Meyer, McNally, Nieporent Respond to New NYC Food Festival
The Times reported last week that New York will get its own Lee Schrager food festival this fall (as we predicted last year), but does the city’s food community really want one? We rang up a few people who we’d expect to be involved with such an event and got a mixed reaction.
DOA Makes You Wait Longer to Eat Frankenbeef; Find Dinner on FoodTubeThough the FDA approved the sale of meat and dairy from cloned animals, the Department of Agriculture is asking farmers to postpone introducing cloned animals into the food supply until they can calm retailers and overseas trading partners. [NYT]
Related: FDA to Beef Industry: Send in the Clones
The list of restaurateurs interested in snatching up Tavern on the Green when its lease expires at the end of the year has expanded to include heavyweights such as Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, and the Ciprianis. [NYP]
The Great Restaurant Critic Notebook Caper of 2008 continues! With confirmation that it belongs to neither Frank Bruni nor Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, the search for its owner goes on. [Eater]
Related: So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?
Jacques Pépin Eats Everything Except Raw FetusesIt was a foodie fantasy last night at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the likes of Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Sirio Maccioni, Drew Nieporent, and Jacques Pépin had gathered for the lavish annual Food Allergy Ball. We caught up with Jacques Pépin in the grand ballroom before he was to be honored for his valiant fight against cross-contamination. Asked if he had any food allergies himself, the master chef admitted, “No, I don’t,” adding that “I’m a real glutton. I eat anything you put in front of me.” We found that hard to believe from a man known for culinary perfection. “Ask my wife!” he said, so we did. “He’ll eat anything I put in front of him!” Mme. Pépin testified. Still, we wondered if old Jacques can be a diva at home — had he ever pronounced Lady Pépin’s grub “unacceptable”? “Are you kidding? She’d put it on my head, I say that!”
Meyer and Batali Face Off; Gordo’s Advice on the CloserMeyer, Batali, Nieporent, and others compete to see who’ll serve VIPs at the new Jets/Giants stadium. Interesting! And how does this affect Meyer’s rumored plans to take Shea Stadium by ShackStorm? [NYP]
Gordo’s first-date fail-safe: Take your girl to Ducasse’s place in Monaco, then tell her what you really want is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Wow — the guy’s like something straight out of The Pick-Up Artist! [Forbes]
Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, in town to promote his book, says his feelings are hurt from being slagged by Bourdain: “You rate someone [like Mr. Bourdain] and then they think you’re a bit of a pussy. It’s not very inspiring.” [Globe and Mail]
Swiss Restaurant Mogul Looks to Become Uppity Burger BaronAmong the high rollers we met at last night’s autism benefit was a good-natured Swiss restaurateur with the formidable name of Dr. Wolf Wagschal. Wagschal was being shown around by our old pal Drew Nieporent, and we found ourselves chatting up the good doctor about his plans. It appears that Wagschal has it in mind to create a gourmet, high-end, white-tablecloth restaurant devoted entirely to hamburgers. “It won’t be like you have here, with your bacon cheeseburgers and so on,” he tells us. “We will have a cordon bleu burger, a vitello tonnato burger, a mushroom-and-Brie burger, and so on. And it won’t be like the DB burger either; it will be totally dedicated.” Wagschal wants the restaurant, which he plans to open first in Switzerland and then in New York, to have the atmosphere of Tribeca Grill. And who can blame him? But unless he serves one of our bacon cheeseburgers, we won’t be going there. Vitello tonnato!
Back of the House
Batali, Bastianich Dip From the Same Cookie Jar for Different CandidatesAfter Nino Selimaj was ordered to take down his photo of Chelsea Clinton at Osso Buco (it’s still hanging), we got to wondering where other restaurateurs fall on the political spectrum. All we had to do was run some names through the Huffington Post’s FundRace 2008 search engine to find out, for starters, that Mario Batali gave $1,000 to John Edwards while his business partner Joe Bastianich gave $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani (this could get ugly). So who are other restaurant honchos like Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer, Siro Maccioni, et al backing?
The New York Diet
Drew Nieporent Hardly Ever Eats Like a Restaurant Mogul
Let’s say you were the city’s most famous restaurateur, the man who more or less invented Tribeca, and still owned three or four of the city’s most popular restaurants in Tribeca Grill and the three Nobu restaurants, not to mention Mai House and Centrico. Let’s say you were also seriously overweight. What would having complete command of four restaurants within one block of your office — not to mention the red carpet at every other restaurant in town and an essentially bottomless food budget — do to you? Drew Nieporent used his resources to go on the ultimate New York diet and lost 70 pounds in the process.
