Traditional recipes

MAD Dinner with René Redzepi, David Chang, and Daniel Humm

MAD Dinner with René Redzepi, David Chang, and Daniel Humm

MAD is hosting two fundraisers in New York City

MAD Food will host two upcoming fundraisers in New York City

Fresh off the heels of their first ever MAD Monday in New York City, the MAD team has announced two upcoming fundraisers to help broaden their reach in the culinary world. On March 16th, MAD will host a cocktail reception at The Apartment by the Line, with drinks from Jim Meehan of PDT, food from Hot Bread Kitchen, and music from James Murphy and Cibo Matto. Tickets for the reception are available now for $200.

The second fundraising event on March 18th is undoubtedly the more exciting of the two, and will take the form of an intimate dinner at Eleven Madison Park. MAD founder René Redzepi will prepare a meal alongside curators David Chang of Momofuku, Alex Atala of D.O.M., Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park, and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park.

Desserts will be prepared by Eleven Madison Park’s pastry chef Angela Pinkerton and Christina Tosi of Milk Bar. Guests will also be able to enjoy wines curated by Jordan Salcito, and cocktails by Leo Robitschek of The NoMad and Julie Reiner of The Clover Club.

The evening will include silent auctions hosted by Padma Lakshmi and Lydia Fenet, and music from the No BS Brass Band. Tickets for the dinner start at $1500.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


Simply Delicious by Darina Allen

What’s the USP? As the cover boldly states, ‘100 timeless, tried and tested recipes’ from the doyen of Irish cookery, collected from Allen’s now out of print Simply Delicious 1 and 2 and Simply Delicious vegetable books from the late 80’s and 90’s which were some of the most successful cookery books ever published in Ireland.

Who’s the author? You could call Darina Allen the Delia Smith of Ireland. She is perhaps best known for running the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery School near Cork since 1983 but is also the author of 16 books including Irish Traditional Cooking and has presented nine series of the Simply Delicious TV show. She is a key figure in the Slow Food movement and founded the first farmer’s market in Ireland.

What does it look like? Like the recipes, the design of Simply delicious is also timeless, tried and tested with simply-styled, full page overhead food shots and unadorned recipes. There are one or two portraits of the great lady herself in the busy in the kitchen and double page spread, photographic chapter headers featuring things like a metal colander of courgettes complete with flowers or a simple bunch of asparagus. Simple but nicely done.

Is it good bedtime reading? A two-page introduction and that’s your lot sadly.

How annoyingly vague are the recipes? How much is a ‘splash’ of sunflower oil? How much oil is enough for deep frying? How many lettuces and salad leaves constitute a ‘selection’ big enough to feed 6 people? How many are ‘a few small leaves of lettuce’? What does ‘a little local goat’s cheese’ mean do I need one log, two logs. And what weight? How much is ‘a little’ extra virgin olive oil. For a food writer of such long standing, and especially one who has run a cookery school for 35 years, the recipes are surprisingly littered with this sort of thing.

Killer recipes? This is comforting, home style cooking, dishes that transcend the fashions and fads of the professional kitchen like beef with stout traditional Irish bacon with cabbage and parsley sauce farmhouse chicken and Irish stew. Things get a bit more racy with Lebanese cold cucumber soup and onion bhajis with tomato and chilli relish, but kombucha and dashi are notable by their absence.

What will I love? Simply Delicious is based on fundamental, sound cooking techniques and the food is appealing. The book will help you rediscover the delights of a well-made soup, stew, pie, salad or fruit fool.

What won’t I like? Clocking in at under 200 pages, the book is a little on the skimpy side for price and the lack of additional content like meal suggestions, glossary or more biographical details about Allen is disappointing.

Should I buy it? If your shelves are heaving with Redzepi, Humm and Bottura, then a shot of good old commonsense cooking in the shape of Simply Delicious might be exactly what you need.

Cuisine: Irish
Suitable for: Beginners/confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: Three stars


Bread is Gold by Massimo Bottura

What is it?
Italy’s greatest gift to modern gastronomy, the three Michelin-starred, Modena-based chef Massimo Bottura of the former number one restaurant in the world Osteria Francescana follows up his 2014 book Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef with a compendium of recipes from his charitable ‘soup kitchen’ project Refettoria Ambrosiano that he created for Expo 2015 in Milan set in Teatro Greco, an abandoned and restored 1930’s theatre. The project continues to run as a community kitchen for homeless shelters using waste food from supermarkets.

What’s the USP?
All the dishes in the book were created by Bottura and dozens of other high profile chefs from around the world from ‘waste’ food from the Expo including wilted veg, bruised or over-ripe fruit and meat, fish poultry and diary close to their expiration date that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Who are these mysterious ‘friends’ who share the author credit?
Massimo is a well-connected guy and counts the likes of Alain Ducasse, Rene Redzepi, Daniel Humm and Ferran and Albert Adria among his many mates (more than 45 chefs have contributed to the book).

