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The Soul is Cool

on March 14th, 2009
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14

Mar

 

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

 By Alain Gayot

It’s quite cool to hit Miami Beach during Spring Break. You’ll find lots of energy up and down Collins Avenue, in the emerging Design District, and on quaint Brickell Key. It’s even more cool if you do it in a totally new automobile: in this case the thought out of the box Kia Soul.  This value-packed automobile hits showrooms anytime now. It offers a bunch of interior space, a great-sounding Infinity audio system with speakers that light up to the beat of the music, integrated iPod operation, and enough horsepower to haul four jovial beach-goers and their ice chest and other equipment. Best part is, its price, starting at $13,995 with a smiling in your face front-end, a boxy body and a fifth door for easy access. Kia marketing peeps assure us, it’s truly a new way to roll. Our Alien Sand colored tester with glow in the dark Soul logo laden seats turned as many heads as the almost has-been glamorous Lamborghinis in South Beach.

 

Continue reading “The Soul is Cool” »



Rock and Roll Wine

on March 12th, 2009
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12

Mar

Record Wine Label from Rock and Roll CellarsBy Jeff Hoyt

What is the official beverage of rock and roll? Some might answer beer in general (and Rolling Rock in particular), or Jack Daniel’s, but wine seems to be making inroads. I just enjoyed a Vintage Rock Wine Dinner, the first wine dinner presented at the new Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, part of the bustling L.A. Live project across from the Staples Center. I started with a not-overly sweet Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar Riesling Central Coast 2005, which paired well with shrimp in blue cheese sauce. The wine is actually one of seventeen so far made by the Fleetwood Mac  drummer. The 2005 Doobie Red, a Bordeaux blend which accompanied my filet mignon, isn’t made by one of the Doobie Brothers, but by the band’s longtime manager Bruce Cohn. 

And that’s not all. I’m looking forward to trying new offerings from Rock And Roll Cellars, including puns on album names like “Meet the Pinots” and “Exile on Vine Street.” To find out more about which rockers make wine and which just license their names, read Wine-ing Celebrities.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon



Judges Gail Simmons from Bravo's Top Chef and chef Michel Richard with Sophie Gayot

Judges Gail Simmons from Bravo's Top Chef and chef Michel Richard with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Well I told you I would keep you posted of what happened during the 7th “Almost Famous Chef” competition by Nestlé Waters North America under the Acqua Panna that took place in St. Helena, California on March 7th and 8th 2009.

Below are pictures of the “Signature Dish” competition, held on the second day, with the ten contestants prepping in the kitchen and showing us their creations before we judged them. With just a sous chef from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, they had just four hours to cook two hundred plated tasting portions. to help

I was a judge along with eighteen others, including chef Michel Richard from Citronelle, and Gail Simmons, a regular judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. Hundreds of guests also got to taste and vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

  Continue reading “2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition” »



Sophie Gayot judging along with Michel Richard, Gail Simmons
Sophie Gayot judging along with Michel Richard, Gail Simmons, Michael  White, Nick Stellino (visible on the picture)

 

by Sophie Gayot

If you have been following the

2009 Almost Famous Chef competition

by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Nestlé Waters North America

I am happy to present you  the dishes that  the ten contestants made from the Mystery Basket, which took place on March 8th as the first part of the contest. I was a judge along with eighteen others.

See the winners of the competition on the awards page. Continue reading “The Competitors with their Mystery Basket” »



And The Winners Are…

on March 08th, 2009
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08

Mar

The winners of the Almost Famous Chef 2009 competition

The winners of the Almost Famous Chef 2009 competition

by Sophie Gayot

 

The winners of the seventh edition of Nestlé Waters North America “Almost Famous Chef” competition under the S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands have just been announced. After preparing their signature dish, the ten contestants served it to the nineteen judges, including me. Two hours later, the results were in, and were combined with yesterday’s “Mystery Basket” results to produce an overall winner.

 

They are:

- “Overall Winner”: David Awad, from Connecticut Culinary Institute

- “Mystery Basket”; David Awad, from Connecticut Culinary Institute

- “Signature Dish”: Kendra Orng, from International Culinary School at The Art Institute California, Los Angeles

- “People’s Choice”: Joe Branton, Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College.

 

Congratulations to the three winners!

  Continue reading “And The Winners Are…” »



The Mystery Basket

on March 07th, 2009
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07

Mar

 

Chef Michel Richard, contestant Daniel Agregard & Sophie Gayot

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

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

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” »



Tom Colicchio, Sophie Gayot, Matt Accarrino & André Gayot

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.”

Craft on Urbanspoon



04

Mar

Ferran Adrià of elBulli

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?” »



Eric Frechon & Sophie Gayot already celebrating his top GAYOT's rating

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!

 



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