And the Tablecloths BurnRevolutions don’t happen overnight, so we weren’t shocked that only one of the three Beard Award categories reversed tradition. Still, last night’s ceremony officially ushered in a new era in fine dining.
Tonight’s Beard Awards: a Referendum on Haute Cuisine
Times are changing in the restaurant world – but just how fast? Tonight’s James Beard Awards will help answer the question of whether the traditional tablecloth restaurants, which seem to be on the way out, still wield their old clout in the gastronomic Establishment.
Beard’s Best Chef Nominees Spill Beans
The Beard nominees for New York City’s Best Chef know that there’s more to the award than who makes the best plate of spaghetti. Looking back at previous years in which he was nominated, Picholine’s Terrance Brennan says, “Our customers were always loyal, but because I wasn’t playing the game, we were under the foodie radar. Being friends with the [Beard] committee helps … I imagine if you know some people, your odds are probably better.”
Sam Mason Joins a Molecular Secret SocietyWelcome to the latest installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.
Back of the House
More About That Hunky Sam MasonWe’re not the only ones following Sam Mason’s path to power at Tailor: The April issue of Food Arts has an excellent article on the cocktail program at the restaurant-lounge. (It’s not online, but we’ve scored a PDF.) Given that Mason’s mixologist, Eben Freeman, made his bones alongside the chef at the cutting-edge wd-50, it’s no surprise that the drinks are wild sounding. The magazine gives descriptions and recipes for four of them, including a Lychee Daiquiri With Soy Caramel, a Butternut and Falernum cocktail (“a bit like butternut squash soup –with a kick”), and a Brandy Truffle Flip. With drinks that rich, who’s going to be hungry enough to eat?
Tailor Made [Food Arts]
Related: The Launch
Sam Mason on the Sexiness of Japanese SteelWelcome to the latest installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.
Hark! James Beard Award NominationsAfter much speculation, the 2007 nominees for the James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant world, are in. Adam Platt, Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld, and Grub Street all filled out Beard brackets (or at least revealed whom we’d like to see win) on Friday. Here’s how the academy’s coming down.
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.
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.
Tiptoe Through the Molecules With Me …The phrase “molecular gastronomy” has been thrown around a lot recently, most often in reference to high-tech, high-concept cookery practiced by pointy-haired runner-up Marcel Vigneron on Top Chef. Chow’s currently showing a slideshow that breaks down the art as practiced by one of its greatest masters, Grant Achatz of Chicago restaurant Alinea.
Sam Mason: “It’s Like the Special Olympics”Sam Mason, the former star pastry chef at wd-50, will be launching his own restaurant and lounge, Tailor, at the beginning of March. In the weeks leading up to then, he’ll take us behind the scenes of a hot restaurant opening.
The Kingdom of Navarra Comes to the Borough of ManhattanThe Kingdom of Navarra, as it is fancifully called today, is an autonomous community which is technically a part of Spain and which produces some of the most admired Basque-influenced cookery in the world. We don’t see much of it here in New York, but that will change on Friday, when Navarra Gastronomic Week begins. Classic Navarran dishes like warm partridge and Jabugo ham salad, artichokes fried with tocino (bacon), stuffed piquillo peppers, and a number of Navarran wines and cheeses to go with them will be available at the following restaurants through February 4.
Sam Mason Devises Oddball Combos of Sweet and SavorySam Mason, the former star pastry chef at wd-50, will be launching his own restaurant and lounge, Tailor, at the beginning of March. In the weeks leading up to that, he’ll take us behind the scenes of a hot restaurant opening.
Sam Mason Reckons With GarbageSam Mason, the former star pastry chef at wd-50, will be launching his own restaurant and lounge, Tailor, at the beginning of March. In the weeks leading up to then, he’ll take us behind the scenes of a hot restaurant opening.
What to Eat Tonight
Wacky Desserts by the Pastry All-StarsPastry chefs like Sam Mason (the man who’s sharing the experience of opening a new restaurant with us) are often on the cutting edge of New York cooking these days. The three chefs whose desserts we’re highlighting today all have major reputations. So if you go to wd-50 or Chanterelle tonight, make sure you leave some room. (Presumably that won’t be a problem at Room 4 Dessert.)
More Than Just a Taste of New York
Last night’s A Taste of New York, a major culinary gala presented by New York Magazine at the Puck Building and benefiting City Harvest, was an orgy of food and mirth. Over 30 of the city’s best restaurants, from Alain Ducasse to wd-50, set up tables with a signature dish, and a boisterous crowd of well-heeled foodies circulated around, trying the food and chatting up the chefs.