With more than 35 years of diversified experience in TV broadcasting, a background in wine, food, spirits, and craft beer reporting, and a burning passion for food and wine, Emmy award-winning producer and host Dave Eckert’s “Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert” has logged more than 275 episodes to date. Eckert’s extensive knowledge of food, wine, and spirits, and his desire to take viewers to “the source” of indigenous products and personalities around the globe, has made “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert” a huge success.
Recognized twice by the Academy of Wine Communications for his work, Dave has also built a loyal audience for “Culinary Travels,” which currently airs on AWE-TV on cable, and previously ran on Public Broadcasting affiliates across the country along with Direct TV, The Dish Network, and can also be seen in the air on Delta, U.S. Air, and Northwest Airlines.
For the past three years, Dave has also been a regular contributor to Kansas City Chowtown, the food blog for the Kansas City Star. His contributions were part of the blog being awarded second place in a recent national competition for newspaper food blogs. Dave contributes local, regional, national, and international pieces on the people, places, events, and products that make our world such a delicious and diverse place.
We’ll talk with Dave on The Connected Table LIVE! on September 30 at 2:25pm, to discuss his unique take on wine, wine regions, and food. We’ll also get a sneak peek at the 2015 American Royal World Series of BBQ, an event three times the size of Memphis in May, which is taking place in Kansas City Oct 3-4, and at which Dave will be judging.
This is just one of the serendipitous stories in Joanne Weir ‘s new memoir, “Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food.”
I particularly loved this story because Joanne ends up in her tender 20s as a guest at a famous Bordeaux Chateau as a result of mailing the dead fly to the producer. That’s gumption!
I’ve known Joanne for years. We connected annually at The James Beard Awards where her PBS TV series such as “Weir Cooking in the Wine Country” and “Joanne Weir’s Cooking School” were honored. I enjoy visiting her Mexican restaurant Copita in Sausalito, just a short walk from where dear friends, Valerie and David live. Joanne’s the original “Agave Girl” and serves a fabulous selections of tequilas at Copita and a mighty fine margarita.
Joanne’s a fourth generation professional chef who grew up on a farm in Massachusetts. Originally destined for a career in fine arts, she refocused on the art of the table. Joanne trained under the notoriously tough teacher Madeleine Kamman to receive her Master Chef Diploma. She spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse (Alice wrote the forward to Kitchen Gypsy.)
But Joanne’s first love is teaching, and she does it around the world. She’s a true global culinary ambassador, in this case being one of 80 chefs appointed by Hilary Clinton and the State Department in 2012 to promote world relations through food. We’ve always known better decisions are made on a happy and full stomach than an empty one, no matter side of the political table you sit on. – Melanie Young
So reads one of the 13 chapters- and morsels- of kitchen wisdom in Alana Chernila‘s new cookbook, “The Homemade Kitchen.” This is a book whose message is as much about how to approach life at a slow, measured and pleasurable pace as it is about about cooking with the same intentions.
“Start Where You Are.” “Feed Yourself.” “Put Your Hands in the Earth.” “Do the Work.” “Slow Down.” Alana has these phrases and others taped to her refrigerator. I do the same thing on mine with inspirational quotations such as: “Just as the Caterpillar thought the world was coming to an end, she became a butterfly.” “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” This latter quote is the lead in my second book, “Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms.”
Feeding your body also nourishes your soul. The kitchen is both heart and hearth for many home cooks, including Alana. She says, “The process of cooking at home is my window into what I want to create in life as a whole.”
If the kitchen is the heart of her home, her gardens are the arteries. Alana looks to nature for inspiration in the kitchen and shares practical insights to working with and not against it, from honoring the ingredients to utilizing bits and pieces and not being wasteful.
I’m a fan of the section of “The Homemade Kitchen” that address waste and re-purposing different foods, something I am just learning to do in an effort to be more respectful of the fact than we live in a nation of abundance where too many still go hungry.
There are many well-known chefs in television thanks to the proliferation of cooking shows and culinary competitions. But Jacques Pépin, stands in a league of his own.
He’s an Emmy Award and James Beard-winning host of 14 cooking shows series on PBS-TV and is author of dozens of acclaimed books, including his newest, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, (Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Oct 6, 2015).
He teaches on cruise lines, and makes guest appearances at many industry and charitable events, but his teaching “home” is the International Culinary Center (formerly French Culinary Institute) where he serves as Dean of Special Programs.
