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The Mystery Basket

on March 07th, 2009
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07

Mar

  • pinitbutton The Mystery Basket

 

sophiegayotmichelrichard 300x255 The Mystery Basket

Chef Michel Richard, contestant Daniel Agregard & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Today in St. Helena, California, the first part of the Nestlé Waters North America “Almost Famous Chef” competition under the S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands took place at The Culinary Institute of America Greystone. Ten contestants had two hours to prepare a dish with the same set of ingredients, which  they were given in a “Mystery Basket”. This year, it was composed of sturgeon, bacon, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, bay leaf and trumpet mushrooms.
I was a judge, as well as eighteen others, in the seventh edition of this top culinary event. And, yes, I had to go through ten versions and interpretations of “Mystery Basket” dishes. They were all very different. There was a cleat winner, but I can’t announce it until tomorrow.
UPDATE – SUNDAY MARCH 8TH: The results are in.

See the opening party of Friday March 7th.

You can see the dishes all the competitors on a dedicated page.

Continue reading “The Mystery Basket” »



06

Mar

  • pinitbutton New Talent Soon in the Kitchen
sophiegayotharolddieterle 215x300 New Talent Soon in the Kitchen

Harold Dieterle & Sophie Gayot at the opening ceremony of the Almost Famous Chef competition

by Sophie Gayot

 

Seven years ago to celebrate food, Nestlé Waters North America, under its brands S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, created a culinary competition in order find the best new young chef. The “Almost Famous Chef” competition was immediate a success. The seventh edition has just begun tonight in Yountville, California, and I am on the judging panel.

 

The ten finalists, from various culinary schools from the United States and Canada, were presented to the judges by Harold Dieterle, winner of the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef and chef/owner of Perilla in New York. During the next two days, the young chefs will have to prepare different dishes to determine the winner who will be announced on Sunday. Come back tomorrow, as I will keep you posted on the progress.

JUST IN! Sunday, March 8th: Find out who are the winners.

Read all about part 1 of the competition, The Mystery Basket, that took place Saturday March 7th.

Continue reading “New Talent Soon in the Kitchen” »



  • pinitbutton Century City Welcomes a New Restaurant
sophiegayottomcolichio 300x225 Century City Welcomes a New Restaurant

Tom Colicchio, Sophie Gayot, Matt Accarrino & André Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

To keep people enjoying their cuisine, chef Tom Colicchio and chef de cuisine Matt Accarrino have opened Craftbar within Craft restaurant in Los Angeles. We sat in the front lounge last night to sample some of the “small plates,” priced at $9 and under (after all, we are all at the same table with the current economic situation).

There are so many on the menu we couldn’t try all of them. But rest assured that they are all good and fun. We invented “Nouvelle Cuisine” in the ’70s; it looks like we now need to introduce “Fun Cuisine.”

minilogo Century City Welcomes a New Restaurant



04

Mar

  • pinitbutton The End of Culinary Alchemy?
ferranadria1 The End of Culinary Alchemy?

Ferran Adrià of elBulli

 

A recent health scare at the world-renowned Fat Duck in England has forced the prestigious restaurant to shut its doors. Owner Heston Blumenthal, referred to as a “culinary alchemist” issued the closure when over 40 customers reported cases of illness after having dined at his establishment. These events have caused quite a stir in the culinary world, as many are now questioning the safety of molecular gastronomy – a cooking technique that relies heavily on chemicals that are intended to “deconstruct” the ingredients and transform the flavor and presentation of dishes. One of the most famous molecular gastronomists, Spanish-born Ferran Adrià (named best chef in the world by British publication Restaurant Magazine), implements similar techniques at his restaurant elBulli and has stood firm ground in support of cooking with chemicals.

Continue reading “The End of Culinary Alchemy?” »



  • pinitbutton Hey, Michelin, it is about Time for Frechon!

sophiegayotericfrechon 189x300 Hey, Michelin, it is about Time for Frechon!

Eric Frechon & Sophie Gayot already celebrating his high GAYOT rating

by Sophie Gayot

 

We were happy but not surprised to see executive chef Eric Frechon has finally earned his third Michelin star at his Paris restaurant Le Bristol, as we have raved about his culinary skills for years. Le Bristol, located in Hôtel Le Bristol, is one of just three dozen top restaurants in the world that we have rated as an 18/20.