If Refettoria Ambrosiano is a soup kitchen, am I getting 400-odd pages of soup recipes?
Not quite. There are a dozen or so soups and broths including Redzepi’s Burnt Lime soup and Fish Soup with Bread Gnocchi by Antonia Klugmann from L’Argine a Vencó restaurant in Italy, but the 150 recipes cover the usual starters, mains and desserts. Given the nature of the project (a chef jetted in for a day and improvised a meal for a hundred people using whatever ingredients were to hand) some repetition of ideas and ingredients is inevitable. So there’s nine meatballs recipes, two for meatloaf and dozens involving stale bread no surprise given the book’s title.

About that title, bread isn’t gold is it? Otherwise that loaf of sliced white going mouldy in my cupboard would be worth a fortune.
It’s the name of a Bottura signature dish created in memory of his late mother and based on the chef’s childhood memory of eating zuppa di latte or milk soup for breakfast which he made by grating leftover bread into a bowl of warm milk with sugar and a splash of coffee. The recipe, included in the book, is made from layers of salted caramel ice cream, caramel bread croutons and bread and sugar cream topped with a bread crisp sprinkled with edible gold dust.

Why should I buy the book?
Food waste in professional kitchens continues to be a big talking point and Bottura is leading the discussion. The book provides lots of inspiration for how to use produce that might otherwise end up in the bin which means you’re not only doing the world some good, but it could well help you cut your food costs. As well as the recipes, it’s also a great read with a one-page introduction to each chef, explaining how they prepared their meals and telling the story of the project.

What won’t I like?
At £29.95, you might expect hard-covers and glossy pages. What you actually get is soft covers and what appears to be recycled, matt paper which means the images are not as pin sharp as you might like. However, it’s all in keeping with the ‘make do’ ethos of Bottura’s Food For Soul charity that Refettoria Ambrosiano is a part of and to which all royalties from the book will be donated to, so stop complaining!

Cuisine: International
Suitable for: Confident home cooks and chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars


Symposiums, Conferences, and Traveling Chefs: Necessity or Narcissism?

An evolution of the more traditional and commercial food festival has given way to a newer kind of culinary event that puts the chef center stage to discuss his or her ideas. In many of these situations — like the MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, Mesamérica in Mexico City, and Melbourne Food & Wine's Theatre of Ideas — cooking is optional. This particular type of event underpins a debate on the role of the chef: should they be leaving their kitchens and aspiring to give TED-caliber presentations? Or does it all amount to cliquey navel-gazing for the sake of PR?

Some chefs see it as beneficial to their cooking, their restaurants, and their profession to be able to interact with colleagues from all over the globe. At these events, chefs get to promote their work, talk about ideas that are important to them, and see new places. The way the restaurant business typically works, chefs don't often have the opportunity to travel to far-flung places and learn new things. However, those who criticize the modern festival circuit see in it a kind of culinary nepotism, where a family of familiar faces tends to dominate the landscape. Others argue that the intellectual aspirations of some of these conferences have created a climate where chefs are taking on issues beyond their grasp, often leading to obnoxious posturing rather than progress. To the debate:

The Positives

"If you're a chef who doesn't have that much money," says Christopher Kostow, of the three-star Michelin Restaurant at Meadowood, "and suddenly someone invites you to present in Mexico City, how are you going to say 'no'?" According to Kostow, the ability to go to these events, network with talented and intelligent people, and learn from those with diverse backgrounds is beneficial to chefs and the profession at large. It's especially useful for chefs to interact in a context where they aren't preparing tastings for hundreds of guests in a banquet hall.

Daniel Patterson, whose San Francisco restaurant Coi lies an hour south of Kostow's, agrees on the pluses. He recalls the first conference he attended, the French production Omnivore, in 2007. There he had the chance to meet international chefs like Ferran Adrià, the Roca brothers, and Marc Veyrat. "I have a small restaurant in San Francisco, and I was able to talk about it with people that might otherwise have never come to eat there," Patterson says of his introduction to the world of modern conferences. In the years since, the chef has traveled to Spain (Madrid Fusión), Denmark (MAD), Mexico (Mesamérica), and other countries to participate in conferences and symposiums.

"Not only does it get you positive exposure and help you build wonderful relationships," says Patterson, "but it allows you to see new places and experience new cultures." On that Omnivore trip to Paris, for example, Patterson had meals at restaurants like L'Astrance and Le Chateaubriand — required reading for many chefs today.


Patterson at last summer's MAD Symposium, in Copenhagen [Photo: Gabe Ulla / Eater]

Charleston chef Sean Brock, who has skyrocketed to culinary fame in recent years, has spoken about how he's accepted many invitations for travel so he can spread "the Southern gospel" and dispel misconceptions about his region's foodways. "People have no idea, and that's why I'm trying to speak at as many places as possible," he said. "I want to show people how interesting and fascinating this culture is."

