In 2006-2007 David and I spent a blissful pre-wedding-New Years-Birthday-“Bucket List” trip traveling through Botswana and South Africa. It was my first time visiting the African continent, but not the last. In 2012 we went to Morocco to cross “dancing under the stars in the Sahara Desert” off my bucket list.
Our travel bucket list is continually being rearranged and we’re forever dreaming of trips to destinations where the culture, the language, the food and the people are uniquely different and special. One of the places we dream of visiting in Africa is Senegal. Situated on the western coast of Africa, Senegal is a multicultural country with culinary influences from all over the world. When David and I flew to Johannesburg we made a 4 hour pit stop at the airport in Dakar to fix a hydraulic flap control on the plane. Sadly we couldn’t leave the plane, though they did open the doors so we could stand in the doorway and breathe in the rich West African air.
Senegal, and most of West Africa fascinates me. Much of the United States is tied to that part of Africa for both savory and unsavory reasons. The unsavory was the slave trade when families were uprooted and lives were stolen and human beings sold. The savory are the rich cultural and culinary traditions that the people from Africa brought with them that are embedded in many of the dishes we eat today.
He’s been called “the godfather of Nuevo Latino cooking” by media and food industry cognoscenti. His dishes pack a “pow” in flavor, texture and color.
I first became familiar with Chef Douglas Rodriguez’s muy sabroso culinary style when he was still in his tender twenties cooking “upscale Cuban” food at his restaurant YUCA (an acronym for “Young Cuban Americans”) in Miami. The James Beard Foundation Awards took notice early on and nominated him twice for Rising Star Chef of the Year; he won the award in 1996.
Doug exploded into the competitive New York City restaurant scene with Patria, where he honed his Nuevo Latino style. The New York Times awarded Patria three stars, and other restaurant developers came calling on Doug.
More restaurants followed: Chicama, a Peruvian restaurant and Pipa, Spanish tapas, both in NYC’s Union Square neighborhood; and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia with restaurateur Stephen Starr. Today, Doug continues to run Alma de Cuba.
The son of Cuban immigrants, Doug was raised in Miami and starting cooking in his early teens, landing his first job at age 14 as a summer apprentice at the Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami. Now, with his restaurants, a successful catering company and four books, DRod (as he refers to himself) is still at the top of his game.
We’re excited about his culinary trips to Cuba. With U.S.-Cuban relations opening back up and the tourism industry in Cuba looking at a renaissance, you may want to book a trip with DRod soon!
We love to grill! Ours is a big silvery grill from Home Depot, but we equally enjoy the earthy aroma of charcoal and smoke. While Melanie is more inclined to grill fresh vegetables or an old fashioned Girl Scout S’More over a small campfire, David loves a plump blackened butt or a fat weiner dog. (I just had to inject my smart ass sense of humor). Of course my first “grills” were a starter George Forman and second-hand hibachi grill on my New York City apartment terrace.
Elizabeth is the founding Executive Chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York and Washington, DC and Hill Country Chicken in New York. And she is co-founder of CarolinaCueToGo.com, an “online barbecue shack” e-commerce site specializing in North Carolina whole-hog barbecue seasoned with her own signature Lexington-Style Vinegar Barbecue
As a sought after media personality, Elizabeth is frequently featured in an array of national magazines from Bon Appétit to Better Homes & Gardens, and was named one of the top 100 chefs by Saveur magazine. She appears regularly on all three network morning shows and is a guest judge on Chopped and Iron Chef. She has appeared on a number of Food Network shows and hosted her own special on The Cooking Channel. – posted by Melanie Young
Jonell Nash, the longtime food editor for Essence Magazine, and a fellow member of Les Dames dEscoffier, left this world after a short illness. Outside of her immediate circle of family and friends, most of the people who knew Jonell were unaware she had been ill. Jonell would have wanted it that way; she was never about attracting attention, only giving of her self.
Jonell lived life on her own quiet, refined and gracious terms. She took life slowly and savored it like a perfectly cooked dish. Cooking was her calling, but it was more than just about creating precision recipes; it was about styling the perfect table setting, from fresh flowers to china, the right light and music. Eating was not about “grabbing a bite,” squeezing in lunch over a desk, or eating plastic food on paper plates with disposable utensils. Good things didn’t have to be complicated, time consuming or expensive, just well presented and with thought.
