Chef José Andrés, Me, Colman Andrews & Chef Ferran Adrià (from left to right)
Last week, I was privileged to sit in on an invitation only event at the French Culinary Institute in NYC that featured one of the world’s greatest chefs, Ferran Adrià. Ferran hails from Catalonia in Spain. He is the head chef of the Michelin three starred restaurant elBulli. This is probably the hardest reservation to acquire in the entire world; especially since it is only open about 6 or so months of the year.
Ferran was the guest of honor at this event at the FCI because of the recent biography about him by Colman Andrews that was released on October 7, 2010 entitled Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food. Colman, who started Saveur magazine back in the early 1990s, is an authority on Catalan cuisine. In fact, he has written a book on this subject called Catalan Cuisine. Colman conducted a “conversation” with Ferran by asking him questions. Since Ferran is not fluent in English, Lucy Garcia did the translating. (You might remember her from a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.)
With Alton Brown of Good Eats
Alton Brown, the wise cracking host of the Food Network’s Good Eats, was recently at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Paramus, NJ for the release of his newest book, Good Eats 2: The Middle Years. Before he started the book signing, AB, as he’s affectionately called, introduced the book. He told the crowd that he felt the episodes included in this book were better than the episodes included in his first Good Eats book. He said that by the time they started to produce these “Middle Years” shows, they kind of got the hang of what they were doing. Alton opened the floor to a Q & A session that lasted about 20 minutes.
With Chef Ben Hershberger, head baker at Per Se & Bouchon Bakery in NYC
My last session at this year’s 2010 New York Culinary Experience was with Chef Ben Hershberger, head baker of Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center in NYC. I’m a big fan of all of Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I had the opportunity over the summer to eat at all of Chef Keller’s restaurants in Yountville, California (The French Laundry, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc) and NYC (Per Se and Bouchon Bakery). The meals I enjoyed at Chef Keller’s restaurants were some of the best meals I’ve ever had. So when I had the chance to take a class with one of Chef Keller’s chefs I jumped at this opportunity.
With Chef Shaun Hergatt of SHO Shaun Hergatt
In the past, whenever I thought of Australia, call me shallow, but I’ve always imagined kangaroos, Crocodile Dundee, the Outback and the Sydney Opera House. After my class with Australian chef Shaun Hergatt on the second day of this year’s New York Culinary Experience, my perception on Australia has been forever changed. I mean I’ve always thought the country to be beautiful, but I never heard too much of it making a culinary impact of any sort throughout the world. This will definitely change with the likes of chefs such as Shaun Hergatt. He is bringing Australian flavors to NYC with gusto. His restaurant in the financial district is called SHO Shaun Hergatt. Chef Hergatt describes it as being modern French with Asian influences. He opened this 64 seat restaurant in the middle of the current economic recession. And he has been happy with results. He’s even earned himself a Michelin star.
With Chef Ben Pollinger of Oceana Restaurant
Fellow Jersey boy Ben Pollinger is the executive chef of New York City’s Oceana Restaurant and he was also the teacher for the New York Culinary Experience’s Saturday, October 2nd’s afternoon session. Oceana is a Michelin starred seafood restaurant in the McGraw Hill Building. Chef Pollinger’s class was all about clams. He taught the class how to make three recipes including: Manhattan Clam Chowder, New England Clam Chowder and Potato Gnocchi with Pumpkin Puree and Clams.
With Chef Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York
I had the honor and privilege to take part in this year’s New York Culinary Experience at the French Culinary Institute. It was an incredible weekend that had me cooking alongside of some of the world’s best chefs. Some of the chefs that participated in this year’s event included: Marcus Samuelsson, Alain Ducasse, Morimoto, Bill Telepan and Alexandra Guarnaschelli to name but a few. The two day event began at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 2 and ended late Sunday afternoon with a champagne reception.
My first session was a class taught by Chef Michael Lomonaco. Chef Lomonaco is a bastion of the New York culinary scene. He has worked in such famed establishments as Le Cirque, The 21 Club and Windows on the World. He is currently Chef/Partner at Porter House New York at the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Chef Lomonaco has also written two cookbooks and is no stranger to food television where he has hosted two shows.
Last Saturday, I was invited by my friend and News 12 NJ anchor Alicia Vitarelli to the 7th Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour. Alicia couldn’t make it to the tour, so I took my wife along for the ride. The tour met at the Galloping Hill Grill in Union, NJ. The tour was organized by New Jersey hot dog lovers, including John Fox, who can be considered the authority on the hot dogs of New Jersey. There were 2 full-sized coach buses waiting for over 100 hot dog lovers to take them on the tour. The tour has been using buses since its second year. John picks the itinerary for the tour every year. He rotates the popular hot dog spots.
Hot Dog Aficionado John Fox sporting a “7th Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour” T-Shirt