Jacques has taught and inspired many on the techniques and pleasures of cooking. I swear by his method for cooking omelets. In fact his book, La Technique, is still used today as a textbook for teaching the fundamentals of French cooking and also launched the PBS series and companion DVD”The Complete Pépin”
Born in Bourg-en-Bresse near Lyon, in 1935, Jacques grew up in a restaurant family. His parents, Jeanette and Jean-Victor Pépin, owned the restaurant Le Pélican, where Jacques worked before furthering his training in France at establishments that included the Plaza Athénée. He served as the personal chef to three French heads of state including Charles de Gaulle. In 1959 he came to the U.S. to work at Le Pavillon restaurant. One of the restaurant’s regular customers, Howard Johnson, took notice of Jacques and recruited him to work alongside fellow fellow French Chef Pierre Franey, to develop the food line for his Howard Johnson’s restaurant chain.
Since then, Jacques has gone on to be one of our nation’s- and world’s- most influential and inspiring teachers and chefs. While his toque may stand tall, his kindness has the common touch. You always feel welcome in Jacques’ presence; there are no PR shields or security detail surrounding him. He is approachable. He often travels to events with longtime pal, Jean-Claude Szurdak, or daughter Claudine, who has both co-hosted shows and co-written books with her father, including KQED’s “Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine” (1998) “Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Encore with Claudine “(1998).
Of course some of our most beloved shows are those with his friend, the late Julia Child. The twenty-two episode series, “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home,” was the winner of The James Beard Foundation’s award for Best National Cooking Show — 2001, and the duo received a 2001 Daytime Emmy Award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Julia may be gone but the books and videos remain.
Some of my earliest memories of Jacques are working with The James Beard Foundation. He oversaw the Celebration of French Cooking reception theme for the 1993 James Beard Foundation Awards. Jacques was the consummate perfectionist, calling me frequently to check in and to weigh in on the menu and progress. He was a guest presenter every year of the awards, and many of his books and TV shows have received award medallions. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
When I served as President of Les Dames d’Escoffier New York we honored Jacques at a lavish dinner to fund raise for the organization’s scholarship program for women. Jacques also taught me to saber a bottle of champagne during the Food & Wine Classic years ago.
Jacques is also a talented artist, and his work has graced many special event menus and been donated to raise funds for several worthy causes.
You can also see Jacques’ illustrations in Claudine’s, book “Kids Cook French.” For more on Claudine listen to my June 8th edition of Fearless Fabulous You! here.
While his wall of awards and drawer of medallions mark the milestones of his career, it’s the milestones in his close knit family that matter most to this dedicated husband and father: Claudine’s marriage to Chef Rollie Wesen, the birth of granddaughter Shorey, and the recent 49th wedding anniversary with wife Gloria.
Couples and families alike spent many memorable meals at Capsouto Frères, a gem of a restaurant in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood owned by Jacques Capsouto, his mother, Eva, and his two younger brothers, Albert and Samuel. Opened in the 1980s when Tribeca was still a “fringe” neighborhood, the restaurant survived three decades of New York City’s highs and lows, from Wall Street bull and bear markets and the September 11th terrorist attacks which put Lower Manhattan businesses in a standstill, to the loss of Jacques’ beloved mother and youngest brother, Albert.
Through it all, Jacques stood front and center at events that supported the industry, generously giving his time to various causes from charity dinners, to festive Compagnons du Beaujolais celebrations and Capsouto Frères’ enormously popular Passover Seders.
After Hurricane Sandy demolished Capsouto Frères in 2012, Jacques decided not to rebuild the restaurant. After 32 years as a restaurateur and at the age of 68, he decided to reinvent his life as a full time vintner in Israel.
You can read more about Jacques and his decision to close Capsouto Frères in an article David and I co-wrote for the January 2013 issue of Tasting Panel Magazine on how the industry came together after Hurricane Sandy.
Jacques’ interest in Israel’s growing wine industry was sparked after he attended a family function there in 2004. In 2006 he decided to pursue planting vines in the Holy Land and in 2010 found what he was looking for in Peki’in, an area about 20 miles from the Mediterranean. During that time he traveled back and forth from York, where he was overseeing to his restaurant, to Israel where he tended to his vines.
While most wines in Israel are made from international varietals (e.g., Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc), Jacques looked closer to the Mediterranean to source rootstock from southern France. He selected Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah and Counoise for his reds, and Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussane and Marsanne for the whites. Planting began in 2011. The first harvest started in August 2014.
Working with wine consultant, Jean-Luc Colombo, Jacques has introduced his first vintage. The Jacques Capsouto Vignobles Côtes de Galilée Villages portfolio includes an entry level white and rosé called Cuvée Eva (named after Jacques’ mother), an entry level red called Cuvée Samuel (named after Jacques’ grandfather), a reserve white, Cuvée Albert (named after Jacques’ youngest brother) and a reserve red, Cuvée Marco (named after Jacques’ father). All wines are certified kosher. The U.S. importer is Roadhouse Wines. www.roadhousewines.com
Jacques’ life is a story of love, family, loss, survival and reinvention. The two wines we tasted, Cuvée Eva Rosé and Cuvée Eva White, are expressive and soulful, much like the spirit of their creator.