Herbalist Brittany Nickerson teaches people about the health attributes of herbs and how to use them in cooking in her workshops at Thyme Herbal. She also offers a three-year Herbal Apprentice Program, teaches at the University of Massachusetts and is author of The Everyday Living Series for your home. We’re all about trying to simplify and create a healthier home.
In “The Herbalist’s Kitchen,” Brittany explains kitchen medicine and categorizes herbs by sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter and their health benefits. The book’s recipes are separated into seasons, and there are also some easy recipes to make your own lavender skin scrub and rosemary hair rinse.
What is the recipe for becoming a successful food entrepreneur, and in what direction is food innovation heading? We discuss August 23 with Sarah Masoni, who manages the Product & Process Development Team working at the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University,
I met Sarah at this summer’s Fancy Food Show in New York presented by the Specialty Food Association. I was intrigued by her EXCITE talk on innovation and what makes a food entrepreneur and checked out the products from OSU entrepreneurs displayed at the show’s “LevelUP” Future of Food exhibit.
Whether it’s food made from sea byproducts, sourced from the ground, or re-purposed from food waste, Sarah and her team help nurture entrepreneurs and drive innovation. What may be coming out of Oregon could be hitting the food shelves and our plates down the road.
Listen to Sarah Masoni on The Connected Table LIVE! on iHeart.com here:
Recently we spent five days on the East End of Long Island visiting friends. Luckily for us the visit coincided with The James Beard Foundation‘s 27th annual Chefs & Champagne July 29 which featured more than 35 chefs from New York City and Long Island. We had not attended Chefs & Champagne for several years and were surprised at how large the event has become with more than 1,000 attendees under the large tent erected on Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. The tent looked like the top of the Baked Alaska we recently tasted at The Breakers Palm Beach.
Marcus Samuelsson was this year’s honoree which made us happy since he is one of the kindest chefs we know. In addition to being owner of Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and Streetbird Rotisserie, Marcus is a cofounder with Herb Karlitz of the annual Harlem EatUp! which is a love letter to his neighborhood. Whenever I see him, Marcus always smiles and inquires about my mother asking “How’s the Purple Lady?” I warn him that she’s going to tap him to cook at one of her charity events in Chattanooga some day and he will experience true Tennessee style hospitality!
Events like these rely on the generosity of its sponsored. In particular we want to give a shout out to Roman Roth at Wolffer Estate Family Vineyard as venue host. JBF President Susan Ungaro and Roman presented the 2017 Christian Wolffer Scholarship, named after the winery’s late founder, to Jordan Werner, a student at International Culinary Center (ICC)’s Intensive Sommelier Course.
Thanks to the generosity of Champagne Barons de Rothschild we were well satiated with their Rosé and Brut, and we look forward to scheduling a visit with Philippe Sereys de Rothschild soon to discuss the estate on The Connected Table LIVE!
Others sponsors included: Audi, Alfredo Prodotti, Big Green Egg, Brewery Ommegang, FreshDirect + FoodKick, Gokokuya, Hamptons.com, Hamptons Magazine, KAMUT®, Melissa’s® Produce, Neuman’s Kitchen Events & Catering, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, Saratoga Sparkling Eater, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Ver’Terra Dinnerware, Windstar Cruises and WVVH.
Chefs & Champagne raised over $100,000 to support The James Beard Foundation’s scholarship, education and JBF Impact Programs. The timing for the event was perfect preparation for our visit with Susan Ungaro August 9, 2pm EST, on The Connected Table LIVE (W4CY Radio/www.W4CY.com). During Susan’s 11-year tenure she has initiated programs to align with mission of JBF and its commitment to education, philanthropy and advocacy, and in the process raised its profile beyond the JBF Awards and special events. These include initiatives such as The annual JBF Food Summit, the JBF Leadership Awards and the Women in Culinary Leadership Program.
I’ve been fascinated with grand hotels ever since my father took me to New York when I was five to visit Eloise at The Plaza. The front desk told us she was with her Nanny in Central Park. Eloise mailed me a thank you postcard for stopping by. A girl with manners!
One of the items on my travel “bucket list” is to visit many of the grand dame hotels around the world. While staying with David’s mother in Florida last week we spent the day at The Breakers Palm Beach and hosted our show at the hotel. Our guest was Nick Velardo, VP of Food & Beverage, who oversees the resort’s nine restaurants. We dined at two of them, The Seafood Bar and HMF restaurant and cocktail lounge.
It was my “Eloise” moment, and the day did not disappoint. It was easy to say “Hello” to this Grand Dame and hard to say “Good Bye.” An interesting tidbit: The Breakers is still family-owned, and the heirs of Henry Flagler invest about $30 million annually to keep the property fresh and fabulous.
