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SHAREing the Spirit to Help Women with Breast & Ovarian Cancer

More than two dozen of NYC’s leading chefs and pastry chefs and dozens of wines and spirits producers will come together September 17 to help raise money to support women diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer at the 15th annual A Second Helping of Life to benefit SHARE.  Barbara Sibley, La Palapa, is the event ‘s Executive Chef.

SHARE Cancer Support is a non-profit organization of survivors who volunteer to provide helpful peer support to women diagnosed with this life-changing diseases. SHARE also provides educational programs and a hotline. All program are bilingual. This event will take place Monday, September 17, at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Info: www.sharebenefit.org  For information call (212) 937-5581.

 

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What Will You Be Eating in 2019? #TheNextBigBite

Curious what the next food and drinks trends will be for 2019? Why wait until January when everyone is talking about this topic. Get an early forecast at The Next Big Bite, What We Will Cook, Eat, Drink and Crave in 2019in Four One-Act “Bites”  presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY) on Monday, October 1, 5:30-9 p.m. at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway. (link for information and tickets)

 

LDNY has assembled an impressive a lineup of speakers who have their fingers – and palates- on the pulse of the food and beverage industry, from what we drink and eat to how we approach cooking, dining and imbibing. Participants include: Master of Ceremonies, Joe Yonan, and panelists Jacques Pepin, Gesine Bullock-Prado, Dame Carla Hall, Molly Yeh, Lettie Teague, Natalka Burian, Dorie Greenspan and Christina Tosi.

Of course, what is a Les Dames d’Escoffier event without food? A delectable selection of wines and hors d’oeuvres  will be served courtesy of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Brussels Waldorf by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships
Harvest Lobster Rolls by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Founded more than 35 years ago by longtime food editor, Carol Brock, Les Dames d’Escoffier is the premier, invitational, non-profit organization of women leaders dedicated to education, advocacy, and philanthropy-through the support of its partners and members in the food, fine beverage and hospitality industries. One of the organization’s most important missions is to provide scholarship and mentoring to women pursuing careers in food, fine beverage and hospitality. A percentage of the ticket admissions from The Next Big Bite will go to Les Dames ‘d’Escoffier New York’s scholarship program. Info: New York (www.ldny.org) International (www.ldei.org)

Click here to purchase tickets   Share #TheNextBigBite.

This evening is generously sponsored by

Don’t forget to purchase your ticket a snag a seat at #TheNextBigBite.  Click this link

The Connected Table Live is pleased to support The Next Big Bite as a Media Sponsor, and Melanie is proud to serve as a longtime member since 1993 and a past- president in 2012 and 2013.

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Happy 40th Anniversary to Inn at little Washington!

I once spent the right night with the wrong man at the Inn at little Washington in the 1990s. It was oh-so-right because the meal was beyond fabulous; the rooms were decorated down to the littlest detail. Even the stair railings wore pretty sleeves. The big claw-foot bathtub in our room was a sensual experience for a long soak. I was thrilled to be checking off a place I always wanted to visit on my lengthy travel and dining bucket list (thanks to my boyfriend’s credit card).  Too bad “William” passed out after imbibing  copious amounts of wine and Armagnac at our dinner and complained about the cost when we checked out. That’s a Big No No in my Code of Conduct.  We broke up soon after.

A member of Relais & Châteaux the list of awards and accolades both Patrick and Inn at Little Washington have received in 40 years could fill an entire wall, or maybe a room!

Flash forward to 2018. The Inn at little Washington celebrates its 40th year with a series a over-the-top events that guarantee an extraordinary experience for those lucky enough to snag tickets (details at this link). But anyone who stays and dines at Inn at little Washington has won the extraordinary experience lottery.

The Inn at Little Washington is a setting for romance. It’s like listening to a soft sonata after spending a work week amidst the loud percussion of the city. Forty years after opening in a former garage in tiny Washington, Virginia in 1978, Patrick O’Connell keeps a watchful eye over every detail. And that’s why he’s been referred to as “the Pope of American Cuisine.” Not King, but Pope!

Patrick O’Connell, Proprietor and Executive Chef, Inn at Little Washington. He is a self-taught chef who shared in our radio show that he once worked flipping burgers and called it a “great learning experience.”

Patrick’s vision begun 1978 is being celebrated this year as his “magnificent dream.” When we’re talking about Inn at Little Washington, it’s “go big or go home.” On  June 16 he hosted a “garden party” at George Washington’s Mount Vernon which also fêted culinary pioneers from around the world. In September he’s planned two more. Wish we were going but, alas not. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones!

But, honestly, I’ll be happy to settle in for another night (or two)  at the Inn at Little Washington for any occasion to enjoy another fabulous meal and a dreamy stay in one of the Inn’s gorgeous rooms. This time it will be with the Right Man, my husband, David.

 

Patrick told us he actually attended the original Woodstock Festival. We’re trying to envision this well-tailored chef as a hippie. INNStock will be a Day of Peace, Love & Feasting with Fireworks, of course!