Noise Police Harden Their Hearts for Mr. Softee; Trans-Fat-Free Fryer OilMr. Softee vendor busted for noise pollution: “I am aware of the law, but I need to play [the jingle].” [NYT]
DiFara’s Dom De Marco bows to the Health Department, but he ain’t happy about it. [TONY]
Steakhouse offers a “cut specifically for women,” but Nina Lalli ain’t having it. [VV]
Drew Nieporent tells Baird Jones, with pickle breath, that he’s lost 50 pounds in 100 days. [NYDN]
Twinkies Now Stuffed With Bananas; Lower Eastpacking District Now OnlineReporter files 500 words on the new banana Twinkie. [NYDN]
Talbot loses to Hall again in cooking contest. The real winners here: the women of New York. [NYDN]
The Spotted Pig’s DOH record is not exactly spotless — it’s accused of “vermin harborage,” and not just on weekend bridge-and-tunnel nights. [NYP]
De Niro may be choosing his L.A. partner Sciandri over his N.Y. partner Nieporent as partner in new hotel — turf war! [NYDN]
Vice creates a Virtual Lower Eastpacking District, uniting Internet dorks and party animals. [Gawker]
Andrew Carmellini Stands Up for the BeardsThe Beard Foundation is taking a battering these days; even on the eve of its big night, its finances are being questioned, and foodies and cooks left and right have had a field day abusing them on the Web. And let’s not forget the huge embezzling scandal that engulfed the organization a couple of years ago. But there’s at least one chef who will speak up for the awards: Andrew Carmellini of A Voce.
Liebrandt and Nieporent, Sitting in a Tree…
The impending collaboration between Drew Nieporent and Paul Liebrandt, whether at Montrachet or elsewhere, is probably the worst-kept secret in the restaurant business. But the hirsute restaurateur isn’t slowing down the rumor mill any with his latest high jinx. At a party at Mai House earlier this week, Nieporent was showing people candid pictures of Liebrandt that he had taken with his cell-phone camera. We followed up with the Montrachet mogul, and he insists that “it was just tongue in cheek, because of the way you people have been going on about Paul and I.” Well, that’s fine – but how did pictures of Paul Liebrandt fishing get into Drew Nieporent’s phone? Either there’s a serious man crush going on, or the two are about to do a restaurant together. (Or both.)
Earlier: Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?
Liebrandt (Sort of) Linked to Montrachet; First Pulitzer for a Food CriticL.A. Weekly’s Jonathan Gold is the first food writer to win a Pulitzer Prize in criticism. (Links to some of his recent reviews included.) [L.A. Weekly]
Work is going on at Montrachet, and owner Drew Nieporent is seen in public with brilliant unemployed chef Paul Liebrandt, lending some possible credence to the rumored Liebrandt-helmed relaunch of the place. [Eater]
Yeah, there’s some good food to be had in London, but the city’s still not there yet. [NYT]
Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM]
Back of the House
Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?The details aren’t yet clear, but it seems that one way or another, Paul Liebrandt will soon be leading a restaurant in New York. (Snack asserts that it will be Montrachet, but Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten tells us that it will be a new venture with Drew Nieporent; the two are searching for a space.) Add to that the launch of Sam Mason’s Tailor, the buzz around Jordan Kahn’s work at Varietal, and the mainstreaming of tropes like foams, and it looks like molecular gastronomy will have another shot with New York diners.
Paul Liebrandt Back in Play; Rat Chief Vows to Exterminate the BrutesThe city’s rat-patrol chief vows that “the rats will not win.” [NYT]
In Vogue, Jeffrey Steingarten reveals that New York’s top unemployed chef, Paul Liebrandt, is doing a restaurant with Drew Nieporent. Snack asserts it’s Montrachet. [Snack]
Amusing slam of Bruni’s Robert’s Steakhouse review from conservative mainstay National Review. Need we say more? [National Review Online]
KFC–Taco Bell Inspector Suspended; Whole Foods Ain’t What It Used toCity suspends the rookie health inspector that passed KFC–Taco Bell, promises to teach its inspectors how to recognize rodent infestation. [NYP]
Whole Foods has gotten bigger but not better, losing focus on food quality and its moral mission. [NYT]
Here’s a pretty detailed retelling of the Chodorow saga, sympathetic to the restaurateur, but also giving the critics their say. Drew Nieporent speaks on behalf of the hapless restaurant owners. [NYS]
Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately
The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street]
In the Magazine
Platt and Nieporent Meet Again; Anna Nicole’s Refrigerator SpeaksThis week’s magazine spans the world of food, from Anna Nicole’s refrigerator to Drew Neiporent’s latest big-box feeding hall, reviewed this week by Adam Platt. Rob and Robin write about one of the most buzzed-about openings of the season, and Gael Greene checks out Sam DeMarco’s Fireside. And to round it out, we take stock of what, if anything, the skinny types consumed during Fashion Week.
