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We’re about to start our Sixth Year at The Connected Table LIVE October 1.
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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 2019 — in 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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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
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
A damp day and mud on our shoes didn’t stop us from heading to Fish & Game Farm in Hudson, NY Zak Pelaccio’s “Play with Fire” outdoor feast and music fest. Presented with Resy and Ketel One Vodka, this event combined open-fire cooking from visiting chefs, live music from an amazing band called Club d’Elf, badass Ketel One cocktails by Elad Zvi (Broken Shaker) and Yana Volfson (ATLA and Cosme) and some terrific natural wines from Critical Mass Selections, Goatboy Selections, Zev Rovine Selection, Fifi Imports and Rosenthal Wines. This event benefited The Heirloom Foundation which helps employees of the hospitality industry deal with quality of life and other work-related issues.
The food was all locally sourced, from Fish & Game’s smoked pork (Zak Pelaccio) and pork and snail paella (Seamus Mullen, El Colmado and Whirlybird + Greens) and corn-husked wrapped bluefin tuna with olives (Victoria Blamey) to heads of flame- licked cauliflower (Cortney Burns, TOURISTS wit Elise Kornack) and grilled peaches with candied cherry tomatoes with honey-chamomile ice cream. Oddest dish was, and we’re going to try it at home because we loved it: grilled whole kirby cucumbers.
The Ketel One cocktails also used locally sourced fruits.
This is only the second Play with Fire event that Zak has produced. The last one was four years ago, and we hope it will continue. One of the most striking things about this event were the one-of-a-kind grilling stations at each cooking tent- actually works of art- created by Hudson Valley sculptor, Kris Perry.
Congratulations to Zak and his team and thank you to the chefs, sponsors and donors. Great idea for an event and for a good cause!
We strutted uptown May 17-19 to attend the Fourth Annual Harlem EatUp! presented by Citi. Founded by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz (Karlitz & Co), Harlem EatUp! is a delicious love letter to this vibrant community.
Thursday, May 17 was the Luminary Dinner at Ginny’s Supper Club recognizing community legends “Dapper Dan,” owner of Dapper Dan’s Boutique, and SIRIUS radio personality, Bevy Smith. Dinner featured selections of Bordeaux wines paired with dishes from Guest Chefs Adrienne Cheatham and Geoffrey Zakarian along with Marcus Samuelsson. By the end of the night, everyone was on the dance floor doing the Harlem shake, rattle and roll, thanks to The Rakiem Walker Project band.
A cold rainy Saturday didn’t deter any hungry souls (including us!) from heading to Morningside Park to enjoy the Harlem Stroll which featured local restaurants and more Bordeaux wines, as well as Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and numerous other wine and spirits libations. By Sunday the sun came out and in characteristically crazy Spring weather, it was hot and moist! We traipsed over to bustling Boulevard Bistro to taste Chef Carlos Swepson’s famous biscuits which we discussed when he was a guest on our radio show last year. Then, we headed back to Morningside Park to try more food and libations.
The community spirit in Harlem is vibrant and – wet weather aside – we soaked it all in with pleasure!
Thank you to our friends at Karlitz & Co. and Lauren Monroe at Marcus Samuelsson Group for our Harlem Stroll tickets and to Mary Gorman McAdams, (CIVB) – Bordeaux Wine Council, for including us at her table for the Luminaries Dinner.
Congratulations to all the winners of The James Beard Foundation Media Awards, which comprises books, broadcasting and journalism. The Awards were presented April 27 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers. I had the pleasure of attending and sitting with four nominees, Writers/Authors Kathleen Squires, Robert Simonson, Restaurateur/Chef and Author Maricel Presilla and Chef Gonzalo Gonzales Guzman, whose book, Nopalito, won in the International Category.
The Media Awards are usually overshadowed by the glitzier Restaurant and Chef Awards, which take place May 7 at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House. I feel they are as important. Writers and journalists are the chroniclers of our culture, news and history. It was evident by the nominated articles – several that addressed diversity and sexual harassment in the industry- that writers are the people who raise our consciousness through words. These words propel the rest of us to take action.
Particularly poignant were speeches by Pati Jinich, Michael Twitty and Betty Fussell. Pati, recipient of “Outstanding TV Host,” recounted her mixed emotions while shooting her show. “Pati’s Mexican Table,” at the Tijuana border. Michael, recipient of Cookbook of the Year for The Cooking Gene, talked about searching for his African roots and what it means to be a “fat, gay, black and Jewish.” Betty, resplendent at 91 and ever eloquent with her words, wowed everyone as she stepped up to the stage to receive the Cookbook Hall of Fame Award for her writings.
