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Dear Kitchen: Thank You!

on October 22nd, 2010
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22

Oct

  • pinitbutton Dear Kitchen: Thank You!

 

by Sophie Gayot 


Most times I dine at a restaurant, no matter where, I pop into the kitchen at the end of the meal. I do it to say hello, to get a tour, to shoot a video, to compliment the chef, or, on the contrary, tell him or her what did not work. Even if I didn’t enjoy the experience, there is always one thing I do: I have to acknowledge the very hard work that the kitchen team puts together trying to please our palates. They work under lots of pressure, standing up during the entire service, in a noisy environment (due to the air extraction devices), most of the time in artificial light with no fresh air, and under intense heat from the stoves.
 

Continue reading “Dear Kitchen: Thank You!” »



No Foodies in LA, Indeed?

on October 18th, 2010
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18

Oct

  • pinitbutton No Foodies in LA, Indeed?
michelin andre 2 300x225 No Foodies in LA, Indeed?

Is this scallop dish from Providence restaurant not good enough for Michelin?

by André Gayot


Monsieur Jean-Luc Naret, the director of the red Michelin restaurant guide who is leaving his post at the end of the year, is a strongly opinionated person. Based on his brief stints, I presume, in the city of Angels, he affirmed to our colleague John Mariani that people here are not real foodies. He feels that they are not interested in eating well, but rather to look at other people going to restaurants, where they have to go to see them. In a word, they don’t really eat; they only devour the others with their eyes.


We poor Angelenos! As if it were not enough to cope with the earthquakes, the fires, the crises, and the gangs, now we also have to deal with the mediocre content of our plates. One of the tragic consequences of our ignorance is that Michelin will not publish any more restaurant guides for LA. So now, how can we learn how to eat? Sad! Continue reading “No Foodies in LA, Indeed?” »



22

Jun

  • pinitbutton Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas
Chef Pierre Gagnaire 199x300 Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas

Chef Pierre Gagnaire

by Sophie Gayot

 
The first time I met chef Pierre Gagnaire was on a cruise ship crossing from Dakar, Senegal to San Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. A “Croisière Gourmande” had been organized with chefs including Jacques Chibois. Alain Dutournier, Michel Bras, and many more. It must have been some time ago, as I think I was still under the legal drinking age!
 
At the time, I gave Pierre Gagnaire the nickname “The Salvador Dali of Gastronomy,” and it still holds true today. His renderings are creative, dramatic, somewhat crazy, unexpected, phantasmagoric, with a genius touch. But the catch is you either love it or hate it; and always at a high price, just like Dali. A 2005 menu from his eponymous restaurant in Paris I keep in my office offers a perfect illustration: a casserole of chestnuts and topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke), with a crème chocolatée de panais (carrots’ cousin) served with a gâteau de foie blond and truffle, at a staggering € 143!
 


So Long, Sona

on May 11th, 2010
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11

May

  • pinitbutton So Long, Sona
sophiegayotdavidmyerssonarestaurant 300x283 So Long, Sona

Chef de cuisine Kuniko Yagi, pastry chef Ramon Perez, chef David Myers with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

After many months of swirling rumors, David Myers’s fine dining restaurant Sona will be closing its doors after a last service this Saturday, May 15th.

We were impressed with the restaurant from its 2002 opening, and recognized the talents of the then-twenty-eight-year-old chef. At 17/20, it was one of our highest-rated restaurants in Los Angeles, and even made our Top 40 Restaurants in the US list in 2007. Even today, it graces many of our Top 10 lists, including: Top 10 Los Angeles Wine List Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Business Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Food Rating Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Romantic Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles California Restaurants and Top 10 Los Angeles Special Occasion Restaurants.

Continue reading “So Long, Sona” »



28

Apr

  • pinitbutton World’s Best Restaurants
worlds best restaurants 300x266 World’s Best Restaurants

The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants

By Jeff Hoyt

We’re a big fan of S. Pellegrino, both their water and their awards. For the last few years, we’ve helped judge their cooking competition for young chefs. Last year, GAYOT.com was even able to attend the gala night they announced the world’s 50 best restaurants.

