Harold Dieterle Explains Why He Loves BangkokIn a random but oddly enjoyable interview with Harold Dieterle, the Perilla chef and Top Chef laureate tells Gridskipper he loves Bangkok for its duck and deep-tissue massages — but not that kind.
Debriefer: Top Chef Harold Dieterle [Gridskipper]
The New York Diet
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand Dines at Sony’s Private RestaurantFor the past month, Franz Ferdinand front man Alex Kapranos has been spending long hours in a Chelsea studio producing a record by tourmates the Cribs; staying at the Greenpoint apartment of his girlfriend of four years Eleanor Friedberger, lead singer of the Fiery Furnaces; and celebrating the publication of Sound Bites: Eating on Tour With Franz Ferdinand, in which the culinary adventurer and former chef recounts everything from buffets in Singapore to bull’s testicles in Argentina. Before he returns to Glasgow next week to start work on a new record (and to tuck into his favorite curry), we thought we’d ask him where he’s been finding nourishment in his adopted city.
5th Ninth’s Chef de Cuisine Makes a Girl-Power MoveMary Ellen Heavner, the chef de cuisine who ran the 5 Ninth kitchen during executive chef Zak Pelaccio’s extended absences, has left the restaurant. Oddly, for a chef of Heavner’s reputation, it’s to take a lesser position, that of sous-chef to Ivy Stark at Amalia, the new restaurant opening next month in the Dream Hotel. (We originally wrote about Amalia last month.) Why take the step down? Heavner attributes it to girl power. “I thought it would be kind of cool to work for a woman,” she says, “and to see how she’s managed her career as a female chef. She opened Dos Caminos, she was the executive at Rosa Mexicana, and she did great cooking at Lespinasse and Lutece. And I really like her food.” It also cannot have escaped Heavner’s notice that the Dream Hotel is owned by Vikram Chatwal, one of the wealthiest hoteliers in the world. Chatwal won’t have to look far the next time he wants to open a big restaurant in one of his luxury hotels.
Earlier: Dream Hotel’s Restaurant Still a Dream, But Opening in January
At the Market
Sour Cherry Stomp Is An Uncut Jolt to the Brain
Fresh on gourmet shelves: Cara Cara navel oranges at their peak, mahogany-colored rice from the Camargue, and Crimson grapes from Chile.
What to Look For
Cara cara navel oranges are orange outside, pink in. They’re reaching their peak now, boasting sweet juice that has hints of raspberries and strawberries (widely available — look for the blue Cecelia packing sticker and choose fruit that feel heavy).
Among the most delectable of the many red rices proliferating on market shelves: mahogany-colored rice from the French Camargue, with a jasmine fragrance, caviar-like pop, and savory, buttery flavor; and wine-black Colusari rice from India, which is chewy and fruity with a whiff of cardamom (Colusari rice is $4.99 per pound and Camarguese rice is $6.99 per pound, both at Kalustyan’s).
Daniel Boulud to Get His Braise On TonightDaniel Boulud’s latest book, Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, deals with a technique that’s central to his deep-flavored, essentially rustic cuisine. Boulud will demonstrate his braising moves tonight at 7 p.m. at Florence Gould Hall, followed by a book signing and Q&A session. Since the demands of being a mogul and a celebrity chef take up so much of his time these days, the chance to see him cook, and talk in detail about his cooking, is not to be missed.
“Daniel Boulud Presents Braise,” Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59th St., nr. Madison Ave. Mon., Jan. 15, 7 p.m.
Members $20; nonmembers $25. Tickets available at Ticketmaster. Call 212-307-4100.
Back of the House
Gay Waiter Literally Has It Shoved in His Face; Falai to Open More CasualJean Georges waiter claims to have been abused by the restaurant’s homophobic staff — including a forced after-hours lap dance. We might have expected this at Mercer Kitchen, but … [Newsday]
The Times considers the banana-cream pie as a Zeitgeist item, concludes that it unites the diverse population of Los Angeles. Also, it’s funny when people throw them. [NYT]
Iacopo Falai set to open Caffe Falai, a more casual version of his restaurant later this week. Get there while it’s still BYOB. [The Strong Buzz]
New York has better bars and restaurants than London, says English op-ed. And they’re just figuring this out now? [Telegraph]
Chinatown is the place to go for cheap, high-quality vegetables. Also, we would add, for cheap, high-quality fish, turtles, dumplings … [WNYC]
Cook and cashier brutally shot at Brooklyn’s Happy House Chinese restaurant. [NY1]
Whether to add other brands to your core business, or shed them: McDonald’s versus Red Lobster. True inside-baseball, but interesting. [Foodservice Blog]