Last Monday, September 26, 2011, traffic was impossible in West Hollywood, California, as President Obama was holding a private fundraising campaign dinner at Fig & Olive restaurant on Melrose Place. I was not able to attend the $17,900 per person event, as I was on a plane flying from Paris to Los Angeles.
So last night, I decided to go there for dinner with the president… not Obama, but Laurent Halasz, the president of the Fig & Olive restaurants! I wanted to know all of the details of the evening of the 26th, which had became national news. I kept trying, but basically got nothing besides the fact that all went very well and that Obama was very courteous. After dinner, I headed into the kitchen, smiled at the chef de cuisine Mitchel Ramos, and got a happy face as the only form of response.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas recently hosted the inaugural All-Star Cochon, bringing together leading chefs, butchers and 14 different heritage breed pigs for the best of all things pork. A snout-to-tail menu was prepared by the chefs, which showcased over forty unique pork dishes like proscuitto cotto tremazzini and braised pork & peanut soup. The event also featured cured meats, a butchery demonstration, craft brews, cocktails and a variety of pig-infused desserts such as the bacon-in-the-batter waffles, bacon cotton candy and pork belly + pineapple tarte tatin.Continue reading “Celebrating All Things Pork” »
Gastronomy is a very significant part of French culture, but it’s even more important today than ever before. For the first time, on September 23, 2011, the country is holding a national day dedicated to gastronomy. Frédéric Lefèbvre, French Secretary of State for Trade, SMEs, Services, Tourism, the Professions and Consumption, created La Fête de la Gastronomie to celebrate the rich diversity of the French gastronomic tradition. Each year, the Fête de la Gastronomie will be based on a theme. For 2011, it is “the Earth.”
All over the country, restaurateurs, chefs, caterers, producers, government agencies, and amateurs will showcase French cooking, French produce, and the art of entertaining à la Française. As I am writing these lines, there are over 4,400 scheduled events — and there are sure to be impromptu ones as well, such as chefs coming out of their kitchens to cook in the streets. The objective is to bring people together and inspire them to get cooking.
This past weekend, the 6th Festival International de la Gastronomie was held in Mougins, France. Over eighty chefs from all over the world made the trip to the south of France to showcase their cuisine during Les Etoiles de Mougins. The highlight of the three days was Sunday’s chef competition.
During the first step, five chefs were selected from a list of seventy: Francis Ogé (a cook in the kitchen at the Elysée Palace), Filipo Fiorentini (Arnolfo restaurant, Italy), Nelson Da Silva (Le Loom, Seignosse), Jessica Largey (sous-chef at David Kinch’s Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.) and Olivier Jean (Le Métropole, Monte-Carlo). They had two hours to prepare a “foie gras cuit servi chaud avec une garniture libre autour de la courge butternut” (warm cooked foie gras with butternut squash based garnish). To make it harder, at the last minute, the jury introduced a mystery ingredient: lentils. Continue reading “Les Espoirs de Mougins 2011: The Winner, Le Gagnant” »