And Brock agrees with Patterson on the benefits of learning from other cultures. He was invited to the 2011 edition of Cook It Raw — an event in which chefs like René Redzepi, David Chang, Magnus Nilsson, Ben Shewry, and Alex Atala came together to explore the Japanese countryside, forage, and cook a culminating dinner inspired by the trip. Cook It Raw differs from symposiums and demo events in that it's more of an intimate retreat, but its cast of participants and its push to make chefs interact and think freely shares more than a few similarities with the major conferences of today. Brock apparently came out of Raw with new knowledge:

Stories similar to Brock and Patterson's are easy to come by: at a recent conference in Latin America, I witnessed how chefs that had never met before — among them Carlo Mirarchi of New York and The Young Turks of London — almost instantly hit it off and found themselves seeking out the best street food they could find. They remain in touch. Relationships can form between a chef with a restaurant in Melbourne (Attica's Shewry) and another with one in Copenhagen (Noma's Redzepi) thanks to similar productions. In such a strenuous business, it would be difficult to imagine many opportunities outside of professional events to meet and spend time with colleagues who live a grueling plane flight away. These events, in general, foster a sense of community and encourage exchanges at their best, they make the culinary world a little smaller.

A More Critical View

Some fear the contemporary conference scene could be making the culinary world too small. Wall Street Journal writer Charlotte Druckman remarks that it's noble to create platforms where chefs and thinkers try to discuss food in intelligent ways that go beyond restaurant culture, but that she's "turned off" by the fact that she sees the same faces pop up at most of these events. "The original intention was to think outside of the box and outside of the traditional festival model," says Druckman. "But by not democratizing it enough, these events run the risk of creating just another box for these more ambitious chefs." She adds, "They end up creating another phenomenon equivalent to food television, just for a different audience."

After attending the Gastronomika conference in San Sebastian, Spain, blogger Bonjwing Lee (Ulterior Epicure) expressed some ambivalence about the event: "I learned that these chefs have access to amazing ingredients. That they cook in amazing places. That they can make and compose food in the modern way. And — if I may be slightly cutting in my honesty — I learned that these chefs are not in their kitchens."


Atala at Gastronomika 2012. He also was on the bill in 2011. [Photo: Bonjwing Lee]

Druckman and Lee are not alone. Back when Ferran Adrià gathered in Peru a group of international chefs that included Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura, Redzepi, and Atala — the G9 — to discuss the obligations of the chefs of tomorrow, British restaurant critic Jay Rayner cried foul. At the conclusion of their summit, the G9 published an "Open Letter to the Chefs of Tomorrow", which, in general terms, outlined the group's goals for the professional, social, and ethical obligations of young chefs. Rayner called it "an act of such self-importance, such ludicrous self-regard you'd need an oxygen tank to help you get your breath back." Like Raw, the G9 isn't a conference, but it's similar to the aforementioned events in that it allows chefs to take on topics like agriculture and sustainability, which lie beyond the typical restaurant chef's purview. It probably wouldn't have been possible ten years ago.

In an interview last year, the Oakland chef Russell Moore, who trained at Chez Panisse, reacted to the aspirations of the Lima letter: "My central point is that I'm more interested in people just doing it instead of talking about it. Or at the very least, doing it first before making declarations. It comes off as a little light and a little late." Moore did describe the positives of having influential chefs taking on important causes, but warned against "reaching the point of obnoxiousness."

The 2011 G9 letter prompted Sam Sifton, then restaurant critic of the New York Times, to ask, "Should chefs gather to discuss and disseminate their cultural and ethical beliefs, as artists in other fields very well might, without critics of their commercial work crying foul?"

The Road Ahead

Author and journalist Lisa Abend, who has attended both MAD and Mistura (where the G9 open letter was signed), points to Madrid Fusión as one of the important contributors to the last decade's conference boom. When the festival debuted ten years ago, it was seen as something completely new and innovative, with serious intellectual aspirations. It was there that Ferran Adrià first presented his groundbreaking work at elBulli, around the same time he appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. "It was when this new cooking was all getting started," says Abend.

Abend used the Fusión example to explain how it might not be the fault of the chefs that these lineups are getting repetitive. "A lot of these chefs feel pressure to make it to these events," says Abend. In many cases, journalists are responsible for putting together the festivals. "Whether it's explicit or implicit, the chefs feel an obligation to commit." In the case of Madrid Fusión, the organizer is José Carlos Capel, the critic of Spanish newspaper El País.

Patterson acknowledges that one could say the scene is oversaturated or too repetitive, but he asks, "What if we put on one of these events in San Francisco and a culinary student or someone who's never had a chance to hear from Magnus Nilsson or Davide Scabin suddenly has that opportunity?" According to him, something that might be hackneyed to an industry insider is actually a valuable service to someone else. If, for instance, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have an album to promote, there's a good chance they'll play a similar set at more than one festival appearance during that tour.

Furthermore, everyone deserves the right to promote their work. Kostow says that "some chefs might do these events just to be on the invite list and get on the stage, but I'm not going to begrudge them that." It can be difficult, to say the least, to run an ambitious restaurant with low margins, and international exposure can help a business. Kostow also points out that there might be "a tight correlation with those who participate in these events and rankings and lists." But it's a similar scenario when it comes to actors, producers, and directors who fly to many more places than chefs to get people to see their films — and to get academies to vote for them. It's a natural part of the process for people who want to fill seats and have their work appreciated.


