Celebrating the 2012 Oscar Winners

Sophie Gayot sabraging a bottle of Champagne on the bow of Serene, Yury Scheffler's yacht
Sophie Gayot sabraging a bottle of Champagne on the bow of Serene, Yury Scheffler’s yacht

by Sophie Gayot

Yesterday was Oscar day. Even though, the biggest night in Hollywood had not yet started, I decided to celebrate the winners while cruising on the Pacific Ocean.

There was only one way to do it for me: sabraging a bottle of Champagne with a backdrop that was worthy of the stars walking the red carpet. Yury Scheffler, the Russian vodka tycoon (Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, among others), made it easy for me: his 134-meter (440-foot) yacht, Serene, was anchored in Santa Monica Bay.

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When Judges Meet & Eat

Randy Jackson with Sophie Gayot
Randy Jackson with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

I was not the only one dining at über-chef Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air on a recent visit (luckily for the restaurant). The multi-talented Randy Jackson, who has been a judge on American Idol since 2002 — longer than anyone else — was sitting next to me. I had dined with him before, and know he is a gourmet, so I was not surprised to see him there. As we know, he is a tough judge — nice and fair, but tough…

My judging of the dinner: very good California cuisine, with precise execution, that grants the restaurant a GAYOT.com rating of 16 out 20. Here is the explanation of the GAYOT.com rating system.

For more about Hotel Bel-Air, read my October blog post, which I wrote after touring the hotel a few days before it opened.

Toys for Tots at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari with Marines & Sophie Gayot
Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari with Marines & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

To celebrate the start of the holiday season, the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills invited some 300 guests last night. The reception was actually a very good excuse to collect toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The foundation then distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children. The Marines left with more than 500 presents!

Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari is behind this good cause. He started getting involved with the Marines’ organization sixteen years ago, when he was at the Newport Beach Four Seasons, and then brought it with him when he moved to the Los Angeles location eight years ago.

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Thanksgiving on a LA Rooftop

by Sophie Gayot

For your culinary delight, we have compiled a list of restaurants serving a Thanksgiving menu throughout America, and even in Paris & London. If you happen to be in Los Angeles — 1.78 million passengers are expected at LAX this Thanksgivi​ng, a 16 per cent increase over last year — and want to immerse yourself in the LA food scene, may I recommend you spend your holiday at chef Eric Greenspan’s new restaurant The Roof on Wilshire.

Starting at 4 p.m. until 11 p.m., for $29 (yes, only $ 29!), diners will enjoy an appetizer (salad of celery root, pomegranate, carrot or sunchoke soup); turkey, of course (with rosemary mashed potatoes, green beans with mushrooms, crispy onions, cranberry dijon chutney and pumpernickel stuffing); and dessert (pumpkin bread pudding). To discover the restaurant, watch our exclusive video with Iron Chef America-winner Greenspan, who also co-hosts the A&E show “Fix This Kitchen.” For more information, read our just published review of the restaurant.

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Hunting for a Chef on Food Network

by Sophie Gayot

The Food Network needs no introduction, of course, but have you heard about their new show “Chef Hunter”? Hosted by culinary recruiter Carrie McCully, “Chef Hunter” is a docu-reality series that takes you behind the scenes of running a restaurant, beyond just cooking the food. In the six episodes, chefs compete head-to-head for coveted executive chef positions at restaurants all over the country.

Watch our exclusive video interview with McCully to learn more about the show, and tune in to the next episodes. For information about the airing dates, click here.

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