We’re glad to note that many of the American selections earning a World’s 50 Best Restaurants Award already graced our choices of top 40 restaurants in the USA, including Daniel, Per Se, The French Laundry, and Alinea. (For more on Alinea, The Aqua Panna Best Restaurant in North America, read André Gayot’s description of his recent meal there.) Around the world, we’ve written extensively on the soon-to-shutter El Bulli in Spain, and reviewed many of the honored restaurants, from The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais in South Africa to Quay in Australia to Iggy’s in Singapore to Biko in Mexico. We have nearly 500 restaurant reviews each in London and Paris, including The Fat Duck, which S. Pellegrino ranked #3 in the world, and Le Chateaubriand, ranked #11. You can view the rest of the winners at: theworlds50best.com.

So keep coming back to GAYOT.com for the latest in restaurant reviews and news worldwide.



  • pinitbutton A Weekend Full of Puerto Rican Flavors
yaira1 300x225 A Weekend Full of Puerto Rican Flavors
Samples of local cuisine

By Yaira Solis Escudero

 

The third annual Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza!, the creative food event, was just held at the famous beach Punta del Escambrón in the The Millenium Park in Old San Juan.

 

Besides having a good time and eating well, the purpose of Saborea is featuring Puerto Rico as an unparalleled culinary destination throughout the Caribbean. The island tourism has been strengthened by the notable growth and development of the gastronomic sector. The event also served to present the new generation of Puerto Rican chefs.

 

 

Continue reading “A Weekend Full of Puerto Rican Flavors” »



L20 the Place to Go

on March 09th, 2010
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09

Mar

  • pinitbutton L20 the Place to Go
14 300x225 L20 the Place to Go

Poire Belle-Hélène: poached pear, pistachio, ginger & chocolate sauce.

By Andre Gayot

 

Hey Laurent, isn’t there a better way to let us know that this is a fish-oriented restaurant — and an excellent one for that matter — than this esoteric acronym of L20? L is for Laurent, we understand, and replaces the H which is half of the chemical symbol of water, H20.

 

But Laurent, you have nothing to do with chemistry except maybe when, with a funny allusion, you mock the molecular cuisine concealing your succulent foie gras under a cloud of sugar candy. Moreover, you make it difficult for the search engines to find this elegant and worthy eatery hidden in the chic Lincoln Park West area of Chicago in the databases of good restaurants, a pity for the uninformed who will miss a memorable dinner in this serene, almost spa-like space filled with Makassar ebony columns, plush couches and white leather chairs. The single onyx two-top has “it table” status written all over it.

 

Continue reading “L20 the Place to Go” »



  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners
sophiegayotalmostfamouschefwinner 300x251 S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

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” »



  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket
hatsup 265x300 S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket
The first part of the competition is over; hats up!

By Sophie Gayot

 

 

Part one of the S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition, held for the eighth time this year, is The Mystery Basket competition. The rules are very strict (there is a full page of them), but the basics are that the eleven contestants have 2 hours to create a dish with the featured ingredients and prepare 10 identical plates to be served to the judges. This year’s mystery ingredients were organic chicken, mushrooms and eggs. The contestants—all chefs in training— had a long list of other produce they were allowed to use, including flavors from the “Asian pantry,” the “Mediterranean pantry” and the “Latin pantry.”

 

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



05

Mar

  • pinitbutton Young Knifes in Competition
sophiegayotspellegrino 245x300 Young Knifes in Competition

S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna ice sculptures

by Sophie Gayot

I am reporting from Yountville, California, in the beautiful Napa Valley, where I am working as one of the judges for the 8th annual S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition. The eleven finalists, winners of regional competitions that included for the first time Italy, Mexico and Puerto Rico, were presented to the judges at tonight’s opening reception. We were able to get a first glimpse at their personalities as we all sipped local wines and enjoyed food from Bardessono, one of our 2010 choices for Top 10 New Restaurants in the country.

 

Tomorrow the real judging begins, as we’ll get to try their cooking. Good luck to the young culinary school students who will express their talent during the weekend of competition. Come back tomorrow for more…



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