We were in Palm Beach during the off season, but you wouldn’t know it at The Breakers. The July 4th holiday brought families, couples and loyal fans, and the the hotel was bustling. Still, the team made time and accommocations for our last minute plans to visit.
Nick Velardo and his team, including Master Sommelier and Wine Director Virginia Phillip, have their work cut out for them. The Breakers is a place where guests’ expectations are high, and the crowd comes hungry. That’s why The Breakers sells annually:
621,087 pieces of sushi /sushi rolls
11,757 stone crab claws
1,365 pounds of caviar
and 27,200 slices of Key lime pie.
Here is the iHeart link to our July 5th show with Nick Velardo, VP of Food & Beverage at The Breakers Palm Beach and Stanislas Thierry, VP of Sales & Marketing for Vranken-Pommery America, who shares the legacy of Louise Pommery who is credited for creating the Brut Champagne style. (LINK)
Many people have a wake-up call after experiencing a health setback. The call came to Chef Jean- Christian Jury after experiencing heart failure, not once but twice. Jean-Christian attributes his poor health to his erratic eating habits and relentless 16- hour day work schedule combined with the stress of running several restaurants and kitchens in London at the time.
He heeded the call and changed his diet to plant based. In 2007, he opened his first vegan restaurant in Berlin, Mano Verde. Today, he’s based in Los Angeles and teaches vegan cooking around the world. His comprehensive new book, “Vegan The Cookbook,” (Phaidon) is filled with more than 150 plant based recipes from around the world. If you buy one book on vegan home cooking, this one is it.
We share a pet peeve with Matt Moore: We get annoyed when people refer to a summer cookout or grilling as a “barbecue” or “barbecuing.” It’s like calling Prosecco “Champagne.” It’s not the same.
Barbecue is a sacred tradition in the Southern states. Like real Coca-Cola, pimiento cheese and biscuits, we don’t like poor knock-offs or misuse of the word. In other words Don’t screw with the ‘cue.
In his book, “The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection,” Matt says, “Southern BBQ is its own religion. And to experience it is akin to hearing the Gospel for the first time.” And if you’re still not convinced of the religious fervor for true barbecue know there’s another new book out on this subject called “Praise the Lard” by Mike and Amy Mills.
In the South’s Best Butts, Matt heads out to interview pitmasters throughout the Barbecue Belt for tips on making true ‘cue. Each pit stop is a story of humble people working with a humble product: a pig. The barbecue mother sauces vary by region as may the method of cooking and the spiced rub, but the pig remains the common denominator. This is a book acheterdufrance.com about butts and the people who expertly cook them low and slow.
Barbecue loyalists: Tune in May 31, 2pmEST to hear from Matt Moore on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY.Podcast to iHeart.com.
It had been awhile since either of had spent much time in Sonoma Valley, so we felt lucky to add three nights for a visit following our stay at Meadowood in St. Helena for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Where Napa feels gentrified and sophisticated, Sonoma feels bucolic and achaten-suisse.com laid back. It’s like comparing cashmere to fleece; they both feel great and will keep you warm outside, and you want both for different reasons.
The first two nights were spent at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley tasting wines, exploring the expansive estate and enjoying a quiet dinner with Lisa Mattson and her husband, Damon, at BarnDiva in nearby Healdsburg. Lisa was a guest on The Connected Table LIVE! to talk about her book, “The Exes in My Glass.” We met proprietor John Jordan whom we learned has a thing for “Star Wars” movies. Jordan specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and does both well.
Another night took us to The Shed Cafe, a restaurant located in a cookware shop and bakery. Most of the food is locally sourced within 10 miles of Healdsburg. We suggest checking out the four- course tasting menu for $58 with a $25 wine pairing option. Address: 25 North Street, Healdsburg. 707-431-7433 www.healdsburgshed.com
Our final night was spent at Valette whose chef-owner, Dustin Valette visited with us on The Connected Table LIVE March 8th. Dustin began his restaurant career at the age of thirteen washing dishes at Catelli’s in his hometown of Geyserville. A Culinary Institute of America grad, he worked at several top restaurants to fine tune his skills, most recently spending six years as Executive Chef of Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Healdsburg. With his brother and fellow restaurant worker, Aaron Garzini, Dustin hatched a plan to open Valette in a building which housed his great grandfather’s bakery. The two brothers opened Valette in 2015 spotlighting their deep passion and dedication to Sonoma Country and its food and wine purveyors and producers.
The restaurant is hopping! We dined there the night of the “Oscars.” David noshed on Dustin’s house made charcuterie and Coriander Crusted Liberty Duck Breast with tart pickled cherries and dick + foie grad torchon. Little Miss Healthy Me enjoyed a vegetarian “beet Wellington” described on the menu as Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote with preserved lemon, farro risotto, baby carrots and Laura Chenel goat cheese and Hawaiian Ahi Poke.
