Posts for February 25, 2013

The Highlights From Anthony Bourdain’s Reddit Ask Me Anything

Wasn't a big fan of Bradley Cooper at first.Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

As promised, Anthony Bourdain hit Reddit today for one of the site's Ask Me Anythings. He's got a lot of projects in the works, so there was plenty to talk about, and to his credit, he took on all Taste-related sell-out questions head-on. To spare you having to deal with Reddit's UI, we've culled the best responses, straight ahead.

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Gerard Craft Coming to Sepia For Modern Midwest Dinner March 12

Gerard Craft.

For us, it's big news any time Gerard Craft comes to cook in Chicago. The St. Louis chef and restaurant owner (of Niche and Pastaria) deserves mention with any farm-to-table type in Chicago among the best chefs working in the midwest. Such as, say, Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia, his fellow James Beard semifinalist as of last week, who will be hosting Craft for a collaborative dinner on Tuesday, March 12, celebrating "modern midwest cuisine." It will start with an hors d'oeuvres reception in Sepia's private event space, followed by a five-course tasting menu from both chefs, paired with wines by Sepia Wine Director Arthur Hon. See the menu below; the dinner is $115 with wine pairings and welcome cocktail, excluding tax and gratuity. Reserve your seat at 312-441-1920.

Previously: Try Nightwood's Mathew Rice's New Gelato. In St. Louis.

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Henri Announces Executive Chef Christopher Gawronski, Spirits Director Mike Page

Christopher Gawronski.

The announcement that chef de cuisine Christopher Gawronski would be taking over Henri from departing chef Dirk Flanigan was made at the time of Flanigan's exit early last month, but apparently it's even more official now: Gawronski has been officially named Executive Chef. As a chef who started his career in Columbus, Ohio, Christopher is the son of certified master chef Kevin Gawronski and was exposed to classical cuisine around the world at a young age. He has cooked for chefs including Brian Polcyn and David Myers, and has been chef de cuisine at Henri since 2011. Gawronski is launching a new menu structure at Henri: Dinner includes a five-course seasonal tasting menu, representing the hautest of haute seasonal cuisine at dinner while lunch is shifted in a more more casual Parisian bistro direction, with modern takes on classics like the croque monsieur and steak frites.

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Anthony Bourdain: Ask Him Anything

Author, cook, TV host, cartoon character, and gadfly Anthony Bourdain will grace the digital hallways of Reddit later on today, at 3 p.m. EST. Watch this space for the official AMA link, and in the meantime, prepare your most burning questions. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Reddit]

Slideshow: The Gage Sweeps Poutine Fest

It was Chicago's first festival devoted to the unholy amazing combination of cheese curds, french fries and gravy. Many of Chicago's top restaurants (in the gooey fried comforty stuff department, at least) participated in the contest at Haymarket Pub & Brewery, dishing up the goods to a sold-out crowd. But in the end all your PQMs and Phillip Fosses and Ryan Polis and Red Doors, good as their offerings were, were forced to acknowledge that a Poutine King had been crowned: The Gage's poutine— with braised wild boar, Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds, smoked mirepoix, and pickled red onion, garnished with chives— topped them all in the judgement of both the judges and the crowd. Our man Huge Galdones was there not merely as a photographer, but as the one actual Montrealer among the judges, and here's his report from the frontlines in pictures and captions. Strap on your seatbelts and get ready for fried cheese and gravy.

Brogurt, or Greek ‘Yogurt for Men,’ Is a Real Thing

Coming to a bench-press near you.

Face it, right up there with the arrival of asteroids from deep space, we've been seriously due for a smiting of Greek yogurt that will not only build muscle and burn fat, but also give those who ingest it the manly fortitude to walk away from General Zod after he's been imprisoned in an elliptical machine and gets a little pissy. Ooh-rah, people of the world who don't skip breakfast, here's Powerful, which you may have guessed by now is so much "more than a yogurt" that it's brogurt: "In a niche typically dominated by female consumers," its website tells us, "we decided to develop a new Greek yogurt specifically suited to address the unique health and nutrition needs of the most neglected consumers in the category: men." This high-protein, no-fat, all-beast snack — spotted this weekend at Fairway and Brooklyn Fare — is going to dominate your lunchbox, beef up your sperm count, and help you pinpoint your inner abs. Ladies, be careful out there! This yogurt isn't for you!

Nigella Lawson: ‘The Whole World Is Enslaved by Italian Food’

Nigella Lawson at Allium in The Four Seasons, Chicago.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

It took a trip to Italy for the 19-year-old Nigella Lawson to discover who she really was: an Italian soul in an (imposingly tall and chic) English body. That, at least, is the premise behind her newest cookbook, Nigellissima (Clarkson Potter, $35), released two weeks ago in the U.S. The cookbook author, who also happens to be one of the judges on The Taste, came to Chicago last week for a quick book tour of the Midwest. And figuring that she'd probably had enough questions about Anthony Bourdain and TV in general, we stuck to talking about the universal love for Italian food, and how going to Italy at an impressionable age literally changed her life and made her the single-named star she is today. You can't hear the rounded, brandy-voiced tones and precise diction with which she answered our questions, but her warm affection for the subject of Italian food and culture comes through even in cold type.

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Tabasco Chairman and Chief Executive Paul McIlhenny Has Died

He made millions of meals better.Photo: Tabasco

The iconic 145-year-old hot-sauce company lost its chairman and CEO Paul McIlhenny on Saturday to an apparent heart attack, the New York Times reports. McIlhenny, who died in New Orleans, was a sixth-generation descendent of the company's founder, a Civil War-era food tinkerer. He had worked for the company for 45 years and served as its chief executive for the last 13.

Fermented peppers, vinegar, and salt. »

Cuban-Latin Standby Cafe 28 Closes After 17 Years

An early pioneer in taking a Latin cuisine upscale, Cafe 28, located at Irving Park and the Ravenswood line, took Cuban flavors to a mid-priced fusion restaurant level beginning in 1996. But in recent years the restaurant, hampered by ongoing construction and other difficulties, fell into debt, losing its liquor license, and late last week owners Berta Nazarro and her son Rick Miranda announced that the restaurant would close on Sunday. They told the Tribune that one longtime customer is trying to connect them with a minority-focused financing program, and hold out some hope of reopening in the future, but for now, the restaurant has closed after a nearly two-decade run. [DNA Info/Tribune]

Watch Jennifer Lawrence Crave McDonald’s at the Oscars

The Academy Award winner told MTV that she was so stressed while getting ready for the show that she "forgot" to eat, so she asked one of her handlers to pick her up a Happy Meal from a nearby McDonald's. No word on if she got to eat in time to accept her award, but starvation could explain her big fall. Somewhere, a McDonald's exec is thinking there's actually a possibility she'd star in a commercial.

"You have to remind them about ketchup." »

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More Bad News: Horsemeat Found in Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs and Birds Eye Products

Swedish Meatball-gate: The next big hurdle.

Quantities of unregulated horsemeat that infiltrated Europe's food supply and subsequently turned up in a staggering number of grocery-store and food-service products like Burger King's burgers, Findus's prepackaged frozen lasagna dinners, Tesco's hamburgers, have also now been discovered in IKEA's Swedish meatballs and in Bird Eye's chilli con carne and bolognese sauces. Birds Eye's parent company announced on Friday that samples of its chili con carne distributed throughout Europe tested positive for horse DNA, and authorities in Scotland recalled the entire frozen hamburger from primary schools countrywide, both signs that the issue of the tainted food may be far from resolved. Now it's come down to Ikea's beloved Swedish meatballs.

Trying to assauge "potential worries among our customers." »

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