While Michelin announced their honor in the 2009 edition of the famous red book that was published yesterday, we first gave our high mark way back in 2005.

Eric also has cooked a special dinner for us at Sylvain Rivet’s Amuse Bouche Fine Dining in Simi Valley (along with Josiah Citrin of Santa Monica’s Mélisse), and his talents are evident on both sides of the Atlantic. Take a bow, Chef!

 



03

Mar

  • pinitbutton A New Bistro in the South Bay
sophiegayotpaulmartin 267x300 A New Bistro in the South Bay

Sophie Gayot in the kitchen with Mark Evensvold

by Sophie Gayot

   Last night, Mark Evensvold was proud to show me his brand new kitchen. Mark is the operating partner at Paul Martin’s American Bistro in El Segundo.

Who is Paul Martin? He is Paul Martin Fleming, the founder of the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar restaurants and the P.F. Chang’s China Bistros.

 

Easy to find on Rosecrans Boulevard, this location, which opened last week on Tuesday, is their second one, the first one being on Roseville, near Sacramento.

minilogo A New Bistro in the South Bay



  • pinitbutton Best Bread in Santa Monica at Huckleberry Café & Bakery
sophiegayotgreatbreadsantamonica 248x300 Best Bread in Santa Monica at Huckleberry Café & Bakery

Josh & Zoe Loeb with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Last week, I heard that the owners of Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen, Josh and Zoe Loeb, had just opened a café and bakery in Santa Monica

Being a fan of Zoe’s rustic pastries, I decided to check out Huckleberry Café & Bakery, and was impressed. Like Rustic Canyon, it features simple décor, somewhat noisy atmosphere, and quality products. Here, you will enjoy good home-style food, including sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken and sweets. It’s worth the drive just for the sourdough country boule alone.

All items are available for takeout. Read more about the place in our restaurant section.

minilogo Best Bread in Santa Monica at Huckleberry Café & Bakery



21

Feb

  • pinitbutton A New Star on Famous Sunset Boulevard
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Demi Moore & Sophie Gayot at the opening of ANdAZ

by Sophie Gayot

 

What a better way to hold a grand opening a few days away from the Oscars when all the stars are in town. The building, where the hotel ANdAZ is located in, has a long history with the City of the Angels and celebrities. It was formerly the Hyatt on Sunset made famous by the memorable parties thrown by rock ‘n’ rollers like Led Zeppelin.

Continue reading “A New Star on Famous Sunset Boulevard” »



  • pinitbutton Secret Venetian Pasta in West Hollywood
sophiegayotstefanoongaro 225x300 Secret Venetian Pasta in West Hollywood

Stefano Ongaro, chef Roberto Franzoni and Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

What happens when two Venetians meet in the kitchen? They cook Venetian specialties. All’ Angelo owner Stefano Ongaro (who has a gorgeous picture of his hometown on his computer background screen) is in heaven since chef Roberto Franzoni has been cooking for him. Listen to the two of them: they are not even speaking Italian, but the dialect from La Serenissima. For years Franzoni was the chef at the legendary Cipriani in Venice, then in New York.

No, I will not reveal the pasta recipe the three of us prepared—the pair refused to write it down for me. It is a longtime family secret. But I can tell you one thing: the only way to know more about this incredible dish is to go to All’ Angelo and discover the beauty of it for yourself!

minilogo Secret Venetian Pasta in West Hollywood



The Smelly Cheese Shop

on February 20th, 2009
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20

Feb

  • pinitbutton The Smelly Cheese Shop
cheeseblog 300x200 The Smelly Cheese Shop

A variety of cheeses from Australia

by Alain Gayot

Going to a food market in any locale gives you a pretty good idea of what’s going on and teaches you a lot about a community and its people. I like to say that every time I head to Paris, as soon as I get off the plane, I head straight for the market. Each time I do that, I am amazed at the plethora of products, even if sometimes the morel mushrooms come from Oregon.

 

After a 23 hour trek from Los Angeles to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, we headed to the Central Market where, amongst an assortment of kangaroo and crocodile meats, local seafood offerings and exotic fruits, we were surprised to discover cheeses. Say what? Yes, cheese of the very best kind, made in various parts of the vast state of South Australia.

Continue reading “The Smelly Cheese Shop” »



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