Give This Gal a Forklift!
Katie Madigan, is winemaker at St. Francis Winery. Like many women winemakers I’ve interviewed, Katie started out planning on another career path not realizing the great opportunities for women in wine. She was a chemistry major intent on going into the pharma business. She took an internship as a lab technician at St. Francis in 2003 to pass the time and never left.
Now 14 years later Katie is in charge of making St. Francis’s award winning wines. She says she’s most proud of making great wines widely available for everyone to enjoy. I asked Katie for career tips for aspiring women winemakers. She says: 1. get your experience working in the cellar, 2. learn to run a pump and forklift 3. be ready to get your hands dirty 4. be confident on your palate and 5. be very patient. Careers in wine, like the wine itself, can take time to mature.
While we did not make it to St. Francis Winery in Santa Rosa, we are very familiar with the wines. David has written about St. Francis Winery for Tasting Panel Magazine, and many years ago my former PR firm, M Young Communications, produced St, Francis’s Big Red chef events in New York and Los Angeles. You can arrange a visit, and we hope to next trip. www.stfranciswine.com
Here is our show with Chef Dustin Valette and Winemaker Katie Madigan on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.
City of stars
Just one thing everybody wants
There in the bars
And through the smokescreen of the crowded restaurants
– Lyrics from “La La Land”
My last big trip to La La Land involved supplying George Duboeuf Poully-Fuisse to P Diddy’s Fourth of July White Party in Beverly Hills in 2009. White wine for a white party hosted by a hip hop/rap music mogul. It was hotter than Hades, and there was no shade for the wine bars or gift bags. P Diddy may be a music impressario, but his stiletto-shod, mini-dress clad event production team didn’t have a tent or proper refrigeration for the wines which suffered in the heat. I worked like a crazy person to salvage the wine and to nab this “money shot” for Duboeuf. “Diddy” refused to be photographed holding any alcohol other than his Ciroc Vodka. Still, this photo made them happy,
City of (Restaurant) Stars
Even though Los Angeles is filled with talented chefs and restaurateurs, it’s a New Yorker, Bobby Flay, who’s the first chef to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We haven’t visited Los Angeles for awhile (since the crazy Diddy-do), so it was nice to run into Piero Selvaggio at VINO 2017 and invite him on the show. Piero is a polished Gucci loafer in a sea of sand-crusted flip flops. I like to say Los Angeles is Silicone Valley, where fat is OK for the lips but not for the hips. But back to Piero….
Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio is trim, tan and permanently youthful looking. He has that healthy La La Land glow which New York restaurateurs never seem to have. Maybe it’s the sun and surf; maybe it’s not dealing with the headaches of onerous New York landlords. Or maybe it’s his Sicilian heritage and being brought up on a Mediterranean diet. Piero is one of those amazing restaurateurs who’ve endured economic ups and downs, changes in trends and tastes and even an earthquake which destroyed his award winning wine cellar. And he still looks like a star!
Piero opened his Santa Monica restaurant, Valentino, after graduating in college in 1972. I was still in high school; “Italian food” meant Pasquale’s Pizza parlor and Chef Boyardee in Chattanooga. That was 45 years ago!
I can’t imagine how many Valentine’s Day marriage proposals, wedding anniversaries, or movie deals have been celebrated at Valentino over 45 years. Valentino has won just about every award that matters, especially in wine and service. It is a star among restaurants in the City of Stars.
When we scheduled Piero for our February 15th show he said to me in an email, “We are…the old warriors of the Industry…” No, Piero, we are the enduring ones whose lights are constant and never dim, and who always remain fabulous!
A Corner of Italy- Nobile Di Montepulciano’s Avignonesi
That same summer of Diddy took me (with David) to Tuscany and the Veneto for the Trip of a Lifetime: two weeks touring four wine regions, all for work on a project called Italian Wine Masters which we launched in the USA.
During that trip I discovered and fell in love with Nobile di Montepulciano wines. I remember our visit to Avignonesi and its owner, a gracious woman who hosted us, Virginie Saverys. I ran into Virginie last Fall at the StarChefs International Chefs Congress, and we caught up after so many years.
A lawyer by profession who was born in Ghent, Belgium, Virginie invested in Avignonesi in 20017 and acquired the winery in full in 2009 after retiring from practicing law. Virginie is a strong believer in organic products and homeopathic medicine and has worked to convert the winery to sustainable farming methods. Today, Avignonesi comprised of eight vineyards within the Montepulciano region.
Here’s our show with Virginie Saverys and Piero Selvaggio:
When it comes to passion, the Italians are brimming with it. Oh, the French are incredibly romantic, and the Greeks will tell you they created passion (as well as comedy, tragedy and democracy). But Italian passione just seems to overflow with abbondanza.
