offers, it’s still not enough. Our appetite for change and novelty is insatiable and voracious. Good thing we have this week’s magazine! Why bother with traditional Thanksgiving, when there are so many global options here? We have recipes for Chinese Thanksgiving from Joe Ng of Chinatown Brasserie, Mexican Thanksgiving from Aaraon Sanchez of Centrico and Paladar, African Thanksgiving from Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, and more. And if all that isn’t novel enough, and you have to jet out of town, we can tell you where to eat while you’re waiting – both in the airport, and in the surrounding areas. Finally, if you’re sticking close to home, the Underground Gourmet suggests where to get a proper hero.
Chodorow’s Got Big, Big Plans; Aaron Sanchez Has an EnemyJeffrey Chodorow is devising a new megarestaurant for a 15,000-square-foot double-decker space in the Empire Hotel at Broadway and 63rd Street. In other news, Frank Bruni has already given it zero stars. [NYP]
Our pal Aaron Sanchez barely avoided being cut on the Next Iron Chef since according to Bourdain, Alton “Knowlton seems not to have disclosed a prior schoolyard incident with a young Aaron ‘El Guapo’ Sanchez — in which Sanchez (it would appear) bullied him mercilessly. He seemed unnaturally eager to send him packing.” [Ruhlman]
Williamsburg’s Hasidic community has its own street-food truck, but you too can buy the kosher grub. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Back of the House
Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?
Nothing can replace Top Chef in our reality-TV affections, but we have to say, The Next Iron Chef is pretty good. We only started watching this past week, being understandably resistant to another show built on the identical format of Top Chef. The premise Next Iron Chef is that, rather than just having the next Iron Chef selected by Food Network suits, the nation’s most celebrated chefs should compete, with the winner given the dubious honor of cooking in weekly battles in Kitchen Stadium. (You would think chefs would be fighting to avoid such a fate, but such is the pull of fame.)
Thor Struck Down on the LES; Bruni Rides the Bull in Midtown West?Clinton Hill: Recent openings: Manee Thai from the owners of Myrtle Thai and Nuevo Latino spot Tamboril. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Coney Island: The world’s largest “lollypop” has been installed by an artist to commemorate Philip’s Candy (1930–2001). [Kinetic Carnival]
Long Island City: LIC Bar at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard is hosting a BBQ and free concert with local bands this Sunday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. [Joey in Astoria]
Lower East Side: Thor gets gutted with no warning. [Eater]
Midtown West: Frank Bruni contemplated riding the bull at Johnny Utah’s. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Prospect Heights: Rye with fresh blackberries, mint, and ginger beer, and gin with peaches and homemade thyme syrup are among cocktails available at Flatbush Farm Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. during a farmer’s-market tasting event. [A Brooklyn Life]
Meatopia V: We Have a Winner(s)!The polls have closed on our Meatopia V theme contest, and we have a winner! We sort of have four, actually. Given their truly mind-bending menus, three readers could not be denied entrance to our infanticidal bash. We look forward to meeting them tonight. Our grand-prize winner will not come to Meatopia alone. She may bring three guests along, too. The lucky carnivores are listed below.
Tour the Red Hook Ball Fields With Chef Aaron Sanchez
The ad hoc Latin American food court at the Red Hook ball fields is one of New York’s great cultural centers, a place where anyone can go to experience South and Central American home cooking. The ideal person to guide you through it is Aaron Sanchez, one of the city’s top Latin chefs (Centrico, Paladar) and the author of La Comida Del Barrio: Latin-American Cooking in the USA. Aaron gave us an insider’s tour. If this doesn’t inspire you to get out to Red Hook this summer (here’s a map!), consider the following: The permit for the ball fields, which has been given to the vendors for many years, will be opened up by the Parks Department for bids from all comers in the fall. That means this summer could be your last chance to taste some of the best Latin American food in the city.
Related: The Threat to Red Hook Unites New York’s Foodies
Back of the House
Most Influential Young Chefs Named, Presented With Tchotchkes
Move over, Bouley! Step aside, Jojo! You’re so over. There’s a new generation of “emerging tastemakers,” at least according to Food Arts magazine and their friends at Sterling Meats. Sunday night, meat purveyor and magazine jointly fêted ten young chefs who, they predict, “will be influencing what, where and how we dine out on a national level.” The chefs were presented with framed, diploma-like certificates and envy-inducing Masamoto cobalt-steel knifes.