The theme of the Awards is RISE. Participating Guest Chefs, which included dinner chefs, Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern, NYC), Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC – who made the best tomato tart!), and Hugo Ortega (H-Town Restaurant Group, Houston), all have risen to the occasion to help support those in need. And the reception and pastry chefs, also RISE for consciousness and caring: Emma Bengtsson (Aquavit), Daniel Alvarez (Union Square Cafe, NYC), April Anderson (Good Cakes and Bakes LLC, Detroit), Claudia Fleming (North Fork Table & Inn, Southhold, NY) and Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit, NYC). As always, Pier Sixty, executed a magnificent event. A special “Thank You” to them and to Host Chef Philip DiMaiolo.
It made me proud to be part of this professional community and motivated to Rise further to make an impact. MY
Here is a link to the press release announcing all Media Award recipients.
As the snow flurries fell during the third (or fourth?) storm of the year just around the start of Spring, we both found ourselves craving the same warm dish: Pati Jinich‘s Matzo Ball Soup with Mushrooms and Jalapeños.
Maybe it’s the zing of the jalapeño chilies or the nuttiness of sesame oil and grated nutmeg that make these matzo balls so tasty. Just one tablespoon of sparkling water adds the perfect plump and fluff. We found ourselves negotiating over the last matzo ball for lunch. Try this recipe for Passover, or any time of the year. Here is a link to Pati’s recipe which can also be found in her cookbook “Mexican Today.” (link) Or, cut and paste:https://patijinich.com/recipe/post_1/
We never need a holiday to enjoy Chinese food, but we always partake a bit more for Chinese New Year for good luck! We started celebrating the Year of the Dog February 14th on The Connected Table Live! with guest, Hsiao-Ching Chou, author of “Chinese Soul Food.”
Hsiao-Ching’s parents, came to the U.S. from Taiwan and owned a Chinese restaurant in Missouri. She worked in the restaurant after school. After earning her college degree in journalism Hsiao-Ching became a successful food writer, most recently working at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for many years, Hsiao-Ching teaches cooking and shares her recipes on her blog, MyChineseSoulFood.com.
On February 15 we attended Lucky Rice Founder Danielle Chang’s Lunar Year Celebration at Canal Street Market (NYC) which continues through February 28. Different food and drink stalls served bites that were more global than Chinese, like Silk Road Falafel Wrap with Pickled Cabbage, Scallions, Crushed Cashews, Ginger and “Silk Road” Harissa Sauce from Ilili Box and Miso Lucky Salad (Brown Rice Topped with Miso-Marinated Beets. Bok-Choy and Avocado with Sesame Seed Dressing (loved!). Danielle Chang will join us on The Connected Table Live April 4th.
My favorite discovery at this event was the Lunar Year Kakigori from Bonsai Kakigori, which created powdery shave ice topped with icy snow drifts of mango and ginger and cream. Theo Friedman, the cofounder of Kakigori showed me how his Japanese shave ice machine worked and let me taste another Kakigori topped with shave ice matcha green tea.
Our February 16 visit was to Red Farm NYCon the Upper West Side, where Owner Ed Schoenfeld recommended some “long life” and “prosperity” dishes. Ed said he was heading to London this month to open a Red Farm there. It was fun to see families celebrating Chinese New Year together and their kids all dressed up. This place always is one of our favorites.
Here is a link to our Chinese New Year show with Ed Schoenfeld and Chris Cheung, East Wind Snack Shop which aired live in 2016. Now on iHeart:
We’re talking about Robyn Eckhardt’s new book, “Istanbul & Beyond- Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey.” In the book’s introduction, Robyn says she traveled some 15,000 miles, village to village and market to market to chat up local farmers, fishermen, groups of women making grape molasses, families on a picnics and other local folks to learn about Turkish food traditions.
Robyn’s sidekick is husband, David Hagerman, the incredibly talented photographer, who captures Turkish landscapes and foodscapes with equal finesse. If you are not familiar with Robyn’s work, check out her award-winning blog “Eating Asia.” It’s on our short list for inside information when we finally plan our trip. They lived on Asia for many years and are now based in Italy. (wanderlust envy alert!) Robyn’s articles have also appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure and Saveur.
Listen to our show with Robyn here on The Connected Table LIVE – iHeart.com
What’s the recipe for running the food department at one of the most respected magazine brands in the nation? We receive an inside peak from Susan Westmoreland, Food Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI), one of the most trusted sources for consumer product evaluation for over a century (GHI was established in 1900). GHI evaluates thousands of products for Good Housekeepingmagazine which reaches 24 million readers each month.
