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From left to right: Elizabeth Freer, Emma Louth, Jean-Francois Daigle, Sophie Gayot, Marco BahenaFrom left to right: Elizabeth Freer, Emma Louth, Jean-Francois Daigle, Sophie Gayot, Marco Bahena

From left to right: Elizabeth Freer, Emma Louth, Jean-Francois Daigle, Sophie Gayot, Marco Bahena

by Sophie Gayot


Nine young American student chefs and one Canadian squared off this weekend at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., during the 9th edition of the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition.


As I was judging the two challenges, along with twelve other judges, I am happy to announce the five winners, presented by Gail Simmons and Ralph Pagano:
The Overall Winner
Marco Bahena of Kendall College, in Chicago, received a prize of $10,000 and a paid apprenticeship with one of the participating chef judge’s restaurant of his choice;

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »



22

Feb

Dry Creek Kitchen is one of many excellent establishments participating in this year's Sonoma County Restaurant Week

Dry Creek Kitchen is one of many excellent establishments participating in this year's Sonoma County Restaurant Week

by Jeff Hoyt


It’s not all about wine in Sonoma County. They’re holding their 2nd Annual Restaurant Week right now until Sunday, February 27. During this seven-day celebration of Sonoma County’s farm-fresh food, with an emphasis on local ingredients, guests can enjoy three-course dinner menus at $19, $29, or $39, depending on the restaurant. This promotion includes appetizer, entrée, and dessert; tips, beverages, and tax are not included in pricing.


Each participating restaurant will offer their own unique menu and select restaurants will feature a bottle of — you guessed it — Sonoma County wine. Reservations are strongly recommended. Selections include Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park, Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar in Sonoma, and many, many more. Visit www.sonomacountyrestaurantweek.org for additional details.


Keep coming back to GAYOT.com for the latest in Napa and Sonoma restaurant reviews and wine events.



Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques restaurant in front of the CNN camera, discussing the dinner she will be serving at the 2011 SAG Awards
Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques restaurant in front of the CNN camera, discussing the dinner she will be serving at the 2011 SAG Awards

by: Sophie Gayot


Chef Suzanne Goin was the star yesterday at her restaurant Lucques in West Hollywood. More than fifteen television stations fought to get her to describe the menu that she will be serving at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, January 30th, at the Shrine Exposition Center for the A-list guests.


Ingredients for her antipasto plates include a whopping 150 pounds of Parmesan, 175 lemons, 1,900 dates, 8 pounds of Feta, 400 shallots, 4 gallons of yogurt, 120 pounds of salmon, and 140 pounds of lamb. I got to try four of her creations (see photos below), which was great because I unfortunately will not be attending the event. They were quite refreshing. There’s no movie magic needed to liven up Goin’s cooking!



Ria's plush dining room will host a boutique wine dinner showcasing its new menu. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Parinejad.)

by Jennifer Olvera


You’ve got to love a place that’s been open mere months and closes for a mini-facelift, New York-based culinary research and menu revamp, all the while riding on rave reviews. But that’s Ria for you. Celebrate its reopening early on January 22 with a luxurious wine dinner highlighting six boutique California producers: Failla Wines, Anomaly Vineyards, Realm Cellars, D.R. Stevens, Chase Family Cellars and Fischer Vineyards.


The event kicks off at 4 p.m. in the Elysian hotel’s grand ballroom with passed hors d’oeuvres and an informal wine tasting. Come 6 p.m., the soirée moves into Ria’s dining room for a six-course meal comprised of dishes from the yet-to-be-unveiled winter menu and, naturally, more specialty sips. Producers will be seated among diners and will elaborate on pours between courses and stay to talk post-dessert with those so inclined.


Participants for the tasting only may reserve advance tickets for $50, while the entire evening costs $250 per person, in addition to tax and service. Ria, 11 E. Walton St., 3rd Fl., 312-880-4400.


Keep coming back to GAYOT.com for the latest Chicago Restaurant News, Restaurant Reviews, Culinary Events and Chicago Wine Dinners.



Cibo Matto is one of many Chicago restaurants rolling out the red carpet for New Year's Eve. (Photo courtesy of theWit Hotel.)

by Jennifer Olvera


It’s official: the holidays are here. The year is coming to an end. And many people are hoping like nobody’s business for a festive break from the norm. Relief has arrived in the form of celebratory dinners and gatherings throughout Chicago.


Take avec, for example. Despite never taking reservations, it’s not only taking them for New Year’s Eve but also serving patrons in $50 fixed price fashion (with wine for $25 more). Call for menu details and to secure your table. Meanwhile, Cibo Matto is saying “sayonara” to 2010 from 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. with a modern Italian, four-course spread featuring the likes of saffron pappardelle; Sicilian escarole salad with eggplant-ricotta involtini, walnut pesto and apple saba; and goat cheese gnocchi with oxtail ragu, toasted pistachios and pomegranate syrup ($99 per person). Over at One sixtyblue, there’s a lavish, five-course tasting menu replacing its regular offerings — think house-made saffron linguine with Parmesan and shaved white Alba truffles or wood-grilled beef tenderloin with crispy potato noodles and Périgord black truffle sauce. This luxury will set you back $95, plus another $45 when paired with wine.