The most recent G9 meeting was held in Tokyo last fall. [Photo: Basque Culinary Center]

It's not too hard to find poignant stories about how these events can help less visible players: at one point during his presentation at last year's MAD conference, the chef Leif Sorensen, who's had more than a few struggles trying to introduce fine dining to the Faroe Islands, talked about how the opportunity to present in Copenhagen gave him hope. "I come here, I meet these people, and it makes me want to keep doing what I'm doing despite the odds," he said.

Brock provided another, more general justification for these events: "When you're able to get together all of these talented and intelligent people in what's basically a roundtable discussion, you learn so much. What's wrong with like-minded individuals getting together and discussing things of interest? Nothing negative is going to come of that." Chefs are trying to get smarter, to have more room to think, and to gain exposure in ways that are less frivolous than they perhaps used to be. That can be a good thing for any profession.


Author Updates

Named one of the Best Cookbooks of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houston Chronicle, Esquire, GQ, Eater, and more

Named one of the Best Cookbooks to Give as Gifts by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Field & Stream, New York Magazine’s The Strategist, The Daily Beast, Eater, Vogue, Business Insider, GQ, Epicurious, and more

“An indispensable manual for home cooks and pro chefs.” —Wired

At Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—every dish includes some form of fermentation, whether it’s a bright hit of vinegar, a deeply savory miso, an electrifying drop of garum, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation is one of the foundations behind Noma’s extraordinary flavor profiles.

Now René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma, and David Zilber, the chef who runs the restaurant’s acclaimed fermentation lab, share never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments. And they do so with a book conceived specifically to share their knowledge and techniques with home cooks. With more than 500 step-by-step photographs and illustrations, and with every recipe approachably written and meticulously tested, The Noma Guide to Fermentation takes readers far beyond the typical kimchi and sauerkraut to include koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, lacto-ferments, vinegars, garums, and black fruits and vegetables. And—perhaps even more important—it shows how to use these game-changing pantry ingredients in more than 100 original recipes.

Fermentation is already building as the most significant new direction in food (and health). With The Noma Guide to Fermentation, it’s about to be taken to a whole new level.


World Restaurant Awards to be launched on 18 February 2019

Some of the world’s top chefs and food writers convened in Paris for a workshop that officially launched the World Restaurant Awards which will be held for the first time on 18 February 2019.

The workshop was aimed to discuss the categories for the awards, the judging panel composition and the methodology and code of practice.

Among the chefs that were present in Paris on Monday 14 May for the launch of the Awards (originally the first awards were planned to be announced on the day) and who will form part of the judging panel where industry heavyweights Massimo Bottura, Dominique Crenn, Yannick Alleno, Elena Arzak, Daniel Humm, Clare Smyth, Alex Atala, Margot Janse, Virgilio Martinez, Rosio Sanchez, Corey Lee, Gert de Mangeleer and Manu Buffara to mention just a few names. Mauro Colagreco (who was in Argentina to celebrate his father’s 80th birthday), René Redzepi, David Chang and Esben Holmboe were not present for the workshop but be on the judging panel which is split between chefs and food journalists and writers and is also nearly equally split between male and female representatives.

The people behind the new World Restaurant Awards are Joe Warwick, the creative director and Andrea Petrini, the head of the judging panel backed by IMG, a communication company behind Taste of London and Taste of Paris among others which is responsible for the organisation of the event that will be televised live from the Hotel de Ville in Paris.

While the initial plan was to have 18 categories which ranged from Restaurant of the Year, New Restaurant of the Year, Event of the Year, Ethical Thinking, Far Flung Beauty, Enduring Classic, Travel Destination of the Year, Forward drinking, Innovator of the Year, New Michelin 3 Star of the year, the Restaurant World’s most influential as well as more thought provoking awards such as red wine serving restaurant of the year, stay at home chef of the year, instagram account of the year, trolley of the year, tattoo-free chef of the year and book of the year, the organisers have pledged to go back to the drawing board after interesting discussions on the categories during the workshop.

One of the key aspects of the World Restaurant Awards is transparency. All the members of the Judging Panel (including this writer) will be listed on the website with a biography for everyone to see. They will be tasked with coming up with a long list in each category which will finally make it to the final awards.

After the long list is created and published, a short list will be created and that short list will be physically assessed by members of the judging panel who will visit the restaurants in question in teams of two or three.

There were very interesting discussions throughout the workshop not only on the spoke and intended audience of the awards but also about whether chefs on the judging panel should be allowed to vote for restaurants (not their’s) who are also represented on the judging panel. Industry heavyweights like Massimo Bottura, Alex Atala and Daniel Humm took the floor to say it was important to put the spotlight on new talents and new places.

