Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






Singer Margo Rey

Singer Margo Rey will be performing at The Blvd on May 18th 2012

by Sophie Gayot

The next GAYOT Dinner Series will be a musical one. Join me at THEBlvd, at the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, on May 18th.

The dinner is priced at $185, and will be well worth it. The evening will start at 7 p.m. with a red carpet entrance. The meal includes a Champagne toast and a special Black Grouse cocktail to finish the soirée. Don’t worry, you will not have to change seats during the four-course dinner prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Gilles Azur. The entertainment will come to you! At 9:30 p.m., singer Margo Rey will perform her songs in the dining room.

To purchase tickets, go to Pricing doesn’t include tax and gratuity. I hope to see you there!

2012 James Beard Foundation Awards

2012 James Beard Foundation Awards

25 Years of Food at its Best

by Alain Gayot and David Farley

The first week of May is often dominated by thoughts of where to go for the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month. Or about summer travel, in general. For foodies, though, it’s about one thing: the James Beard Awards. As per usual, the awards took place this week at Lincoln Center and were a glorious gala of the country’s best of the best in the food industry.

Chefs and attendees flew in from across the country, but the home team did very well. New York was well represented in the winner’s circle with Eleven Madison Park’s chef, Daniel Humm, taking the cake, or, rather the top award for Best Chef while Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi took home honors for Rising Chef. In the Best Chef NYC category, Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony was the big winner. Other Big Apple restaurants and individuals that received awards included Terroir’s Paul Grieco for Outstanding Beer, Wine, and Spirits Professional and La Grenouille for Outstanding Service.

Continue reading “2012 James Beard Foundation Awards” »



Red wine weekend

Red wine weekend

by Barb Rybicki

Where can you attempt to get five dozen passport stamps in a single weekend with no jet lag? Passport to Dry Creek Valley, of course. Now in its 23rd year, the sold-out annual wine and food tasting event, held the last weekend of April in Northern Sonoma County, California, once again offered visitors a spectacular whirlwind tour of one of California’s loveliest wine appellations.

The “Zinfamous” region celebrates a century of Zinfandel growing, often by multi-generational families. Boutique, small production wineries lie just around a bend from renowned cult producers. The weekend open house allows eager passport holders to sample the remarkable variety of nuanced conglomerations of grapes, terroir and individual winemaking philosophy.

Continue reading “Passport to Dry Creek Valley” »

A room at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City

A room at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City

The Legendary Waldorf Astoria Brand Makes Plans to Travel the World

There are few hotels in the world more iconic than The Waldorf=Astoria. A Manhattan institution, it is said to be the first hotel to have offered room service, it’s the birthplace of the Waldorf salad, and Marilyn Monroe famously lived in its sumptuous digs for months. Under its parent company, Hilton, the Waldorf Astoria brand is making plans for an aggressive expansion that will bring its signature style to major cities around the globe. Continue reading “Waldorf Astoria Brand Continues Worldwide Expansion – Travel News” »



Sophie Gayot with the chefs

From left to right: Joe Panarello, Kevin Meehan, Shigefumi Tachibe, Paul Shoemaker, Calvin Holladay, Mirko Paderno (front), Sophie Gayot, Collin Crannell (front), Larry Nicola, Jeremy Berlin, Jean Francois Meteigner

by Sophie Gayot

Once again, I have been honored by being asked to serve as the Honorary Chair of the annual Flavors Culinary Gala of the Los Angeles Division of the American Liver Foundation. The sixth edition of the fundraiser will be held on May 20th at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and a silent auction, followed by a sit-down dinner. The worthwhile gathering will also be the tenth Dinner Series.

This culinary event is unique, as the chefs are actually cooking right in front of you at a table of only ten guests. It’s like enjoying your own private chef for the evening. You can ask them all the questions that you want, learn a few tricks and get some recipes, all while supporting a true cause.

Continue reading “Tenth GAYOT Dinner Series” »

Emily Ford - Ethan Ford - Sophie Gayot - Ben Ford

2012 Cochon 555 winner chef Ben Ford, his wife Emily, his son Ethan with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

UPDATE 5/06/12 : The winner is Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. See photos of the event in the gallery below.

Once again, I enjoyed judging the competition!

On May 6, five top LA chefs will each prepare a 175-pound, heritage-breed hog from head to toe for a friendly competition called Cochon 555. This ten-city touring event is the only culinary competition of its kind in the country and will help family farms sustain and expand their businesses. Competing in the LA stop will be Neal Fraser, Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar), Micah Wexler (Mezze) and last year’s winner, Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza). To support the event and its worthy cause, I will be there with other local judges to determine a winner based on presentation, utilization and overall best flavor.
Continue reading “2012 Cochon 555 Competition in Los Angeles” »

by Sophie Gayot

Want to learn about oysters, the “merroir,” and how to open them? My words would not be as good as those of Maître Écailler Christophe Happillon. So just watch my exclusive video interview with him and enjoy his charming French accent from Marseille.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, visit Happillon’s website to find out where you can taste his oysters. Happillon can also come to the comfort of your own home for parties.

Continue reading “An Oyster Lesson with Christophe Happillon” »

Susan Irby - Sophie Gayot - Denice Fladeboe Mock - Steve Valentine

In the studios of KABC-AM Los Angeles: Susan Irby, The Bikni Chef. Sophie Gayot, Denice Fladeboe Mock, Steve Valentine

by Sophie Gayot

On Saturday, April 22nd, 2012, I was invited by The Bikini Chef Susan Irby to appear on her weekly radio show Bikini Lifestyle that airs in Los Angeles on AM 790 KABC. Irby and her co-hosts Denice Fladeboe Mock and Steve Valentine kept trying to make me reveal the name of my favorite restaurant. Only one other person knows the answer: my son Alexandre who was also in the studio. But he cannot tell, as I have sworn him to secrecy!

Instead, we discussed the restaurants and chefs which made the GAYOT 2012 Restaurant Issue which include:
Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S
U.S. Best Restaurateur of the Year
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. – great places that opened recently
5 Rising Chefs – American chefs 30 and under who are making their mark
Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S. – which chefs serve the best steak?
Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in the U.S. – appearing in the Restaurant Issue for the very first time
Top 10 Insider Picks in the U.S. – reveals where to dine for a taste of local flavor, good food and good times.

Continue reading “Talking about GAYOT 2012 Restaurant Issue with The Bikini Chef” »

The Victorian-era Leadenhall Market, one of the Harry Potter filming locations on the tour

The Victorian-era Leadenhall Market, one of the Harry Potter filming locations on the tour

The Rubens at the Palace Welcomes Harry Potter Fans

The Harry Potter film series may have finished in 2011, but that doesn’t mean fans need to put their wands into storage. With The Rubens at the Palace’s Harry Potter Experience, the magic continues as fellow wizards (and their families) discover many of the landmark London sites featured on the big screen.

The Harry Potter Experience begins after a hearty complimentary breakfast, when a black cab with a qualified driver picks you up at the hotel, not far from the Ministry of Magic. You’ll then enjoy an amazing three-hour guided tour of the London locations used in all eight films, including ‘Platform 9 ¾’, Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron and the Victorian Leadenhall Market. You can also check out Gringotts Wizarding Bank and follow the route of the Knight Bus before discovering that Brockdale Bridge is in one piece and that you can walk across it.

Continue reading “The Rubens at the Palace Harry Potter Experience – Travel Special” »

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