Bourdain Fends Off Angry Chefs at Batali Dinner
Much was afoot last night here in South Beach, between the evening’s somewhat staid main event, a tribute dinner to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, big after-parties at the chefs-only 212 Access House and Versace Mansion, and a Mario Batali dinner at Danny DeVito’s eponymous South Beach restaurant. There, at close quarters in the kitchen, Batali worked the pasta station; Del Posto and Babbo chefs Mark Ladner and Frank Langello on sauté; Adam Perry Lang cooked immense “103” rib steaks with vast, protruding bones; and Jamie Oliver helped out as needed.
Italian Chefs Just Can’t Agree on How to Make Carbonara
So you think you know spaghetti carbonara? You don’t know spaghetti carbonara. That is the theme of the Italian chef coalition ITChefs – GVCI’s current campaign to educate New Yorkers about the classic dish. TChefs – GVCI’, which stands for Virtual Group of Italian Chefs, is charging four of the city’s top Italian chefs to make it exactly according to the “authentic” recipe for one night. On Thursday, Cesare Casella of Maremma, Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Kevin Garcia of Accademia de Vino, and Ivan Beacco of Borgo Antico, will make the dish according to the master recipe approved by ITChefs – GVCI. Or will they? Like every traditional recipe in every cuisine, “authentic” carbonara changes with every chef that makes it.
Del Posto’s Cruz Goler to Take Over LupaTo everything, turn, turn, turn. And so we turn to Lupa! First, a recap: As we reported last month, owner Jason Denton’s mighty sword tapped the shoulders of Lupa chef Steve Connaughton, who will head Denton’s as-yet unnamed new venture in Gramercy Park. But Lupa’s loyal (er, cultlike) customers can rest easy in the knowledge that though the maestro is leaving in December, he’ll be replaced by a damn safe bet: Cruz Goler. A ten-year Batali veteran, Goler was the right-hand man of Lupa’s original chef, Mark Ladner, and followed the latter to
NYC Chefs: Setaro Pasta Rules!Today marks the tenth anniversary of Chelsea Market, a place we would avoid if there were anyplace else to get Setaro pasta. The supremacy of the Campagnan product, sold only in Buonitalia at the market, is something we never stop hearing about: last night, Kevin Garcia of Accademia del Vino told us, “All the top chefs I know use it — it’s the pasta of choice, the best I’ve ever been able to find.” Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Jonathan Benno at Per Se, and any number of other food luminaries swear by the stuff. But why? Buonitalia co-owner Antonio Magliulo says, “This company, Setaro, is very small. They don’t produce a lot of pasta. And when they dry it, it’s at low temperatures, so it keeps the flavor and texture. The way it cooks, the bite that it keeps — it’s something special.”
Jason Denton Pulls Lupa Chef for New Gramercy Venture Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman osteria on Thompson Street, has a loyal following, so Steve Connaughton’s imminent departure likely won’t affect volume. (The customers barely twitched when former chef Mark Ladner left for Del Posto.) Co-owner Jason Denton says he has moved Connaughton to a new venture at 323 Third Avenue to open in March, but he’s quiet about other details. We hear from an industry source that Connaughton’s replacement will likely come from within the Batali-Bastianich family, if not from within Lupa itself. Who will be the lucky chef?
In the Magazine
A Journey Through the Food Groups, and Thence to Bed
The typical New York diner (to say nothing of the typical New York reader) will generally get around to all the major food groups in the course of a week. There is the fish group, represented this week by Adam Platt’s one-star review of Wild Salmon, and the southern Italian sea bounty of Bar Stuzzichini, Rob and Robin’s lead opening. The meat group is well served by Prime Burger, the Insatiable Critic assures. The vegetable tribe appears courtesy of Mark Ladner’s spring-onion flan in In Season. Finally, after all this eating, all most of us would want is a bed to lie down in, and Rob and Robin provide some tips for that as well.
Back of the House
Time to Fill Out Our James Beard BracketsThe nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant industry, will be announced Monday morning. We’ll report on that as it happens, but for now, here are picks for the main categories from Adam Platt, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, and Josh Ozersky. Our choices are admittedly New York–centric (the awards go to restaurants across the country), but the ceremony is held here, and the city always looms large in the proceedings.
The Underground Gourmet
Batali Helps Devise Insane Feast for Spotted Pig StaffWhen one thinks of the great feast-givers throughout history, one thinks of the medieval dukes, earls, and kings of England. One thinks of Chinese and Roman emperors, the Persians, the Turks, maybe a Fijian cannibal chief or two. Add to this illustrious list of revelers Sir Ken D. Friedman, the owner of West Village gastropub the Spotted Pig. This past Sunday, Friedman threw a belated holiday–Super Bowl party at Del Posto for his 80-person staff, and it was of such Rabelaisian excess that, like an old Woodstock hippie, the restaurateur is having trouble remembering it all.