Jonell put a lot of thought into everything she did, un-hurried; not harried, calm and centered. How many of us take the time to set a table with flowers and sit down for a meal by ourselves or with a significant other and have real conversation? No TV, no text, no tech at the table.
Jonell focused on attention to every little detail in her life and in the lives of those she loved. Sadly was there was detail she may have ignored – that of keeping up with her health. I don’t know the circumstances of the cancer that took Jonell’s life other than it seem to have been discovered when it was too late to do anything. This was particularly poignant for me as a cancer survivor who has seen this happen with many women who are gifted and giving of themselves. I have made it my mission to educate women that making your self-health a priority is not selfish; it is self-sustaining.
If you have a dog-eared copy of any of these cookbooks on your shelf at home: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Marion Cunningham’s Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking or Jacques Pepin’s Art of Cooking, you can thank Judith Jones. If you ever read the published Diary of Anne Frank or a book by author, John Updike, you can thank Judith Jones.
To say Judith Jones has had an estimable career in publishing is an understatement. As a longtime editor at Alfred A. Knopf her authors included Julia Child, Lidia Bastianich, James Beard, Marion Cunningham, Rosie Daley, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, Edna Lewis, Joan Nathan, Jacques Pépin, Claudia Roden, and Nina Simonds.
Judith is the author The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food and The Pleasures of Cooking for One. She is the coauthor with her late husband, Evan Jones, of The Book of Bread; Knead It, Punch It, Bake It! (for children); and The Book of New England Cookery. She also collaborated with Angus Cameron on The L. L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. Recently, she has contributed to Vogue andSaveur. In 2006, she was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Judith’s new book is a charming, practical guide to sharing the pleasures of home cooking with your dog, in her case her frisky white Havanese named Mabon. Titled Love Me, Feed Me, Judith’s book dispenses tips that both nurture and nourish the heart and palate with recipes that both humans and canines can share. Judith explains the nutritional benefits of substituting, or supplementing, store-bought food with a diet of fresh, home-prepared ingredients. She offers helpful extras like advice on portion size, what to do with scraps, and the latest research on controversial ingredients such as garlic (newly vindicated), ginger (use sparingly) and eggplant (an acquired taste, but scrape out the seeds). For Judith, food is love and love of good food should always be a pleasure and a joy to prepare whether man, woman or dog.
We have another new book on our shelf filled with slips of paper marking passages and information Melanie has dog-eared. It’s Karen Page‘s Vegetarian Flavor Bible, a detailed guide to the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet with “matchmaking list” of ingredients, flavors, pairings, caloric/nutrition information and a history of vegetarianism.
When Karen says she is researching a new book, believe us, she means volumes of research and attention to detail presented in a way that is easy to follow and digest. Karen starts The Vegetarian Flavor Bible with this line: “The book started with a problem: I didn’t know what to eat.” You have to ask yourself how a well-regarded food professional with a shelf of critically acclaimed books and access to the greatest chefs in the world had this problem. More, important, how did she face it and how can you learn from it? It’s a problem many people who want to eat healthier face: minimizing excess calories/fats/carbs/sugar and maximizing flavors and the pleasure of eating.
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible has been cited as one of “The Best Cookbooks of 2014″ by leading media including Bloomberg, The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Houston Chronicle, KCRW Radio, Miami Herald, The Washington Post, and WBEZ Radio.
Karen is a two-time James Beard Foundation Award- winning author whose previous books with chef-husband Andrew Dornenburg include The Flavor Bible ,which was named one of the 100 best cookbooks of the past 25 years by Cooking Light and one of the 10 best cookbooks in the world of the past century by Forbes, and What To Drink with What you Eat, which won the IACP’s “Cookbook of the Year” Award and the Georges Duboeuf “Wine Book of the Year” Award. Karen is a graduate of Northwestern and Harvard University as well as the plant-based nutrition certificate program at Cornell in conjunction with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.
Join Melanie Young and David Wednesdays on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY and iHeart Radio. Each week we bring you dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits, hospitality and publishing.