GAYOT.com 2011 Top 40 US Restaurants

by André, Alain & Sophie Gayot


GAYOT.com, the internationally renowned guide to dining, hotels, travel and lifestyle, has just published its Annual Restaurant Issue, which includes the highly-anticipated Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list. The 2011 edition also names Chef Michael Mina their U.S. Restaurateur of the Year.

 

 
Of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. selected, 9 of them did not appear on last year’s list, and 3 of those are gracing the list for the very first time. Other lists include:
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. – great places that opened in 2010
Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S. – good choices for the budget-conscious
5 Rising Chefs – American chefs under 30 who are making their mark
Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S. – which celebrity chefs make the best steak?
Top 10 Hotel Restaurants in the U.S. – Only 3 remain from last year
Top 10 Insider Picks in the U.S.published for the first time, reveals where to dine for a taste of local flavor, good food and good times.
The issue also explores the major Culinary Trends for 2011, and includes exclusive video interviews with many of the winners, as the one above with chef Craig Strong from Studio at Montage Laguna Beach.

 

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Avec Eric (Ripert)

by: Sophie Gayot


I was “Avec Eric” in Los Angeles yesterday. For those who don’t know, ‘avec’ is French for ‘with,’ and Eric is chef Eric Ripert. He had left his stoves at Le Bernardin restaurant in New York, a GAYOT.com Top 40 US Restaurants continuously since 2004, so the West Coast could discover his new cookbook Avec Eric, based on his TV show Avec Eric.


Besides 100 easy-to-make-at-home recipes, the cookbook is filled with stories taking place in different parts of the US and countries around the globe. To read the full review of the book, go to the GAYOT.com cookbook section. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Ripert to learn more about him. And, yes, ladies, he is as charming as he is good-looking.


Put on your apron and start cooking Avec Eric!

Le Bernardin on Urbanspoon

My Lunch with John Besh

by: Sophie Gayot


Despite his busy schedule, I had the real pleasure of sitting down and enjoying lunch with John Besh in New Orleans at his fine dining establishment August, which made GAYOT’s 2008 list of the Top 40 US Restaurants. While chef de cuisine Michael Gulotta was preparing the delicate dishes, I was discovering the other side of the pans of chef Besh.


Besh is very concerned by his surroundings, whether it is people, the city of New Orleans or the environment. He uses produce from local farmers and fishermen for all of his restaurants: August, La Provence, Lüke, Domenica, Besh Steak, and The American Sector. That practice supports the local economy, cuts the carbon footprint, and guarantees more organically-grown vegetables. He even has his own vegetable garden in the back of La Provence restaurant, located a few miles away from the city in Lacombe. A native of southern Louisiana, he is consumed with putting the city and the state back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina (traces are still visible after five years) and the oil spill (he was part of the effort of December 1st Dine America’s Night Out for Gulf Seafood).

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Is Spago Beverly Hills Becoming Spago Bel Air?

 
 
 

 

Perhaps you’ve heard the same rumor I have: that that Spago Beverly Hills was going to relocate to the Hotel Bel-Air, which is currently closed for renovations. The rumor makes perfect sense, as the landmark hotel is part of The Dorchester Collection, famous for attracting top chefs. Don’t they have Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris and Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice restaurant (redecorated by Philippe Starck)? And, they could certainly afford it.

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Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas

Chef Pierre Gagnaire
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!