A discussion between Marie-Claude Lortie and Dominique Crenn put the focus on gender specific issues and also diversity and an interesting discussion followed about the need to cover the whole world, to add members to the Judging Panel from regions such as Africa, the Middle East and India and also whether or not to have quotas. Elena Arzak warned about the risk of ending with results that might end up being criticised for lack of women ‘because the reality is that there are considerably fewer women in the industry’. Dominique Crenn emphasised that the starting point needed to be education. “For me it is not about gender but what really matters is humanity. We have to educate people about being a human in the world.”

Daniel Patterson of Coi, San Francisco put things into context saying that in the US there are 13 million people working in restaurants but one third of restaurant workers are in poverty or are abused and sexually harassed. He said that awards may end up reinforcing cultural biases and therefore asked questions for which he said he had no answers such as how to measure refinement, how to have awards which are inclusive, how information about food and restaurants travel and how do we open different channels of communication. He also asked how do you assess a restaurant outside of your experience adding that there has never been an African restaurant that has really been well known despite the cuisines in these regions having influence in places from the United States to India, the Middle East and Europe.

The chosen charity for the award is The Perennial Farming Initiative.

The event ended with drinks and dinner at Grand Coeur, a restaurant operated by Mauro Colagreco.


Share All sharing options for: Roy Choi on His New Book L.A. Son and How Chefs Can Change Fast Food

Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Roy Choi says that the release of his first-ever cookbook L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food was a bit nerve-wracking. More of a memoir than recipe book, L.A. Son tells the story of how Choi grew up in and around Los Angeles. He confronts head-on some pretty unpleasant memories, such as stealing from his parents to fuel his gambling addiction. But Choi also shares the tale of his ascent through the food world, astounding success with the Korean-Mexican fusion that is the Kogi truck, and how his life, family, and city shaped it all. As Eater's Paula Forbes wrote in yesterday's book preview, "The book is just aching with love for L.A."

In the following interview, Choi discusses why he didn't pull any punches with this book, his work with the South Central LA community coffee shop 3 Worlds Cafe, and his thoughts on how chefs can change the world for the better. Choi also talks a little bit about working with director Jon Favreau on his upcoming Chef film. Here's the interview:

When you announced the book, you said you didn't want it to be a Kogi book or even a cookbook, and really it is more like a memoir punctuated with relevant recipes. Why did you decide to do it that way and how did that come together?
We weren't ready to write the Kogi story yet. The Kogi book is all our voices. I'm just one perspective of Kogi. But this book is my life. Everyone was asking me a lot whether it's through media but also just out there on the streets, "How did you come up with this [Kogi] flavor?" Just really appreciative, really sincere. I couldn't answer that all the way. I couldn't put it into a soundbite, and what I realized is maybe I need to look at my life. Maybe through my life I can find out why this flavor was so powerful for people. And that became the book.

As far as the recipes go, with Tien [Nguyen] and Tasha [Phan], the co-writers, I approached it like an album. I wanted it to all flow like a long-play album that, as you read it through, the recipes would fit into the story that you just read. Then they would interconnect with each other.

Another big thing, before we started writing the book, we wrote a mission statement or a mantra of what we want this book to be. One was we wanted it to be an album. The other was I wanted it to be affordable. That's why it's under $30. And the most important thing was I wanted it to be fluid with your life. I wanted to put recipes in there that you could actually cook and cook often. I didn't want it to be a book that showed how great of a chef I was. I have a lot of friends who aren't in the food world, and I wanted it to be a book that they could just pick up, and say, "Oh shit, all I've got to do is grab Pillsbury dough and throw it in? I could do that." I wanted a book like that.

Yeah, I keep thinking about the instant ramen recipe that looks amazing but totally accessible.
That's a great example. The steps in which to make the ramen kind of subconsciously, even if you don't cook often, teach you how to cook. How to be gentle with things, how to poach an egg. How to create a slurry or a binder. It teaches you to do all the things that I learned as a chef, but it brings it with such approachability and casualness that you do it without knowing you're actually learning about cooking. I love that recipe.


Roy Choi's instant ramen recipe. [Photo: Paula Forbes/Eater.com]

You've had a lot of profiles and media pieces written about you, but so much of this book seems really personal. Is there anything you debated taking out?
Well, I hope when people read it they feel like I put everything on the line. The only thing I kept private was my personal family life currently. But everything that got me here, I tried to confront every single skeleton in my closet and put it all out there. Some of the stuff that's there, I'm confronting it for the first time as well, so it's pretty raw and powerful, I think. I was writing about my personal life, but I was always thinking in the back of my mind also writing in a larger scope of what other immigrant kids go through. Other minority kids. Even though it was my personal situation, I felt like they could relate to a lot of things that I went through. So I always thought about that as I was writing.

But yeah there were no punches pulled. Everything was there. Every time I wrote something, kind of naturally it would get to a PG-13 state sometimes and then we would push ourselves to say, "This has got to be NC-17 or Rated R." Every time we would write a rough draft of a chapter, Natasha and Tien were instrumental. They would push me. When we decided to write this book, I said nothing is off-limits. And so every time I turned in something, they would push me and say, "We need more here" or "Why are you tiptoeing around this? Get me to the core. Get me to the point where you stole from your parents. Get me to the point where you went into their pockets and stole from their closet and their purse."

