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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).
by Sophie Gayot
Red O is currently the hot place to see and be seen in Los Angeles. It’s celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ first restaurant outside of Chicago. There he operates Frontera Grill which has become a mecca for food lovers in the Windy City, and next-door neighbor Topolobampo, which some rate as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. I cannot say all these good things about his restaurant on Melrose.
Last night, I headed to Red O for dinner, and tried 25 (yes, twenty-five) dishes plus two desserts. I had a rather disappointing meal, especially since I had high expectations. The best dish of all was the pescado Zarandeado, a wood-grilled striped bass basted with red chili and served with three salsas, Veracruz-style white rice with sweet plantains and arugula salad. On the other side of the scale, avoid the creamy goat cheese cheesecake accompanied by Mexican “root beer” sauce and caramel popcorn.
by Sophie Gayot
What happens when ladies go to lunch together, especially if some of them are French? Chances are they will be talking about food, and how to stay thin.
This is what happened to me when Mireille Guiliano, the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” was in Los Angeles to present her new book, “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.” The book is, of course, a logical sequel to the first one. Guiliano tested all the recipes: 150 new ones and eight classics from the first book.
By Sophie Gayot
What better way to experience a cookbook than to cook with the author himself? Since it is summer and we all enjoy the outdoors, celebrity chef Curtis Stone put on his apron last week to show us some of his barbecue recipes.
From his latest release, Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, we enjoyed the baby-back ribs. I am sure it was due to the barbecue sauce, both sweet and sour (page 192); it was so good I used the leftover the next day on chicken, and vegetables. Stone suggested seasoning lobster with a white sauce, lemon and parsley before putting it on the grill (page 183).
For a light, sweet finish, he had prepared lemon curd tarts topped with fresh raspberries (page 250). He likes to tell the story that lemon curd is one of the first things his mum taught him to make.
Jacques Torres, aka Mr. Chocolate, got help from a few of his fellow chef friends while in town to celebrate the release of his third book. “A Year in Chocolate” is all about chocolate recipes for holidays and special occasions, including eighty ultimate creations for all chocolate lovers. The event was held at his wife’s store Madame Chocolat in Beverly Hills, a dream shop for many of us.
Just as we were taking the photo with Jacques his wife Hasty, and chefs Denis Depoitre (The Dining Room), Bruno Lopez, Sylvain Rivet (Amuse Bouche), Remi Lauvand and Guy Gabriele (Café Pierre), restaurateur and interior designer Barbara Lazaroff (Spago) walked in and suddenly made the picture much better!
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