So, it’s been a pleasure to indulge our passion for Italian wine which has been flowing steadily since January starting with Benvenuto Brunello and continuing this week with VINO2017 and Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri. David heads to Tuscany for the annual Anteprima while I spend Valentine’s Day solo with perhaps a plate of pasta with parmigiano, a little red wine and my Maltese dog Sazerac.
We’re passionate about Italian white truffles, creamy burrata with fresh tomatoes, nutty parmigiano on anything and especially shaved over roasted Italian vegetables served with branzino poached in olive oil and lemon. David loves pici. I like gnocchi. We both love the diversity of wines and never cease to stop exploring and trying regions and producers we are less familiar with. Most recently is was Le Marche with this interview with Emiliano Bernardi of Colonnara Winery on The Connected Table SIPS.
Continuing the Italian wine trail, our February 15 will begin with Virginia Saverys of Avignonesi Winery and continue with a guest from Anteprima.
David talks about his career in wine and his passion for Italian wine on The Connected Table LIVE! February 8.
“Vino Italiano”, co-authored by Joe Bastianich and David Lynch, is one of our go- to reference books for Italian wines. We’ve known David for years, from his days as Senior Editor for Wine & Spirits Magazine to his incarnation as a sought after sommelier at restaurants like Babbo in New York City and Quince in San Francisco. We’ve enjoyed reading his articles in magazines like Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and GQ. We didn’t have the chance to check out his wine tavern, St. Vincent, and were excited to read recently that he’s become editorial director at the e-commerce site, SommSelect.
On February 6, David moderated a panel at VINO 2017 on Trends and Opportunities in the US Market for Italian Wines. Some of the information revealed from a survey of wine consumers under age 40 on why they choose wine was not terribly surprising. More reinforcing. This infographic depicts what comes to mind when this group achaten-suisse.com thinks of Italian wine.
After a career preparing dishes to die for at restaurants like Abe & Arthur’s, Brasserie and Capitale, and working for Starr Restaurant Group and Grand Hospitality, Chef Franklin Becker needed to make changes to save his own life. Diagnosed at age 27 with type 2 diabetes, Franklin realized he had to change his diet. Around the same time Franklin’s oldest son was diagnosed with autism and celiac disease. Franklin wanted to cook foods that would help his son with his food sensitivities.
Changing his diet also changed Franklin’s life. He is committed to spreading the word about healthy cooking and enjoying it!
Like anyone who loves food and makes a living preparing it, you never want to sacrifice the pleasures of the palate and great quality and flavor. Franklin’s mission is to pack his healthy recipes with as much flavor without the calories and added sugars and fat. Speaking of fat; Franklin has a lot to say on this topic and wrote a book with Peter Kaminsky called “Good Fat Cooking,” which he will discuss on our show. Franklin is also author of “Eat & Beat Diabetes,” and “The Diabetic Chef.”
Franklin is also proprietor of the healthy prepared foods company, Hungry Root, which offers fresh, vegetable-based foods that are packed with protein and fiber and ready-to-eat in under seven minutes.
“I Don’t Want a Restaurant Where a Jazz Band Can’t Come Marching Through.”- Ella Brennan
Many of you know we have love affair with the City New Orleans and its very special way of life. Well, no one embodies cialisfrance24.com “New Orleans Living” more than Miss Ella Brennan, matriarch of the Brennan family. And no one defines New Orleans hospitality like a Brennan. The Brennan family truly is America’s dining dynasty. If you’ve never seen this 2014 Silver Spoon Award feature on the Brennan family in the late Food Arts Magazine, here is a link.
Miss Ella turned 91 this month. There’s a new book and a new documentary film out about her life called “Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace.” It’s a great read with a frank, sometimes funny and very poignant voice featuring Miss Ella, her co author and daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, sister Dottie and various Brennan siblings and cousins, as well as food industry luminaries like Danny Meyer, Jeremiah Tower, Emeril Lagasse and Tim and Nina Zagat sharing stories. Ti said it took some convincing to get Ella to write the book! Trust us! It’s a love letter to New Orleans with lesson on what sharing and giving true hospitality really means.
Both Miss Ella and Ti Adelaide Martin, joined us December 7 for a delightful and spirited visit. Listen at this this link or click below.
What is it about food history and culture that keeps us craving more? Recently, I visited the National Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington,DC, to experience its first major exhibition on food history – “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.” I enjoyed my visit so much I went back for a second helping two days later.
First, there’s Julia’s Child’s kitchen which is like a shrine. Then there are the focused exhibits touching on historic milestones and the changing landscape of what we eat and drink in post World War II America. So much to digest!
Food Historian and Museum Curator Paula Johnson, who serves as Project Director and Co-Creator of this fascinating exhibition, and shares her insights on how food shapes our culture November 23 on The Connected Table LIVE! W4cyRadio