And, that shit, a lot of people don't want to talk about. But I felt it was important to talk about because it helped me to make peace with it. The thing about skeletons and things that you do in your life, they become like hangnails to your life. The guilt and the shame and the things people say to you. You believing it sometimes. And actions that you did as a kid, saying that those define who you are now. You carry those things with you in life sometimes. It was time for me to let go of those things and this book was the process of that.

I've got a lot more I want to do. There are so many people I want to feed. But I had to confront this part of my life, let go of it, say that even though I did some fucked up shit, I'm doing some great shit right now. This is what got me here and it's okay that I did this fucked up shit because that allows me to have empathy and understanding for people that are going through it right now. Everyone's life seems perfect, you know, in magazines and TV shows. Especially in the food world, we only paint the beautiful side sometimes. But there are a lot of people still going through shit. I have friends that are still hung up and held up on stuff, you know? So nothing was off-limits.

Speaking of the great stuff you're doing now, how is 3 Worlds Cafe going?
We're trying our best, you know? It's going well as far as what it is. There definitely needs to be more business and more traffic, but it's a start. But it's providing jobs. It's a place where the kids can come after school and do their homework. It's a place where residents can have a cup of coffee. My whole thing right now is continuing to push it, evolve it. I want to get better. I want to get great products in there. We just got great coffee in there from Zona Rosa, a local roaster. [Pastry chef] Sherry Yard approached me, so I think it would be awesome for her to somehow get pastries in there or conduct classes or whatever. But my thing is continuing to use my influence to get my chef friends, my purveyors, products, in there and continue to make them affordable. It's just starting right now. It's not that busy, but it's going good.


Roy Choi at 3 Worlds Cafe. [Photo: Facebook]

You said in an interview that you wanted to follow through on your MAD talk with the chefs there who expressed interest in what you're doing. Are you guys still talking about that?
Yeah. Things take time. I threw the ball into the mix. I basically told everyone what's up. Let's get our head out of our asses and let's do something. The reason I told them that was not to agitate people or create divisions or anything. I really believe in chefs. We cook the best fucking food in the world. We are the gatekeepers of the human race as far as food goes. And so I figured if anything is going to change, it's up to us because we cook the best food. We're the ones with the keys. So if we're going to open the borders on flavors and cooking, it's gotta start with us. We can't rely on companies and factories and processing plants and farmers and all these people to do it. We're the chefs. We cook great food.

So it wasn't really like a bashing challenge. Hopefully it was an awakening. We've been given this gift in life, we are the Jedis of how to cook food. We should share this. We should have others enjoy our flavors and experience what we're doing. In a way, it will challenge us as well to continue to influence the whole spectrum of how people eat. Because chefs only influence a small amount of it. Straight up, Oreos, sodas, chips, salsa dips, egg white omelets, yogurts, breads, ketchups, mustards, barbecue sauce, frozen pizzas, hot pockets, ice cream, all these things that you eat in your normal life. I think if chefs got more involved in that then it could be better. Because we're the ones that know flavor.

What do you envision in terms of it being better?
For me it's about getting into every sector and having an influence in every sector. We have an influence in artisan and restaurant-driven cuisine, right? That is the stuff that you guys at Eater write about and bring to light. It's the best food in the world. It's delicious. But it's $25 to eat sometimes. It's $35, $40. I'm talking about the stuff that's 50 cents, 75 cents or a $1.50. Every day stuff.

You're not talking about getting rid of every day stuff, though, but being part of it?
No, I'm talking about being part of it. What if we as chefs had more influence across the spectrum? The biggest thing I'm looking at is the model of fast food. All these chefs you write about on Eater, what if we all had little fast food joints as well? Imagine the philosophies and the approaches and the integrity and the decision-making that would be involved if we controlled those outlets as well. Because it would be the same processes that we do as chefs. They may be on grander scales or there may be some compromises here and there that you have to make as a business, but the philosophy behind everything would be pure because chefs are not liars. I think we end up in this field because we're truly honest about the integrity of food.

If René [Redzepi], David [Chang], Alex [Atala], Daniel Patterson, David Kinch, Daniel Humm, Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, if these chefs all had fast food joints then think of what that fast food would be. It would be something amazing. A lot of people who are operating [in fast food], we make them out to be villains, but maybe they don't know. That's why I'm saying chefs can change things because we are the ones that do know when something's not right. We do know when you compromised the integrity of everything for the bottom line. And so having that voice in the mix, that voice of reason and clarity and honesty is important. It seems that voice is missing.