September 2: Innstock. It’s not quite three days of peace, love and food. But, the town of Washington will be smoking hot with even more great food and entertainment. This event is a “family reunion” of 20+ alumni chefs of the Inn; each will prepare a signature dish at a two-hour reception that will be followed by a magnificent buffet. The evening will end with fireworks. Pow! https://www.theinnat40.com/innstock

 

Feast like a King! Patrick O’Connell is recreating one of France’s most historic, and decadent, meals at this Chateau.

September 30: For a truly decadent three-day experience, consider the “Spectacular Soirée” which will take place in France at the 17th century Château Vaux le Vicomte, just outside Paris. The inspiration for Versailles, it’s where King Louis XIV (“the Sun King”) hosted a gluttonous 6000-person feast prepared by Chef François Vatel. Only 150 guests will be able to relive this extraordinary experience which includes touring the magnificent gardens over cocktails and dining by candlelight in the grand ballroom with a feast inspired by the actual menu served to Louis XIV. Info & tickets:
https://www.theinnat40.com/chateau-de-vaux-le-vicomte

Listen to our show with Patrick O’Connell here:

 

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Prayers for Our Friends in Napa and Sonoma

We’re heartsick over the devastating fires that are still burning in Napa and Sonoma counties and southern California. So many industry friends have been impacted, and we’re still learning which wineries have been destroyed.  I was just in Calistoga a few weeks ago celebrating at The Harvest Table with the local vintners. Despite the surprise heat wave, everyone was in a happy mood. And now this. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone. If you want to send help for evacuees, Public Relations Pro Kimberly Charles has set up a GoFundMe Page. Here are the link and message from Kimberly:

Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California are undergoing an unprecedented series of fires, over 60 recorded in the last 48 hours.   One of California’s oldest wineries perished last night and several others have been completely lost. The wine community is one of the most giving, generous groups who give to charity constantly, now it’s our turn to help.   We have worked with wineries in California closely for over 30 years and right now have identified a group of shelters in who are accepting evacuees.   They need hard goods, not money -cots, sleeping bags, non perishable foods, hygienic items, kids’ pyjamas.   We are raising money to buy these items and drive them up this week to the distribution center at Mentor Me at the Cavanagh Rec Center which is sheltering 500 evacuees currently. They are networked with 10 other shelters to distribute goods.  We plan on raising funds, buying goods and delivering them right away this week.  Link: https://www.gofundme.com/fire-relief-napa-sonoma-counties

And, if your emotions are as raw as ours from all the bad news, we encourage you to read Lettie Teague‘s October 5th Wall Street Journal article: “How Wine Sustains Us Through Tragedy and Helps Us Reclaim Joy.” Read here: link. 

 

Melanie and David in Napa Valley March 2017. We stand with you.
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Harlem’s Queen of Comfort Food: Melba Wilson

Melba

“The way I see it,” says Melba Wilson, “Soul food is the foundation of American comfort food.”

She’d know. For Melba, a Harlem native, or as she likes to say “I am Harlem born, bred, and buttered,” owns one of  most influential soul food restaurants in New York City’s most exciting dining neighborhood, aptly named Melba’s.

Like many children, she grew up watching her mother and grandomother cook and learned to love food, and soul food, in the process. But, Melba actually went into marketing and sales after school, anything from cosmetics to limo driving, finally entering the restaurant business on a lark when the great Sylvia Woods, Harlem’s Queen of Soul Food and owner of the world famous Sylvia’s, called and asked Melba to spearhead the 25th anniversary of the restaurant.

Melba did such a good job that Sylvia offered her a postion at the restaurant, starting her love affair with the hospitality business and eventually leading to her opening her own place.

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Melba’s, on the corner of 114th St and Frederick Douglas Blvd

Opened in 2005, Melba’s was an almost overnight success, with a family style menu that as Melba likes to say, “blends my Carolina heritage (her family is from South Carolina), with a dash of extra spice, a little urban edge, a taste of the melting pot, and a few ‘dee-lish’ twists.” It’s also been covered regularly in foodie magazines, and Melba even “Beat Bobby Flay” with her fried chicken recipe, now renamed Throwdown Chicken in honor of that accomplishment.

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Fried Chicken and Waffles

 

Comfort Food’s reigning authority, Melba Wilson joins us to talk about her passion and new cookbook Melba’s American Comfort (Atria Books) on The Connected Table LIVE Wednesday May 18th at 2:00pmET.

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#1 seller in biscuits and muffins. Click book cover photo for link to purchase.

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

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Chef Marcus Samuelsson- Pushing Boundaries; Uniting Cultures

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With almost two dozen restaurants scattered throughout the U.S., Bermuda, and across Scandinavia, a handful of cookbooks, and a growing list of media and philanthropic interests, Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s reach in the culinary world crosses multi-cultural boundaries

RR HS by Monika Sziladi

Born in Ethiopia, adopted and raised in Sweden, from an early age Marcus was taught to appreciate and respect food by parents who were driven to instill those values in their children.

“I feel like I’ve been cooking all my life,” he says. “Growing up, my sisters Anna and Linda and I spent summers in Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden. Every morning I went fishing with my dad, Lennart, and my uncles. We caught crayfish, lobsters, and mackerel, and often smoked and preserved the catch. My grandmother, Helga, would gather us in the kitchen to teach us how to pickle fresh vegetables, and make meatballs, ginger snaps, cookies, and apple jam. These experiences taught me to love and appreciate fresh and local food.”