Continue reading “Chicago Ushers in 2011 With Festive Food” »



Raising the Bar #4

on November 01st, 2010
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01

Nov

From left to right: Christopher Hennessy, Comme Ca general manager; Yassmin Sarmadi, Church & State owner; Tim Loden, Comme Ca mixologist; Sophie Gayot; Charlotte Cramer, BOA mixologist; Claudia Smith, Joe’s Restaurant; Hector Bury, Joe’s Restaurant mixologist, Victoria Recano,  TV personality; Dave Ferney, Church & State mixologist; Michael Cardenas, BOA owner.

From left to right: Christopher Hennessy, Comme Ca general manager; Yassmin Sarmadi, Church & State owner; Tim Loden, Comme Ca mixologist; Sophie Gayot; Charlotte Cramer, BOA mixologist; Claudia Smith, Joe’s Restaurant; Hector Bury, Joe’s Restaurant mixologist, Victoria Recano, TV personality; Dave Ferney, Church & State mixologist; Michael Cardenas, BOA owner.

by Sophie Gayot


Join me at Church & State on Sunday, November 7th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the fourth edition of the cocktail competition Raising the Bar. Along with Church & State owner Yassmin Sarmadi, chef/owner of Joe’s Restaurant and Bar Pintxo Joe Miller, Comme Ca General Manager Christopher Hennessy, and newcomer The Raymond Restaurant General Manager Chris Mangandi, I will be judging cocktails created on the spot.


Four mixologists, Mat Greis (Church & State), Jennifer Zerboni (Joe’s Restaurant), Eugene Shaw or Tim Loden (Comme Ca) and Lacey Murillo (The Raymond Restaurant) will have to create three different cocktails: a classic, another made with Starr African Rum, and one freestyle. Audience members will also enjoy a choice of special menus from chef Jeremy Berlin. Ask for details, including pricing, when making your reservation at 213-405-1434. Continue reading “Raising the Bar #4” »



Soccer Fever

on June 11th, 2010
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11

Jun

Egidio Arevalo Rios and Mauricio Victorino of Uruguay challenge Franck Ribery of France

Egidio Arevalo Rios and Mauricio Victorino of Uruguay challenge Franck Ribery of France

 by Sophie Gayot  

   

America is not very versed in the game of soccer, but every four years, a pandemic sweeps the globe. Americans cannot really understand the effervescence that the rest of the world is experiencing. As I’m writing these lines, the game between France and Paraguay is in full swing in South Africa. From the reports I’m getting from Paris, the streets (and restaurants) have been deserted as everyone is at home watching.  

And, even though I am French, for tomorrow’s match against England: Go USA!  

If you want to be part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup excitement, here are some places to follow the 19th edition of the world’s largest sporting event.   

   

    

Continue reading “Soccer Fever” »



Tennis Uncorked

on May 25th, 2010
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25

May

 

by Sophie Gayot

 

While I am in Paris enjoying escargots, fresh baguette, Camembert, and the glittering Eiffel Tower, I am also following the 2010 Roland Garros tennis tournament on the television channel France Televisions. Hopefully, I will have time to go see the players compete at the stadium, between my visits to Parisian restaurants.

 

If you are in the U.S., you can do the same by tuning your television to the Tennis Channel or TV5 Monde. In New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Washngton, D.C. and Chicago, we have selected a few French restaurants, bistros, brasseries and cafés that will bring true French tastes to your palate. Enjoy the games and the food!

 

Go to our Restaurant News, Restaurant Events, and Restaurant Search pages to find out what is happening in the culinary world from your city to Paris!



Raising the Bar #3

on March 11th, 2010
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11

Mar

The contestants and the judges (from left to right): Judge Nicholas Liberato/Comme Ca, Shana Street/Church & State, Victoria Recano, Sophie Gayot, Tim Loden/Comme Ca, Judge Yassmin Sarmadi/Church & State, Hector Bury/Joe’s, Judge Joe Miller/Joe’s
The contestants and the judges from Raising the Bar #2 (from left to right): Judge Nicholas Liberato/Comme Ca, Shana Street/Church & State, Victoria Recano, Sophie Gayot, Tim Loden/Comme Ca, Judge Yassmin Sarmadi/Church & State, Hector Bury/Joe’s, Judge Joe Miller/Joe’s

by Sophie Gayot

Join me at BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica on Sunday, March 14th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., for the third edition of Raising the Bar, a cocktail competition created by Joe Miller of Joe’s restaurant in Venice that is free to attend.

 

Continue reading “Raising the Bar #3” »



The winners of the 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition

The winners of the 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition

by Sophie Gayot

 

After four hours of tasting yesterday for The Mystery Basket, two hours today for The Signature Dish, and one hour of voting and deliberation, the results are in for the 2010 S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition.

 

Many of S.Pellegrino’s representatives, including President & CEO Stefano Agostini, made the trip to Napa Valley for the finals, not only to congratulate the winners but also to see how to extend to competition worldwide.

 

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »



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