Of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. selected, six of them did not appear on last year’s list, and one of those, Menton, is gracing the list for the very first time. Five that made Top 40 lists in earlier years are making a comeback: Frasca Food & Wine, The Herbfarm, Coi, The Inn at Little Washington and TRU. That means that six from last year’s list did not make the cut: Charlie Trotter’s, Thomas Henkelmann, Arrows Restaurant, The Restaurant at Meadowood, The Dining Room (in San Francisco), and L’Escalier.
Due to our human condition, eating is an undisputable necessity, a possible pleasure, a subject of sciences (plural), and a topic of reflection. Rising above our basic mammalian status, the Escoffiers and the like succeeded in making eating a pleasure. However, not much has changed since the Stone Age when we knocked out aurochs with bludgeons, dug for roots with a flint, collected grains in the tundra and picked wild apples. As you may recall, the latter eventually generated a serious issue when Adam and Eve were ordered to promptly evacuate Paradise for this misconduct.
Madridfusión: it’s where food trends come to life. Celebrating its tenth year, the recent gathering — held at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos — featured three chef-filled days replete with presentations, mad scientist-worthy cooking demos and interviews with food industry vets. Add to that the upper-level booths, proffering food, wine and cooking-related miscellania. It all occurs in tandem with Gastrofestival, a two-week extravaganza offering special food-based programming citywide at Madrid’s tapas restaurants, museums, markets and shops.
Those feeling particularly posh opted to stay at the palatial Hotel Ritz Madrid, where gracious service gives way to views of Retiro Park. But those in search of an edgier experience chose the architecturally driven — if off-the-beaten-path — Hotel Silken Puerta America Madrid. Its 13 floors, each designed in wildly creative fashion by a different architect, have a trippy feel and plenty of curb appeal.
Last week, Hermès Beverly Hills stayed open late to welcome guests to support The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Not only were we plied with Champagne, but Bouchon Beverly Hills executive chef Rory Herrmann satisfied our appetites with delicious canapés, including gruyère cheese gougères with truffle Mornay sauce; fresh & smoked salmon rillettes on toasted crouton; and my favorite, the “BLT” (house cured bacon, arugula purée and black winter truffle on toasted pain de campagne). Herrmann was cooking in the dark, outside in the parking lot behind the store, yet he nevertheless managed to deliver the quality we expected.
Chef Thomas Keller is the president of The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. I think the best way to explain what the organization is all about, is to listen to the speech he gave that evening. Lucky for you that we proudly have the only video copy.
After twelve years of being the chef in his own restaurant, Josiah Citrin of Mélisse in Santa Monica has just published his first cookbook: In Pursuit of Excellence. Watch our exclusive video interview with Citrin to learn more about the book from the chef himself.