And then also the candy and the snack foods, I've never been one to get on a soap box and preach about utopian realities. We're going to eat this shit anyways. I eat it. I just had a Hershey's Kiss right now. We're going to eat it, but what if we as chefs had influence on it? Then think of all the pastry chefs and think of jelly candies as mignardises after a great French meal. Imagine the flavors that you get in patisseries. Imagine if we had influence across the board in liquor store and gas station candies. It's a long ways away, but I just painted that world for myself. So that's where I see it. I think the first logical step is fast food.

Are you talking to any fast food companies?
No I'm not in actual discussions, but I'm open to talk to anybody. If they want to hit me up, let's go. I'm not concerned about what the chef world thinks of me right now. I'm concerned about feeding my friends out there. And so if my life ends up becoming a kiosk, but it shifts the paradigm of how people eat, then I'm cool with that, man. I don't need to be a chef. I already lived through my whites. But that's what it's about. I'm not in any discussions yet, but I would love to be. I'm trying to get with [Chipotle's] Steve Ells, to see what he's all about. I've never met him. I can see it from the outside looking in, but I'd love to get with him. I got with Jamie Oliver to try to work on stuff.

Oh you did?
Yeah, I did a show for him called Dream School. That's the first step in just doing stuff with Jamie. I'm urgent, but I'm in no rush because I know that this is not an overnight solution. I want to get with people who really believe in it. I want it to be something that goes across all levels.

I've got to say this right because I don't want it to come off as preachy. It's hard to say this stuff, especially to a food audience, people who follow Eater. There's going to be comments saying I'm a piece of shit, I'm a fucking bull-shitter, all that, I already know. It's hard to say this to a food audience because it's hard to fathom that people don't eat well. But if you take yourself out of the food bubble and open your eyes and your heart, you will see that a lot of people don't eat well. And they are forced into corners by corporate America and by bottom-line decisions on how to feed low-income families and working class families. It is not that easy sometimes to walk into a restaurant and drop $85 on a meal. But it's hard for anyone who is able to do that to think, "Why can't you just drop $65? It's only once a week."


Roy Choi at MAD Symposium. [Screenshot: Vimeo]

Like people who ask why don't you buy kale at a farmers' market instead of a candy bar.
Yeah, why not, it's only $1.50 or $3 a pound, why not? It's hard to fathom that you can't. I'm trying to bring that to light.

I want to go back to what you said at the beginning about writing the book to discover the answer to how you came up with the Kogi flavor. Did you get an answer?
Yeah, as I wrote the book, I realized who I was, you know? This was a very fortunate opportunity for me. You don't get an opportunity like this all the time to actually go through your life and unfold it and dissect it all the way through. You just have to live life. You don't have the time to go through and figure it out. So through this process, I figured out who I was and why I cook this way. I tried to confront the food that I grew up with sometimes that I tried to deny. I started to realize that these flavors were a part of me. And they all make up the food that I cook now.

I realized why I can cook for different environments. Because of everything I've gone through growing up. Why can I cook for a Hollywood event without blinking an eye? Because I cooked at the Beverly Hilton and because I moved to Villa Park. Why can I cook for kids on Hollywood Boulevard at night? Because I went through it. Why can I cook for tourists that come and visit LA and are so excited to see the Kogi truck? Because I cooked at country clubs and Embassy Suites hotels. Why did tacos come so naturally? Because I was a low-rider, I was around it and I grew up around it. I thought was just being a teenager and fucking around [but it] was actually developing my palate as well.

Finally, one last question, kind of apropos of nothing, but I'm curious about your experience with the Chef movie. How was that?
Oh yeah, the Chef movie was awesome. I made a friend for life. Jon [Favreau] and I clicked from day one. The way it happened was they did their research, their agents called me, they showed me the project. I thought it was just going to be a consulting gig, in and out: here's how you hold a knife, here's some menu items, whisk it this way.

As soon as I met Jon, I knew that this was more than just a consulting project. I knew that I was meeting another collaborator. I knew that I was a part of something bigger. But I'd never done a movie before. I'd never been in this world before. I'd never been around Scarlett Johansson before. I'd never been around cinematographers for 35 days of shooting. But it felt so natural. I felt like I had a voice in it and Jon allowed my voice to be heard. That was awesome. He trusted me. And I had his back 100 [percent], man. My whole focus was to make it as authentic as possible to our food world experience.

I call it like I was the Don Zimmer to his Joe Torre. I was in his ear scouting every day, telling him, "Move this way" or "We would never say that in the kitchen" or "He should wear his apron that way." Trying to make it so that when it gets onscreen, every cook in the world would look at it and there wouldn't be a question as to whether that was fake or contrived. We really want it to feel real. But he trusted me for that and that's a big deal, man. No matter who I am in my chef's world, that's Jon Favreau man. Fucking Iron Man and Swingers and Elf. Just to all of a sudden give me the keys to his car, that was a lot of trust on his part and I appreciate that. It's going to be a great movie.