At the Good Housekeeping test kitchen at Hearst Tower, Susan and her team produce all content, create recipes and test, taste and test again and again (an average of three times) for the magazine, special issues, cookbooks and special projects. And we’re wondering: How does she keep turkey topics fresh year after year for the Thanksgiving issue? We discuss in this edition of The Connected Table LIVE!
Two annual events always signal the holiday season for me aside from Thanksgiving. Both are seasoned with sentiments of delicious years past and take place the same week.
The first is the third Thursday of November with the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. For four years I had the honor- and challenge- of creating and staging Beaujolais Nouveau arrival happenings for Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Preparation started months in advance well before the first grapes started to bud on the vines. Each year we attempted to stage an uncorking ceremony more inventive and outrageous than the last. By Thanksgiving I felt like I’d given birth and was flat out exhausted from pulling off all the multiple events, but, oh, what fun! Here’s the list:
The Beaujolais Biker Brigade (2008): The wine was delivered/escorted by chefs and Harley Davidson Hogs on motorcycles from the southern tip of Manhattan to Bouley Restaurant in Tribeca. A similar event was held in Miami the same day.
Peace, Love & Beaujolais Nouveau (2009): The wine was delivered by hippies escorting vintage Volkswagon buses and staging Sip-Ins in New York and Miami.
Cirque Nouveau (2010): The wine was dropped into Franck Duboeuf’s arms by a trapeze artist in a room filled with contortionists and acrobats.
Year 4: Art Nouveau (2011): A vintage Cadillac custom painted by graffiti artist, Kaves, delivered the wine into giant warehouse turned art gallery filled with hip hop dancers.
These days the celebrations lean toward tasteful wine and food events with more refined fanfare. The dinner we attended November 17 at Bouley Botanical in Tribeca featured a spectacular menu by Chef Daniel Eddy of Rebelle and an evening of festive toasts amidst wine industry friends. We had the chance to catch up with Franck Duboeuf and his wife Anne.Georges Duboeuf was in Japan for the arrival celebration which is one of the largest in Asia. It’s a wonderful tradition that always puts us in the mood for the holidays, toasting friends and being thankful for our deliciously abundant life. Kudos to our friends, Marsha Palanci, Cornerstone PR, and Kimberly Charles, Charles Communications, who now carry the PR torch for Duboeuf’s very special delivery.
The second event is Citymeals on Wheels Power Lunch for Women held at The Plaza Hotel November 18 attended by a Who’s Who of leading ladies in NYC, including many who work in the wine and food industry. This year’s 30th annual lunch honored Citymeals on Wheels Co-Founder and Chair Gael Greene who has been a guest on this show (Here is the link).
Gael Greene has raised over $410 million for Citymeals on Wheels in its 35 year history, and she never stops. This year’s Power Lunch for Women has raised over $1 million providing 136,000 meals for New York’s homebound elderly.
It is always an honor to be among such talented and well meaning leaders of our city to support this important cause. New York City is home to over 1.4 million seniors. 66% of them are women since we ladies tend to outlive men. But, 73% live alone; 40% never leave their homes; 8% have no one to talk to. Citymeals on Wheels fills the void of isolation and provides physical and emotional nourishment through meal deliveries and conversation. Just $1,200 covers the cost of a full year of meals for one person. These days that’s four dinners at a top NYC restaurant if you carefully order your wines.
Citymeals on Wheels’ “Chefs Deliver”program brings together a rotating cast of culinary stars who, once a month, lend their talents to Citymeals – cooking and often personally delivering meals right to the doors of homebound elderly New Yorkers.
The word “authentic cooking” bubbled to the surface at Les Dames d’Escoffier New York’s symposium, “The Next Big Bite: Media’s Influence on What We Eat, Drink & Crave,” which took place October 17 at Institute of Culinary Education. The distinguished panel moderated by CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, Martha Teichner, includedChef/Restaurateur and Co-Host of ABC’s “The Chew,” Carla Hall, Bloomberg Pursuits Food Editor, Kate Krader, and PUNCH Editor in Chief, Talia Baiocchi.
The panelists debated what is a “fad” or a trend.” Trends included: gluten free, vegan, southern food, low alcohol wines. Fads included: cronuts, super-charged burgers and kale. Sustainability, food waste and food as medicine all weighed in as important developments.
Everyone agreed that “authenticity” is important. “Terroir, ancestry, origin, raw materials and the story behind the product, brand or dish all appeal to the consumer and, especially, to Millennials.
We were excited to hear this because the mission of The Connected Table is to share the stories behind the people who shape our industry and food and drinks we enjoy.