Food Kept From Drew Nieporent; Fellow Diners Fear for LivesYou would think that Drew Nieporent, as one of the most famous and influential of New York restaurateurs (not to mention one of the most recognizable) would be able to get decent service at a good Manhattan restaurant. You can see where we’re headed with this: Yesterday at the Cafe at Country, the jolly mogul was made to wait … and wait … and wait for his meal. “This is my worst nightmare, that this would happen in one of my own restaurants,” Nieporent said. Find out the full story at Daily Intel.
Celebrity Restaurateurs: They Get Slow Service Just Like Us! [Daily Intel]
Back of the House
Restaurant Sues Critic and Wins; A Study of Pizza for PesosGood news for Jeffrey Chodorow: A restaurant owner in Ireland has successfully sued a critic’s publication for giving him a bad review. [BBC]
A Texas pizzeria riled anti-immigration types with a pesos-for-pizza stunt. This subsequent essay is part marketing communications, part sociology. [NYT]
Fun interview with Drew Nieporent. Question: Is his favorite low-end restaurant really the random Benito’s II in Little Italy? [NYT]
Back of the House
Big Brother at Nobu; Greek Cuisine Slammed; Mmm, SquirrelAstoria isn’t primarily Greek anymore, says William Grimes, and that’s okay with him: “Greek cuisine does not, even at its best, ascend to great heights.” Say what? [NYT]
Sake is becoming more and more popular, even though Americans can’t read the labels. This super-informative feature even includes a sake glossary. [NYDN]
Problem diners get registered at Drew Nieporent’s restaurants: “‘Let’s just say you came to [Nobu] and you were a disaster — you complained about everything, whatever. You know, your name’s in the computer.’” Not only that, he’s been accused of shorting workers on overtime. [NYP]
Back of the House
Wall Street Loves Agribiz; Did the ‘Times’ Dig for Dirt on a HaplessDid the Times send a private eye after a chef sued them for having suggested he was a druggie? [NYP]
Restaurant Week is the “Woodstock of the culinary world,” a wondrous opportunity that no one should let slip by. So says Drew Nieporent’s brother, anyway. [NYDN]
Wall Street investors are stampeding each other to invest in agribusiness commodities. And that is making some corn and cattle producers very, very nervous. [NYT]
Back of the House
Mario Slammed for His Crocs; Zagat’s Dinner Prices a Crock?Plenty of new chefs and openings to report, but the real hubbub is over the persistence of Batali’s orange shoes and a certain skinny red book.
• Per the Flo chart, Boulud opens a wine bar, Tourondel opens a burger joint, and Neiporent teams up with Bao 111’s Michael Huyn for a Vietnamese venture. [NYT]
• Batali wears the Crocs for a movie premiere and our friends the Fug Girls declare him “the poster child for this crime against global retinas.” Meanwhile Radar reports he dishwashes his 30 pairs. [Chow]
• New chefs attempt to breathe life into Gilt (Chris Lee; lobster sliders), Thor (Kevin Pomplun; oxtail fettuccini), and tapas bar Marbella (Fernando Echeverri, squid-stuffed chorizo). [Strong Buzz]
• Zagat drops, and Jennifer Leuzzi asks the usual chefs how they feel about landing the usual spots. [NYS]
• Meanwhile, Steve Cuozzo complains that Tim and Nina are still lowballing meal costs, which have climbed 14.5 percent at top spots: “Many figures given as the ‘average estimate of the price of a dinner with one drink and tip’ at specific restaurants still seem more like cheapest-case scenarios than averages.” [NYP]
• Finally, last call for the chipotle-gorgonzola-black-bean-lasagne at Williamsburg’s eatery-cum-screening-room Monkey Town. [Eater]