Author Updates

Named one of the Best Cookbooks of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houston Chronicle, Esquire, GQ, Eater, and more

Named one of the Best Cookbooks to Give as Gifts by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Field & Stream, New York Magazine’s The Strategist, The Daily Beast, Eater, Vogue, Business Insider, GQ, Epicurious, and more

“An indispensable manual for home cooks and pro chefs.” —Wired

At Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—every dish includes some form of fermentation, whether it’s a bright hit of vinegar, a deeply savory miso, an electrifying drop of garum, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation is one of the foundations behind Noma’s extraordinary flavor profiles.

Now René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma, and David Zilber, the chef who runs the restaurant’s acclaimed fermentation lab, share never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments. And they do so with a book conceived specifically to share their knowledge and techniques with home cooks. With more than 500 step-by-step photographs and illustrations, and with every recipe approachably written and meticulously tested, The Noma Guide to Fermentation takes readers far beyond the typical kimchi and sauerkraut to include koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, lacto-ferments, vinegars, garums, and black fruits and vegetables. And—perhaps even more important—it shows how to use these game-changing pantry ingredients in more than 100 original recipes.

Fermentation is already building as the most significant new direction in food (and health). With The Noma Guide to Fermentation, it’s about to be taken to a whole new level.


50 Best: Italy’s four of a kind sponsors

29-06-2016

Massimo Bottura on the night of the 13th of June in New York, after his brand new victory in the 2016 World's 50 Best Restaurants, signs a magnum of Metodo Classico Ferrari. Copyright The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Every edition of the World&rsquos 50 Best Restaurants offers a chance to present the sponsors, a total of 15 of which 4 are Italian: Acqua Panna S.Pellegrino, Ferrari, new entry, Grana Padano and Lavazza. For some ten years Acqua Panna S.Pellegrino has been the title sponsor and this is why many people still believe it organised the event. It is now the official water of the final ceremony. The one that Massimo Bottura won in New York on the 13th of June. It is thanks to the presence of the two Italian waters that foodies scattered around the world can watch the ceremony in streaming. There&rsquos more: it is also the main sponsor in the two continental events, the 50Best South America and Asia. «This helps us reaffirm our role as ambassadors of taste and fine dining, as we share the same love for food, beauty, creativity and attention to detail as the most important chef community in the world».

In alphabetic order, for the first time we drank Italian wines thanks to Ferrari from Trento. The Lunelli family was represented in Manhattan by cousins Camilla and Matteo, that is to say the communication manager and the president. They unseated the French and on the night of Bottura&rsquos triumph were pouring and smiling at full blast.

While Ferrari has just begun, consortium Grana Padano, partner and first official cheese sponsor in the Fifty Best has gone a long way. Elisabetta Serraiotto says «The journey has lasted almost 20 years, thanks to the collaboration with the then unknown (in Italy) Bastianich family, with Lidia and her son Joe, but also thanks to the fact we were among the first to collaborate with Identità Golose back in 2004.

Elisabetta Serraiotto and the Consorzio del Grana Padano stand at the award ceremony in New York. Copyright The World&rsquos 50 Best Restaurants

The 50 Best as a natural evolution of things. Rejoicing for Bottura&rsquos first place and for the other Italians at the top, Crippa, Alajmo and Scabin, as well as Romito and Bombana in the top 100. Even the prize for the best female chef to Dominique Crenn, a French who moved to San Francisco, California. «The international approach of the World's 50 Best and the award&rsquos criteria perfectly represent the values of our brand, as it shares its capacity to understand and condense trends and values that are essential to those who work daily in the kitchen with professionalism, commitment and dedication beyond appearances. The beauty and the good».

Identità Golose

This article is curated by Identità Golose, the publication that organises the international fine dining congress, publishes website www.identitagolose.com and the online Guida Identità Golose, on top of curating many other events in Italy and abroad

Primo piano

The events you cannot miss and all the news of topical interest from the food planet


Autor-Aktualisierungen

Named one of the Best Cookbooks of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houston Chronicle, Esquire, GQ, Eater, and more

Named one of the Best Cookbooks to Give as Gifts by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Field & Stream, New York Magazine’s The Strategist, The Daily Beast, Eater, Vogue, Business Insider, GQ, Epicurious, and more

“An indispensable manual for home cooks and pro chefs.” —Wired

At Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—every dish includes some form of fermentation, whether it’s a bright hit of vinegar, a deeply savory miso, an electrifying drop of garum, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation is one of the foundations behind Noma’s extraordinary flavor profiles.

Now René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma, and David Zilber, the chef who runs the restaurant’s acclaimed fermentation lab, share never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments. And they do so with a book conceived specifically to share their knowledge and techniques with home cooks. With more than 500 step-by-step photographs and illustrations, and with every recipe approachably written and meticulously tested, The Noma Guide to Fermentation takes readers far beyond the typical kimchi and sauerkraut to include koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, lacto-ferments, vinegars, garums, and black fruits and vegetables. And—perhaps even more important—it shows how to use these game-changing pantry ingredients in more than 100 original recipes.

Fermentation is already building as the most significant new direction in food (and health). With The Noma Guide to Fermentation, it’s about to be taken to a whole new level.


Watch the video: Asparagus and spruce: René Redzepis signature dish (December 2021).